This Beer of the Month Club Review is for two beers from the Ale Asylum Microbrewery in Madison, Wisconsin: 1. Bedlam, a Belgian-style India Pale Ale and 2. Hopalicious, an American Pale Ale. Both of these beers were included in the Beer of the Month Club membership from The Craft Beer Club.
A lot of really delicious things come from Wisconsin. I’ve only been there once but my single visit firmly attests to that fact. During a recent trip to Chicago, my friends and I made a pilgrimage to the Mars Cheese Castle, a glorious testament to good cheese and beer. More specifically, delicious cheddar curds, cheese-chocolate fudge and the best Bloody Mary I have ever tasted in my life (hint: pickle juice and pilsener sidecar).
I recently had the pleasure of trying another great product from America’s Dairyland: Ale Asylum beers, delivered as part of my Beer of the Month Club membership from The Craft Beer Club. You say you’re afraid of hops? Avoid the bitterness of IPAs like the plague? Ale Asylum’s well-balanced and artistically labeled line may have you (and me!) renouncing your beer fears.
Don’t let the name Hopalicious fool you! Sure: there are hops aplenty in this lovely American Pale Ale, but they are mellowed by a consistent malty overtone and the seductive finish of caramel flavor. You will even get a hint of orangey citrus as this Ale encounters your taste buds. The Hopalicious is a light amber color and is also citrusy on the nose. This beer is great for any and all occasions. I could see myself drinking it in the winter after a day of skiing, around a campfire or, as I did recently, on an uneventful summer afternoon.
The other featured Craft Beer Club selection is the Bedlam, an equally approachable and well-balanced Belgian-style India Pale Ale. A dark amber hue, the Bedlam emits comforting yeasty and bready scents as you take a sip. Its bitterness is balanced with a wide range of other flavors, including malt, tropical fruit and citrus.
An IPA is not necessarily my first choice of beer, but I have to say that after sampling all of these delicious, well-balanced varieties the style is growing on me.
Inspired by Ale Asylum’s Wisconsin origins, I cooked a cheesy complementary dinner to enjoy with these beers. It’s rainy season in Colorado and it happened to be a night of dark skies and intermittent thunderstorms. The weather and the beer basically demanded me to make a variation on grilled cheese: A Monte Cristo sandwich: a swiss, sharp white cheddar and tomato sandwich dipped in an egg/milk mixture and fried in a cast-iron skillet. I rounded out the meal with a gazpacho made from juicy heirloom tomatoes and oven sweet potato fries. Both beers were perfect with the sharpness of cheddar and the earthy sweetness of the fries.
All of the stories about the origins of the microbreweries featured in the Original Craft Beer Club are always filled with humble beginnings, authentic passion and an individualistic spirit. Microbreweries really do encapsulate the American dream. In this case, Ale Asylum was founded by two friends and “beer geeks” who had been working at a brewpub in Madison that decided to stop brewing in-house. Driven by a love for the art of brewing, the two banded together, found a space and started their own line of unique beers. It’s both thirst-quenching and satisfying to support these small, grassroots businesses.
A Beer of the Month Club is an effective way to learn about all of the many admirable microbreweries developing across the country and support their craft!
About the Ale Asylum
The Ale Asylum brews beers in the tradition of friend Crusty Oldbrewer, who sent them on this path: brew honest, brew like you mean it.
Thus, the beer is brewed and bottled by hand on Madison’s East Side.
Ale Asylum operates the only bottling facility in Madison.
Ale Asylum is unfiltered and all natural… no additives, preservatives, fruit, horse hooves, fish guts, or extracts.
The ingredient list: water, malt, hops, and yeast.
This is what they mean when we say the beer is FERMENTED IN SANITY. You know who makes it, you know what it’s made with. You know after having one you’ll want another.
They brew traditional, bold beers for those who demand quality and consistency. To those people they say: “raise a pint, because you believe how we believe.”