Henry Schwartz realized when he was 19 years old that it was legal for him to buy brewing ingredients, but not legal to buy beer. A few years later he and two friends (Giotto Troia and Andrew Gierczak) started MobCraft and recently released its first commercially available beer: Participation Pale Ale. The malt-forward heavily-hopped pale ale was the result of crowd-sourcing which differentiates MobCraft from the rest of the pack.

Each beer brewed by MobCraft is the result of an online vote where fans can submit votes and even recipes for which beer they would like to see brewed next. But, the video can probably explain it better than I can.

Currently, MobCraft is brewing at the House of Brews off of Stoughton Road in Madison, Wisconsin where they lease space for the tanks they bought from brewmaster Page Buchannan. MobCraft hopes to be able to build their own brewhouse in the near future when they plan to add a subscription option tho their beer distribution.

MobCraft-beerThe subscription would involve a three, six, or 12 month commitment where subscribers would get a four-pack of 22oz bottles of each brew delivered either to a local pick-up location or to their home. The home delivery option would be a bit more expensive as it would involve the beer being (for legal reasons) back to their homes. The beer will cost an estimated $25 per four-pack before shipping charges, but Schwartz says the crowd-sourced beer will be worth it.

“The focus of the company will be to make really cool beers,” said Schwartz. “Not just Ambers and Pale Ales, but indigenous beers with non-traditional brewing ingredients.”

Currently MobCraft’s Participation Pale Ale is Available at Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace, the Majestic, 8 Seasons Grille and the Lakefront Pub in Whitewater. MobCraft only made seven barrels, so I recommend trying this beer while you can, because before long the beer will be replaced by the highest vote getter. The Most Mobbed Double IPA is next on their brewing schedule.


The Americanization of Beer Styles

Below is a link to an interesting article by Charlie Papazian explaining how homebrewers and craft brewers in America have altered classic beer styles, and in many cases, invented their own. I would agree with most of the article except I think Papazian fails to mention that most of the Americanization involves making beers with higher original gravities leading to higher alcohol content than the beers Americans were originally trying to mimic.

Sprecher Brewing Introduces Hard Root Beer

Probably about seven years ago or so, my cousin Josh and I went on a tour at the Sprecher Brewery because I was writing a story for the Milwaukee Alcoholmanac…and because we both really like beer. At the end of the tour, Josh asked the tour guide if they ever thought about making a fermented version of their world famous Root Beer. He didn’t answer the question. What he did do was go down to the basement soon returning with a keg of something labeled XX.

Jason Fredrickson, the guide who first introduced me to the XX Sprecher Hard Root Beer

Jason Fredrickson, the guide who first introduced me to the XX Sprecher Hard Root Beer

Sure enough, Sprecher had been experimenting with the fermented root beer for some time and would occasionally have it on tap in their tasting room. We were impressed by the brew and it went to the back of my mind until Josh posted this link on Facebook today:

Sprecher Brewing to unveil new Hard Root Beer

Sure enough, after all these years they have finally decided to package and market what they are calling Hard Root Beer, but what to me will always be the basement secret known as the XX. The Baraboo News Republic article quotes Sprecher president Jeff Hamilton as saying “We are being very cautious to make sure that there is a distinction between our regular root beer and this rather adult version,” he said. “We’ve made sure the bottle looks completely different than our root beer bottle. It’s a different size, and the labels look different.”

I am not normally a fan of sweet malt beverages–girly drinks if you will–but I really remember this one being good and I will certainly be reviewing it for Brewsconsin as soon as it becomes available here in Madison, WI. Thanks to Sprecher for always making good beer and for being the first brewery I remember touring as a kid. Apparently my Cub Scout Leader didn’t realize Sprecher made regular beer in addition to their famous root beer and took about six of us seven-year-olds to tour the brewery back in 1990. To this day, it is the only brewery I have toured in both its past and present locations.