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Tasting notes from Capital Starkbierfest

Leave it to me to post about a German beer festival on St. Patty’s Day(?).

Last Saturday I attended the Capital Brewery’s first Starkbierfest. Starkbier (strong beer) festivals occur in Bavaria in March and were originally started by monks at the Paulaner brewery centuries ago. The fine folks at Capital decided to give this concept a try: expanding the concept to both strong and sour beers. Several local/regional breweries participated.

It was fun to see a few folks (and seemingly more as the afternoon wore on) don monkish robes and regale in Saturday’s chilly weather at the Capital Beer Garten. It was a fun festival that was really well run and I look forward to the Parched Eagle hopefully participating next year! I did spread the Parched Eagle word to several locals in attendance: the response was positive! On to tasting notes…,

…here are my top five tastes from Starkbierfest:

1)Barrel aged Toil & Trouble from Sweet Mullets.

This is a collaboration beer from Sweet Mullets and Vintage Brewery. I had the Vintage non barrel-aged version at the Mason Lounge last year and was duly impressed. The Sweet Mullets’ whiskey barrel aged version was even better! Toil & Trouble is a gruit: an ancient style of ale that traditionally used a variety of herbs and spices that pre-date the use of hops in beer. Toil & Trouble has heather and mugwort in it.

Another aspect of ancient styles of beer is an intrinsic sour character as brewers of yesteryear did not engage in proper sanitation methods. Toil & Trouble has a wonderful sour character that is pretty similar to a Belgian Flemish Red ale. I think the reason why I liked Sweet Mullets’ better is not the fact that it’s barrel aged, but rather that the sour character has developed wonderfully over the past several months since I had the Vintage version. So nice I went back twice!

2)Potosi Brewery Barleywine.

Holy crap what a sublime huge caramel malt slap across the face! Wonderfully complex throughout in terms of sweetness, toasted malts, alcohol, and dark fruity esters. All of these were balanced out just enough by hop bitterness and (very little) hop flavor and aroma. Very well done effort at an English barleywine and the 12% abv was actually fairly well masked. So nice I went back twice!

3)Vintage Trompe Le Monde.

Not only possibly named after a Pixies album, also a damn interesting and tasty beer! Part Imperial IPA and part Saison, the marriage of French Saison yeast (one of my favorite strains that will be used for all of the Parched Eagle’s saisons) with tropical citrusy hops totally works! Wicked at 9.5% abv. I think this hybrid works because Saison is one of the hoppier Belgian styles: the yeast works really well with significant hop bitterness as well as flavor and aroma.

4)Next Door Brewery Heather Sent Wee Heavy.

The use of heather tips lends a really interesting earthy flavor to this big (9.3% abv) scotch ale. It starts earthy and finishes caramel malty: nice!

5)House of Brews Strong Ale brewed with honey.

The honey lent an almost mead-like flavor that nonetheless finished dry rather than sweet with some nice balancing bitterness. Nice!

IF the Parched Eagle participates next year we’ll have a lot of fun thinking about our beers to offer. The possibilities are many. Hmm, maybe Geronimo with Verily and Brookie’s Sour Brown?


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The Parched Eagle wants YOU (to invest)!

Greetings all,

Tonight I’ve got my President of the Parched Eagle hat on as we are in need of a few generous investors to make the brewpub a reality next fall!

The Parched Eagle Brewpub will raise $250,000 for the construction of the brewpub and first year of operations. $50,000 will be from investors and $200,000 in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration and possibly Brewery Finance, a leasing company for brewing equipment. We are also exploring other possible sources of startup funding (details available upon request).

Vice President Tom Christie and I have been discussing investment options, and have consulted with our banker at the Summit Credit Union on ways that potential investors can receive a return on their investments.

We have written a strong business plan including income and expense projections for the first three years of operation. We have come a long way down the path of opening the Parched Eagle and have a long way to go. With your help we can get there!

We feel that the Parched Eagle is a strong investment opportunity for someone who has a love of craft beer that is brewed by a locally-owned business. Our goal is to produce world-class beers that will add greatly to the Madison area craft brewing scene.

Interested? Then please feel free to contact me via email ( or phone (608-204-9192). I look forward to talking with you and can provide you with a host of information and insights.


Jim Goronson

The Parched Eagle Brewpub will raise $250,000 for the construction of the brewpub and first year of operations. $50,000 will be from investors and $200,000 in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration and Brewery Finance, a leasing company for brewing equipment.

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First-ever Brewer’s Blog post/Belgian Dark Strongs

Welcome to the Brewer’s Blog!

I’m Jim, Head Brewer/President of the Parched Eagle. I’m damn excited about this project in general and (right now) this blog post in particular.

Looking for an investment opportunity? Feel free to contact me at or 608-204-9192.

OK got the business out the of the way. The Brewer’s Blog should be about beer/brewing, right? Let’s get to it then…,

…So I’m going to have a Belgian Dark Strong Ale tasting with Vice President/Operations Manager Tom and our buddy Geoff. The pilot batch of our Stella Belgian Dark Strong Ale will be tasted alongside Gouden Carolous Cuvee Van de Keizer, either Rochefort 8 or 10, Unibroue Trois Pistoles, and maybe Lost Abbey Judgement Day. A trek to Binny’s in Highland Park, IL yesterday to find Westlereven 12 and Achel Extra Brune was sadly not successful. That’s OK, we’ll make do. 🙂

My tasting notes so far on Stella (which is four months old) is its RICH sweet maltiness will probably most resemble the huge malt bomb that is the Gouden Carolous, with said caramelly malt sweetness taking center stage with some hints of raisins in terms of dark fruit esters represented in the background. We’ll see! With future batches I’ll raise the fermentation temperature to encourage the development of said dark fruit esters.

Speaking of which, I predict that Unibroue Trois Pistoles will be up there with any of ’em in terms of the esters profile (and profile in general) you look for in this wickedly delicious style! I “heart” that beer, including its reasonable price at local liquor stores.

Anybody had Kasteelbier Bière du Chateau Donker? The Binny might have had that one (I saw some of their beers), but I didn’t notice that it’s on the BJCP list of commercial examples until after we went there. Alas!?

Style tastings: one of the rigors of being a brewer. Sigh…

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