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Karben4 celebrates a decade, plus, other breweries trot out special IPAs for January – Isthmus

A special batch of Karben4’s Fantasy Factory is being released to mark 10 years in business for the brewery. Grand Cru Fantasy Factory is a bigger, beefier version of the brewery’s flagship IPA. “We took all our favorite parts and just turned them up. It’s boozier at 10 percent ABV, maltier, and with more intense hoppiness from the Citra and Galena,” says brewery co-owner and brewmaster Ryan Koga.

The brewery is hosting a 10th Anniversary Party all day on Jan. 21. Among other special beers for the event will be Priest Prophet and King, a barleywine aged in barrels used for port wine, cherry brandy, blackberry brandy, bourbon and rye whiskey (all the beer is blended at the end). Also marking the occasion will be Terror of Demons, a Russian imperial stout that has been aged for a year in rye whiskey barrels. (Prices not yet set.)

Karben4 opened in what was the original site of Ale Asylum at 3698 Kinsman Blvd., also buying much of the equipment there. Koga says the decade has gone by fast. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to be part of Madison. The relationships make everything worth it, and beer does bring people together.”

Tim Piotrowski, brewmaster and owner of Delta Beer Lab, celebrates the big 4-0 this month. To mark the occasion, he’s rolling back the clock and making himself an old school West Coast IPA, a style that was immensely popular in the 1990s and remains a standard among hoppy beers. Pio’s take is packed full of Centennial and Simcoe hops, then dry-hopped with Mosaic. Altogether it has nearly four pounds of hops per barrel resulting in 80 IBUs. Look for lots of piney, resiny bitterness, and a rich malty backbone at 7.5 percent ABV. The beer (called IPA.31.7 — Delta uses numbers as names) will be released on Saturday, Jan. 14, with a party for Pio that evening from 4-9:30 p.m. (Four-packs of 16-oz. cans/$15.)

For fans of hazy double IPAs, Hop Haus Brewing in Fitchburg and Verona just released its latest in the brewery’s Recreational Chemistry series. These are limited batches by brewmaster Phil Hoechst that feature special combinations of hops. They are often heavily hopped and full of flavor. Since starting the series in 2020, Hoechst has offered about a dozen Recreational Chemistry beers. His newest is a blend of Citra, Galaxy and Enigma, and all three were also used in a double dry-hopping during fermentation. The result is assertive, full of crisp fruity peach and white grape flavor. The peach seems to rise above, but which other tropical notes are discernible might make for a fun debate among hazy IPA fans. This beer is intended to be enjoyed fresh. It’s available at the Hop Haus or at local craft beer stores (four-packs of 16-oz. cans/$14).

The beers of Titletown Brewing of Green Bay haven’t been getting much local shelf space of late. However, look for Cocoa Loco, a Mexican hot chocolate stout made with ancho chile peppers, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dark malts give the beer its deep black color and subtle chocolate background. Ancho peppers are a nice choice because they lend spicy notes against the roasted malts, without the lingering heat of peppers like jalapenos or habaneros. (Four-packs of 16-oz. cans/$13.) Another new beer that is yet to leave the brewery but on for release in late January is a Baltic porter called Star Castle that will be on tap only, so watch for it at Madison-area taphouses.

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