The most important thing about Capital Brewery’s new Supper Club beer is its name. The beer itself is good summer drinking — a light, joyful, summery American-style lager that’s got a touch of malty depth and a bit of apricot-like brightness.
“Not Bad,” declares the label, and that’s basically right — it’s not redefining the style nor trying particularly hard to do so. It’s good on a hot day and doesn’t demand specialized glassware. It’s not a hop monster; it’s not an extreme flavor; it’s familiar and drinkable without being soulless or watery.
The Madison, WI-based Capital Brewery describes the beer (which sells for $8 a six-pack) as follows:
“Harking back to an era where Supper Clubs were In Vogue and Wisconsin had numerous regional breweries making their version of American Style Lagers. You know, back when these types of beers exhibited regional soul.”
Thus the name — it’s a conscious callback to Upper Midwestern food heritage, a courageous step when many local producers’ first instinct is to somehow namecheck just about anything but the distinctly less-than-sexy but undeniably authentic place that starts at our backyard and stretches out to the Great Plains and the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
A Supper Club-pegged beer isn’t a lone voice in the wilderness; look, for example at the names of some of the newer breweries popping up locally: Lift Bridge, tied to the Stillwater landmark of the same name. 612 Brew. Harriet Brewing. Lake Superior Brewing.
All good stuff, but it’ll likely take another decade or three before the homeland of beer, sausage, and cheese gets its propers from either coast. Until then, we can hoist a Supper Club and enjoy the peace and quiet.