Gloves come off after insult about Wisconsin beer

Bartender Catherine Pierluissi pulls a Ballast Point tap handle at Sugar Maple in Milwaukee, where there are at least 60 beers on tap. The number of craft breweries has more than doubled in the last five years.  Carrie Antlfinger | AP 

There’s at least one thing that binds Minnesotans and Wisconsinites. Neither takes kindly to criticism from the national media.

Minnesota’s thin skin has been well documented here but one Wisconsin columnist has taken umbrage over the assertion that Wisconsin beer isn’t that good.

Deadspin’s Drew Magary wasn’t even writing about beer when he penned his Green Bay Packers preview a couple of weeks ago. The insult to the state’s hops just sort of fit right after calling Green Bay “a disgusting fraud, a haven for sheltered racism and passive aggressive hostility all cloaked in supposed old-school values.”

That didn’t stir Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Drosner up. This did.

Wisconsin has the highest per-capita beer consumption of anywhere in the world but they don’t even have any decent beers.

Ninety percent of tourist attractions in the state involve buildings erected by 19th century Germans who were exiled from the old country for robbing peasants, who then set up shop here to make pee-beer that Wisconsin people still quaff despite the advent of modern brewing technology.

Drosner, who writes as the Beer Baron, did not take this slight standing up.

He leveled Magary with this aside. “Magary is a Minnesota native.”

It’s been 15 years or so since sub-decent beer — the kind sold in 30-packs that surely fueled Magary’s bad take — defined the beer made in Wisconsin. These days, the number of top-flight breweries in Wisconsin is large and growing: Central Waters. Ale Asylum. Lakefront. O’so. Karben4. New Glarus! I mean, NEW GLARUS, Drew.

And New Glarus, the 20th-largest U.S. craft brewer which doesn’t sell a drop outside the Badger State, is a microcosm of why Wisconsin beer doesn’t get as much respect as it should among the coast-hugging opinion-formers that run many of our nation’s most prominent publications (and also Deadspin).

For the most part, you have to come here to get it. There are no Sierra Nevadas or New Belgiums from Wisconsin, sending their mostly great but certainly better-than-decent beer across the country. So unless you’re really a beer geek, a Marylander like Magary probably doesn’t know about Ale Asylum’s IPAs or O’so’s sours or New Glarus’ — well, just about everything from New Glarus is exceptional — because they’re not in his local bottle shop.

The thing is, Magary is a Minnesota native and seems to get back home often enough know better about Wisconsin beer. Minnesota gets the Central Waters Brewers Reserve bourbon barrel series; that alone should be enough to counteract the oceans of Miller Lite flowing from Milwaukee.

Of course, Minnesota also gets one visit a year from the Packers, and we all know how that’s turned out lately. So maybe the beer cheap shot was just sour grapes.

Next time you’re in Wisconsin, Drew, hit me up and we can drink through several of Wisconsin’s better-than-decent beers. Oh, and sorry about your quarterback. Really.

Ouch, sir. I thought we were bonding.