Thursday, 07 July 2011 15:31

Lithia Beer is Back!

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You can’t keep a good beer down.  At least, that’s what Lithia beer is saying. Ever since Lithia Beer was first brewed in West Bend, it shared a rich heritage with the city, Washington County and Wisconsin. West Bend Brewing Co. was established in 1848, the same year that Wisconsin became a state. When the doors closed in 1968, after a 120 year brewing tradition, the local beer was lost, but not forgotten.

 

“The Beer That Made Milwaukee Jealous” reopened in 2010. Gunter Woog, a local entrepreneur, has brought back the popular Lithia Regner Red Ale.  Touted to be brewed with mineral water, proceeds of Lithia Beer are shared with local non-profits such as Regner Park, The Museum of Wisconsin Art and The Washington County Historical Society.

I spoke with Gunter about Lithia Beer.

Gunter was born in Germany, but has been in the West Bend community for 40 years. Gunter wanted to bring back the beer before prohibition hit (the non-yellow, fizzy beer). He trademarked the name. Wanting to keep in the community for the next 100 years, he started with kegs and introduced it – again – at the county fair.  In November, they came out with 500 cases of bottles and it sold out much faster than they thought.  This year, they introduced the Bucky Blonde beer, a creamy, 4.9% ABV light beer.

Gunter has seen requests for their beer from the Cayman Islands and California and of course he’s looking to expand nationwide.

And in case you haven’t heard, the water is an important part of their beer. In the 30s and 40s, they used to advertise how much Lithium was in the river. Today, there are safer forms of Lithium as antidepressants, naturally occurring in mineral water.  Gunter and his brewers keep a close eye on the mineral content. The first label read, “brewed with the finest mineral water” and he boasts that he always feels better after a pint.

Me, too.

Their flagship Regner Red is a serious beer with nine different malts and four aromatic hops. It has nice, citrus overtones, with a hint of caramel. A malty finish of toffee and light warming alcohol make it a nice, winter ale.

In Lithia’s words, it’s ‘A pretty good beer, that’s pretty good to you.’

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