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Madison Beer Review: Potosi Steamboat Shandy

Potosi Steamboat Shandy
By Jeff @ Madison Beer Review
July 11, 2011 

My love for shandy is well-documented, though, granted, largely in my comments regarding Brewery Creek in Mineral Point, WI. Well, today we review another Shandy, this one a brand new concoction from Steve Buszka (sorry if I butchered the spelling Steve!) and Potosi Brewery.
Let's talk a minute about Potosi. Last year I wrote a two-day profile of the Potosi Brewery and Museum in Potosi, WI. If you haven't been there, you should go; it's summer, what else do you have going on?

But, the best thing about Potosi Brewing Company is this: they could have very easily been content to re-open with a kitschy, paean to pre-Prohibition lagers and traded on some gerrymandered remembrance of so-called old timers. They could have beaten a dead brand into the ground.

But Potosi got something right that all of the other "revival brands" got wrong. It was never about the beer. People didn't drink Berghoff, Esser's, Fauerbach, Walters, or Augsberger because it was good beer. It was fine beer, but it wasn't anything that we would consider "good" beer today. These breweries weren't beloved because they made good beer (even though many of them made decent beer), they were beloved because they were part of the community and had a following and community attachment that these brands have not had in their "revivals". This is what Potosi has gotten absolutely right. 

It also helps that they make really good beer. They have been on a roll this year trotting out a new Porter last fall, a new Oatmeal Stout last winter, and a phenomenal Czech Pilsner (seriously, one of the best in Wisconsin). And, today we review the new Steamboat Shandy, a blend of Good Old Potosi and Lemonade (Lemon and Cane Sugar). 

Potosi Steamboat Shandy
BA (NA). RB(NA).
Appearance: highly carbonated and bright yellow with a quick, foamy head; it looks nice in the glass, though, really, who out there isn't just drinking this straight from the bottle?
Aroma: fresh squeezed lemon, a hint of sugar, and an earthy undertone that's a little bready that makes this definitely not lemonade
Flavor: the beer is definitely in the forefront of the flavor with a lemony astringency; the lack of the all-too familiar syrupy-ness typically associated with modern shandies (think Leinenkugels) is a pleasant turn; heck, there's even a slight grassy hoppiness in there that compliments the lemon
Body: light and refreshing; the carbonation keeps it even lighter
Drinkability: quite refreshing; grabbing one of these things on a ridiculously hot day is actually quite pleasant (and I don't, as a rule, even like to drink beer on hot days); at a barbecue or a party, this would be great beer to throw in the mix.
Summary: What makes this beer a great shandy is that it doesn't overdo the lemonade; the beer very clearly comes through with a definite clean home-made lemonade tartness to quench your thirst when the temps hit the mid-90s with 90% humidity (much like today. blech). Interestingly, although Wisconsin's brewing tradition is definitely German in origin, we haven't adopted the German naming convention for this lemon/beer mixture. The Germans call it a "Radler".

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