Brewery Profile: Ale Asylum – Madison, WI

Ale Asylum

2002 Pankratz Street, Madison, WI 53704

http://www.aleasylum.com

aleasylum

“Fermented in Sanity”  Ale Asylum is a microbrewery with crazy good beers.

Kari and I had our Ale Asylum brewery experience a few weeks ago while filming an episode for Explore 94.  We had a 6 beer flight, a pizza, and a great time.  It was a Friday afternoon.  It wasn’t crazy busy but there was a lively atmosphere.  Everything was delicious. Our bartender was entertaining.  Even without TVs or much entertainment, Ale Asylum was a very fun place to hang out.

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Ale Asylum offers tours of the brewery on Sundays, so I will have to go back for a tour sometime soon! I will of course share my experience on the blog.  Just consider this post “Part 1” of my Ale Asylum adventures.

Watch our episode of Explore 94 here:

**fact check results**  Ale Asylum beers are distributed only in Wisconsin and Illinois!

3 HIGHLIGHTS OF ALE ASYLUM

1.  The huge building

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Ale Asylum built and moved to this new location in 2012.

I don’t know what is it about this building, but it works.  When we went, we were only able to explore the tasting room bar and lower dining area.  They have an upstairs bar area that was closed, an outside patio/upstairs patio that was closed, and the brewery which was not in full production at the time.

So even though I haven’t been able to participate in all parts of this glorious building, I am still confident declaring that it is awesome.  I think it’s most wonderful that you are able to see the brewery through windows in the dining areas.  There’s just something about seeing what you’re drinking being made right in the next room.

2.  The service

It is very common for breweries to have great service.  The bartenders always super knowledgable about the beers and usually thrilled to work at a brewery… because breweries are awesome places!  But our bartender, Mary, was especially wonderful.  It’s great when servers are nice, attentive, and quick, but it’s fantastic when they also can crack a joke and put a smile on your face.

Thanks, Mary!

3.  The beer 

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Again, most breweries are going to have great beer.  I’m trying to keep my “highlights” to things that are unique to each brewery.  But this has to be an exception.  Because all the beers. were. amazing.  (OK maybe not all, but the 6 we tried were.)  And they have cool names that relate to the “insane asylum” theme they have going on.

My ranking of the 6 beers we had:

  1. Unshadowed
  2. Phantasm
  3. Bedlam!
  4. Hopollo
  5. Ambergeddon
  6. Hopalicious

If you are from Wisconsin, you may have had Hopalicious.  It is a great beer.  I love Hopalicious.  But they make so many great beers at Ale Asylum that it ranked last on our flight.  Crazy!  Crazy good beer at Ale Asylum.

THE BEERS

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Draft list (as of January 23, 2015):

  • Hopalicious (American Pale Ale) 5.7%
  • Bedlam! (Belgium IPA) 7.4%
  • Unshadowed (Hefeweizen) 6%
  • Demento (Session Pale Ale) 4.7%
  • Mercy (Belgium Grand Cru) 10%
  • Big Slick (Stout) 7%
  • Sticky McDoogle (Scotch Ale) 7.2%
  • Ambergeddon (Amber Ale) 6.7%
  • Madtown Nutbrown (Nutbrown Ale) 5.5%
  • Contorter Porter (English Porter) 5.2%
  • Gold Digger (Blonde Ale) 4.6%
  • Phantasm (Autumn Ale) 7.8%
  • Pantheon (Imperial Brown Ale) 8.2%
  • Hopollo (IPA) 7.4%

As you can see, they have quite a variety of beers available.  They have a collection of beers that are always on tap and available in bottles (Hopalicious, Unshadowed, Bedlam!, Demento, Ambergeddon, and Madtown Nutbrown).  Then they have seasonal beers, some of which are bottled and some are not.

And then there are the “Limited Asylum” beers that are experimental and one-offs that are only available in the tasting room.  Phantasm and Hopollo both ranked well in my tasting.  I’d recommend that they should bump those two up to a regular brew.

It is exciting that they rotate many of their beers regularly.  So every time you can try something new!

Insane-ist Beer Award:  Phantasm.  noun: “something that exists only in a person’s mind”  This beer was described as “biscuity” and had a very nice, crisp, hoppy taste.  Delicious… not only in my mind, but also in my mouth.

Runner up:  Bedlam!  noun: “a scene of uproar and confusion”

Beer of Choice:  Unshadowed.  adjective: “not darkened or obscured by shadow”  Kari describes it as a “taste of sunshine”.  It’s soft and refreshing.  Perfect for a summer day on the boat, but I’d also drink it in winter.

Runner up:  Phantasm.  We’ve been here already… beers can win more than one award.

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