Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Old Glory American Pale Ale

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Madison, WI

Style: American Pale Ale

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

This past weekend found Nigel at his first ever—yes, EVER—brewfest, the 14th annual Quivey’s Grove Beer Fest in Madison. It’s embarrassing for Sir Nigel to admit that he’s never attended such an event, but then again most things about Sir Nigel are a bit embarrassing. Nigel was accompanied by a good chunk of the crew: Eddie Glick, whose parents’ Gremlin broke down in Beloit, forcing him to push it the remaining 50 miles; Jug Dunnigan, who was kind enough to provide hospitality—and plenty of phenomenal brews—for Nigel at his homebrewing shrine; and Astrochick, our official editor-in-chief who makes the occasional live appearance to make sure Nigel and Eddie don’t start throwing empty bottles at each other. Also in attendance was Jug’s better half, as well as a nice Irish lass who looked suspiciously like Mr. Glick, and hundreds of craft beer enthusiasts from throughout the Midwest. Thirty-four brewers, many from Wisconsin, were on display and ample beer was flowing on a beautiful but steamy October afternoon.

After four hours of Beer Fest, the Beer Dorks crew headed to the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.’s Fitchburg location for a couple of pints before retiring to Jug’s homebrew heaven for a drunken evening. Nigel grew up … er, uh, MOVED TO after growing up in England … not far from Mad City, but has long since moved away and rarely gets back. This means that one of the Midwest’s best craft brew hubs, with a plethora of phenomenal beer bars, stores, and microbreweries, is a wee bit unfamiliar to legal-drinking age Nigel. While I was able to sample some at the Grove (Ale Asylum, Great Dane, and nearby Grumpy Troll, Lake Louie, and Tyranena), Nigel had heard nothing but good things about both Great Dane and Ale Asylum, so I couldn’t leave Madison without visiting at least one. The crew was game, as Nigel, Jug and Eddie polished off two pitchers of the fantastic Texas Speed Bump IPA, which had been cask-conditioned, and the rest of the crew sampled other selections, all of which were met with much celebration. On his way out, Nigel picked up a growler of the Old Glory American Pale Ale, which I will now share with you in review form. Lucky you.

I sampled Old Glory APA at Beer Fest, and was very impressed (Great Dane’s other offering was the Oktoberfest, which I did not try). As much as I loved the Texas Speed Bump, I was unable to get it in a growler, as it was tap carbonated and thus would have gone instantly flat after leaving the brewpub. I settled for Old Glory, which is a pretty damn fine consolation prize. A hoppy APA with a solid, well-rounded flavor, Old Glory Pale Ale is an excellent example of why Great Dane brews are so coveted by beer dorks throughout the region.

Old Glory pours absolutely beautifully … one of the finest looking brews you’ll ever see coming out of a day-old growler. A nice, frothy head on the pour slowly settles, leaving a slight creamy trace throughout the drink. A deep, somewhat cloudy copper color tops off a brew that I’m now reluctant to drink since it’s so damn nice to look at. A wonderful aroma of Cascade hops dominates, backed by a nice fruity aroma of grapefruit and orange zest, a hint of caramel sweetness, and a tad bit of earthiness.

The taste is wonderful for an APA: a perfect amount of Cascade hops make it a little zippy, mostly the piney, grapefruit-like flavor that characterizes any Cascade hop-dominated beverage, but not overwhelmingly so by any means. This is an APA through and through, not just a hop monster. The hops are well balanced with a nice amount of sugary pale malt (mostly caramel in flavor) as well as a mild earthy, grainy flavor and a very noticeable hint of honey (not sure if Great Dane used honey when brewing this, but it certainly tastes as though they did). Old Glory has a nice, medium body to it and goes down very smooth, with a mild aftertaste. I was unable to locate any official stats for this, but I’m guessing it checks in at around 6 percent ABV, so it’s got balls, but not to the extreme. Not so heavily hopped or strong that it needs to be sipped, I could easily consider this a good hophead session brew (Nigel has to polish off his entire growler this evening before it goes flat, but I’m feeling no effects thsusfjl sdoprsh). Old Glory is a fine example of what a craft APA should taste like.

What’s better than a weekend full of Beer Fest, the Great Dane and Jug’s homebrews? Nothing, and Nigel’s weekend was capped off perfectly with his growler of Old Glory. Any Beer Dork visiting Madison should definitely put a trip to the Great Dane at the top of the to-do list (try the downtown or Fitchburg locations—or both, as they each have a few different selections—the new Hilldale location, for now, is unable to serve their own brews due to stupid legal bullshit), and I’d certainly recommend at least a sample of Old Glory, as it’s one of many fantastic offerings at this fine brewpub.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on October 17, 2007.
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