Madison, Wisconsin is full of great breweries. One of the best and most interesting in my view is Vintage Brewing Company. Brewer Scott Manning has been in the business of brewing for 15 years. Much of that time has been spent at production breweries or corporate brewpub chains. He loves the freedom and creativity that he can exercise at Vintage. In his own words he feels like “a 4 year old running around naked.” He takes a “don’t get used to it” approach to the beers he crafts for the pub. He always wants people to try something new, so there are only a couple of beers in the line-up that are almost always on tap. He’s been winning awards for his creations, including a silver medal at the 2011 GABF and silver and bronze medals at the 2012 World Beer Cup.
I am more than a little obsessed with Sahti, a little-known, ancient beer style from Finland. Manning brews two of them at Vintage; Summer Sahti and Joulupukki Winter Sahti. These beers lean heavily on rye and juniper for their unique flavor. Manning even ferments his winter version in the traditional way, using baking yeast instead of a cultured brewer’s yeast strain.
If you are in Madison, Vintage Brewing Company is well worth a stop.