You know what makes things better? Good beer! 608 Brewing Company in La Crosse brews good beer and you should drink some this homecoming weekend so that you’ll feel good.
Homecoming is a great weekend around Madison and I wish I was going to be there to watch the parade on Friday night and the subsequent back-alley beatdown of Illinois (::crosses fingers::). Since I’ll be at work Saturday morning, you should make sure to enjoy a beer for me in the crisp fall air. At least have a breakfast bratwurst—which is just a regular bratwurst that you eat at 8:30 a.m.—for me if you aren’t keen on morning drinking.
Anyway, here is all of the information you’ll need on one of Wisconsin’s newest breweries!
Name: 608 Brewing Company
Location: 83 Copeland Ave, La Crosse, WI, 54603
Key Beers: It appears that the draft list changes quite regularly, but some of the highlights currently are: Mutter Haus Festbier; Tropic Thunder NEIPA; Boom Chokalaka Stout.
Awards Won: They opened on Aug. 10. Give them a few months!
Here is my interview, conducted via email and lightly edited, with co-owner and brewmaster Phil Humphrey.
What got you started in the brewing industry?
Actually, I would credit a high school friend for getting me into brewing. He randomly asked me if I wanted to brew a beer with him probably eight years ago and the whole process of creating something from scratch and executing the plan had me hooked. Plus, it helps when it actually taste good (first few batches were questionable at best).
What did you go to school for?
My college path led me to a career in IT and I did IT for about 13 years. While that was fun at first, I enjoy brewing beer a lot more than fixing servers.
When did you change your career path to brewing?
I was working part-time in IT while running the brewery up until a month ago. Now, I am only focusing on the brewery and all of its day-to-day operations.
What is your favorite beer that your brewery makes?
Of the beers we have made so far, I would say Citranado has been my favorite. It was a NEIPA that was hopped exclusively with citra hops. I am a hop head, so I am always going to flock the to the IPAs.
What is your favorite beer that a brewery in Wisconsin makes?
I would probably say Peruvian Morning from Central Waters (Author’s note: This is MY favorite beer from Central Waters too!). I love barrel-aged beers and they typically have a few out in stores year-round that I can enjoy. Brewing Projekt has been putting out some tasty IPAs as well.
Do you follow college football?
Of course, go Bucky!!!
How do you think the Wisconsin vs. Illinois game will turn out?
Not saying this will be a cake walk, but the Badgers need a game where they could potentially win big and boost their confidence. The Badgers should win this game. Give Jonathan Taylor the ball (Author’s note: RUN THE DANG BALL)!!!
Is your beer distributed in Madison?
Our beer is not distributed to Madison. Currently, you can only get it at our taproom in La Crosse.
Do you offer tours of the brewery?
We do not, as our brewery is pretty small. We have a four-foot-wide door with a big glass window, so you can look into the brewery and literally see everything.
Which of your beers should Badgers fans drink before/after the game while tailgating?
I would say grab a crowler of one of our NEIPAs; we typically have a few different ones available at the brewery in crowlers.
What do you listen to while brewing?
I typically like to listen to music that pumps me up, so it’s usually something fast and hard. Some days it’s DMX and others it’s System Of A Down. But really I am pretty much down for any kind of music.
Why is beer important to you?
Craft beer is its own subculture. I have made so many friends through craft beer that I most likely would have never met through any other avenue. The audience in our taproom ranges from people who just turned 21, families coming in with little kids, and retired individuals who enjoy a good craft beer. It really is a common interest for people in all walks of life and I wouldn’t be where I am right now without a passion for craft beer.