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BEST OF | 2012 >>
O'So Brewing Company | Plover, Wisconsin
By Adam Bissen
Back in 1996, David Letterman introduced the world to a movie reviewer whom I will not soon forget: Manny the Hippie. Manny hailed from San Francisco, and according to legend (or a surprisingly sad Wikipedia page) Dave discovered him busking on the streets of Haight-Ashbury. Manny was an enthusiastic giggler, and he spoke to America with a particular patois that was foreign to most CBS viewers but has become entrenched in the modern lexicon. Called on to review that summer’s blockbusters (hello, Independence Day!), Manny essentially had a four-star rating system — good movies were dank, bad movies were schwag, the worst movies were schwiggity schwag, and the best was diggity dank. As a wide-eyed youngster, already up past my bedtime, I had no idea what Manny was talking about. As a droopy-eyed adult, perpetually jaded in the beer aisle, seeing a label boasting of DANK made my purchase decision an easy one.
Dank is an Imperial Red Ale from the cultish O’so Brewing Company. “Imperial Red” isn’t exactly an established style, which makes it a perfect selection for O’so, a young brewery that prides itself on innovative recipes that don’t follow traditional styles. An anniversary ale now in its third year, the Dank is a seasonal, but I don’t ever remember it tasting this good. Rich, malty, chocolaty, fresh, spicy and sweet — this is probably the best thing O’so has ever brewed, and at the moment it’s one of my favorite beers in Wisconsin.
4-pack of O’so Dank from Woodman’s, $8.49.
Imperial red ale
9.2 percent ABV
Dank has a simple red and white label, with about 60 percent of its printable space dedicated to block letters D-A-N-K.
The Dank pours a super-hazy copper color with a thin tan head.
Partially aged in oak barrels, vanilla notes and an alcohol burn hover at the top of the nose. A deeper inhale brings a rich aroma of ripe strawberries, grassy hops, sweet molasses, toasted malts, fresh biscuits and hints of brown sugar.
For such a big beer, the complexity is impressive. It comes on sweet with notes of pear, caramel, and butterscotch pudding. There are pleasing notes of brandy, but the actual alcohol content — all 9.2 percent of it— is relatively low in the palette, buttressed by rows of rich toasted malts. It tastes breadier than most American red ales, but it has an oaky backbone and a smooth vanilla kiss that comes out as it warms.
This has a relatively thick mouthfeel but low carbonation, almost akin to a “real ale.”
The Dank is delicious and dangerously drinkable. I’d recommend setting at least one aside to cellar before getting greedy with the four-pack.
BeerAdvocate gives this an 87, while RateBeer scores it an 84. That seems low to me, and perhaps it’s the view of an earlier vintage. Because in 2012, conventional adjectives don’t apply to this beer: This here, it’s the diggity dank.
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THE TOP 7 >>
Rejected Best of La Crosse Categories
1. Electronic billboard
2. Middle school football team
3. Rail liquor selection
4. Parking ramp
5. Internet troll
6. Graffiti artist
7. Kwik Trip
1. Pete Best
2. Milwaukee's Best
3. "Best in Show"
4. Best Western
5. Best Coast
6. Best Buy
7. 'My Best Friend's Girl"
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What is your beverage of choice: I just love an ice cold water, or a chocolate malt. NOT A SHAKE.
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Second Supper (The Free Press)
PO Box 427 La Crosse Wisconsin 54601
Call: 608.782.7001 or email: