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Beer Reviews

Three Feet Deep

Furthermore Beer
Spring Green, WI
USA
http://www.furthermorebeer.com

Style: Dry Stout
ABV: 5.5%

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


Comments:
Pair With:
• Brats
• Chili
• Crab
• Fajitas
• Lobster
• Nachos
• Oysters
• Salami
• Shrimp
Every now and then, breweries seem to come out of nowhere and explode onto the local scene. Sometimes it’s expected, but sometimes it occurs so quickly that you don’t know what the Hell happened. For example, in Nigel’s home base of Milwaukee, we’re all awaiting the first Fat Tire sign at the local retailer, signaling New Belgium’s inevitable entrance into this market. Rumor has it that Stone may be right around the corner, which is a far more exciting development in my opinion. Walking into a store tomorrow and finding mass quantities of these two breweries wouldn’t surprise me in the least. On the other end of the spectrum, I now see New York-based Southern Tier all over the damn place, and six months ago I didn’t see it anywhere. While I’m not complaining, as thus far I’ve had good experiences with Southern Tier, I’m still trying to figure out when exactly this happened and how it became so widespread so quickly.

Spring Green, Wisconsin-based Furthermore Brewing, the subject of my latest review, is another example of a brewery unexpectedly popping up out of nowhere, and this one is more surprising given the fact that Nigel usually has a pretty good grasp on the status of Badger state breweries. While I knew of Furthermore’s existence despite their newborn status (I believe they were formed sometime in 2006), I was shocked to see them spread so quickly throughout the state. Much like Southern Tier, I didn’t see much of anything from Furthermore early in 2007, and now I can’t get away from it. Many local retailers with only a nominal selection of craft beer carry Furthermore, and some carry four or five selections (there’s only six total as of now). The bulk of Furthermore’s brewing is contracted through Black River Falls-based Sand Creek (one of three major contract brewers in the state, along with Monroe’s Minhas/Huber and La Crosse’s City Brewing), which may help explain the sudden expansion.

The story I’ve heard regarding Furthermore is that they began by brewing their flagship beer, Proper (a mild 4.5 percent ABV English-style ale), in 2004 for Spring Green’s American Players Theatre. The response was positive, and the founders had more recipes they wanted to tinker with. With little brewing capacity in Spring Green, they found willing partners at Sand Creek and were able to produce and distribute about four initial offerings, as well as a couple since then (including the latest release, the interesting Makeweight). While this type of story is common in the craft beer industry, what I find so surprising is that Furthermore was able to find a niche in a southern Wisconsin beer market saturated with fine brewers such as New Glarus, Capital, Ale Asylum, Lake Louie and Tyranena, not-as-fine brewers like Minhas, Gray’s, City, and Cross Plains, and fine brewpubs like the Great Dane and Grumpy Troll. However they managed to do it, it’s always nice to see another option while going to the local purveyor of craft beer.

One thing I’ve noticed about Furthermore is that they have some interesting concepts, something that is needed in a market that can be a bit of a struggle for an upstart. Three Feet Deep is a prime example of this, as it’s crafted as an Irish Dry Stout, a style that is not brewed authentically too terribly often. Furthermore claims that TFD will make you feel as though you’re in the County Cork in the 1890s, drinking a traditional smoky, peaty, and dry stout. I’d be more inclined to believe this story if I wasn’t aware of the fact that the brewery is closely affiliated with a local theater, and actors tend to make things sound far sexier than they actually are.

A hearty pour of Three Feet Deep reveals a brew with a dark black hue and a half inch of thick tan foam. The head lingers for a couple of minutes before dissipating, leaving a nice tan trace at the top of the glass and some lingering stickiness at the sides. Heavy smoked malt aromas are present at first whiff, with secondary hints of chocolate, coffee, and yeast. I didn’t really detect any hints of hops or fruit, not surprising for a stout. Although this looks like a typical stout, my initial impression is that it’s not quite as thick as the more standard, sweeter stouts … it looked and smelled like a nice smoked porter.

The flavor did little to contradict my initial impressions. Since many dry stouts are difficult to distinguish from their porter brothers, this could easily be confused for a smoked porter. The initial flavor is very strong smoked, roasted malt (that’s the “peaty” flavor Furthermore was aiming to create for an authentic Irish stout flavor). Malt is also player number two with a nice coffee tinge, and player number three with a slight chocolaty zip. A touch of dark fruit helps balance the overwhelming smoked malt, as does a tinge of yeasty earthiness. This is an extremely flavorful brew, but not meant for someone who doesn’t like smoked beers; if you don’t like New Glarus’ Smoke on the Porter (TFD isn’t quite as smoky as that was) or German-style rauchbiers, this is probably not for you. If you do like a nice, smoky malt that is well balanced with other flavors, this is an excellent beer, but remember: it’s a dry stout, so if you’re expecting a thicker, sweeter stout, you may be disappointed. Three Feet Deep is medium to full bodied and very smooth on the palate, with a medium aftertaste that lingers for a bit. At a modest 5.5 percent ABV, this could make a nice winter session brew.

This being my first Furthermore experience, it has left a very favorable impression on me. It’s a bit of a idiosyncratic style and the folks at Furthermore have pulled it off brilliantly. I look forward to sampling further more Furthermore in the near future, which shouldn’t be a problem given their rapid expansion. Should you see Furthermore brews at a local retailer, give ’em a shot … they’re reasonably priced, and they seem to have a pretty good grasp on succeeding in the competitive world of craft beer.

Cheers!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on February 7, 2008.
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