I couldn't resist the temptation of the sub-five dollar bomber, and I walked out with two beers - a chocolate stout and a double IPA from Rhinelander Brewing Company.
The story of Rhinelander Brewing begins in 1882, when the brewery was opened by Otto Hilgermann and Henry Danner. As it goes with many of the old American breweries, there was a fire, prohibition, multiple changes of ownership, a buyout by a larger brewery, and finally the acquisition of the brand and equipment by a private investor looking to use the historic name as a launching pad for a brand resurgence.
As we've seen with Berghoff, this isn't always a promising proposition.
Another curious thing about these two beers is that you've almost got to get out a magnifying glass to figure out who brewed it. But there, under everything else, was the word "Wisconsin" - an insurance policy that told me that this cheap stuff was worth a shot.
First up - Flavored Beer Chocolate Bunny Stout Brewed with Cocoa Powder (or just Chocolate Bunny). It was immediately evident that the nose on this one lived up to the label - chocolatey is really the only word I'd use to describe it. The mouthfeel is creamy, with more of that cocoa powder coming through in the flavor, and finishing with a coppery penny sort of sharp bitterness. The beer weighs in at 5.5% ABV.
We liked the beer well enough - it's at least as good as the pricetag. It's definitely worth giving a shot, or at least serving to guests that you don't want to waste expensive beer on.
Next up was the Imperial Jack DIPA. This was a pretty odd beer, with nothing up front (which seemed awfully odd for a DIPA), then a hit of soapy water, followed up by a saccharine/Diet Coke-like sweetness that lingers. The mouthfeel was thin, and almost slippery.
If I were you, I'd pass on the DIPA. Or try it. It's cheap as fuck. And tastes like it.
*More on this dinner shortly.