Reaching for the Zenith

zenithBy George Halas

One of the most pleasant aspects of the Wisconsin Brewing Company Concert Series is that, in addition to discovering some fabulous music, each month will provide an opportunity to discover a new beer.

At both the June 17th appearance at Peabody’s in Oshkosh by Ho Malone as well as the Walt Hamburger and The Young Guns concert at Holiday’s Pub & Grill in Neenah on June 24th, WBC will be featuring Zenith.

“I view beer as an adjunct to the enjoyment of life,” said WBC vice-president and brewmaster Kirby Nelson. “Zenith is a summer seasonal beer that easily complements both music and warm-weather drinking. Summer in Wisconsin is a fleeting phenomenon, so you gotta’ make the most of it, and Zenith is just the beer to do it.”

Zenith is a saison beer, originally brewed by European farmers with whatever ingredients were on hand, but over the years it has evolved into a distinctive brew that has a light grain bill and distinctive yeast strains that make it citrusy, peppery and a sometimes surprising personality.

“This saison has roots as a farmhouse ale,” Nelson said “but we’ve enhanced it with hints of coriander for a beer that’s complex and fruity, yet very clean and refreshing. This is a shimmering golden haze of a brew. Zenith is very special to us. At this stage of my career, I am learning more about Belgian ales. This is one of our first attempts at a great Wisconsin version of a pseudo-European classic and we are very pleased. What makes it special is the refreshment factor. It’s relatively complex but clean and very easy to drink. It’s very refreshing and makes you come back for more.”

It pours with a hazy gold and an aroma resembling a Belgian wit – grains, orange peel and spice – and yields medium to light-bodied with an exceptionally dry finish that makes Zenith one of the easiest drinking saisons on the market.

“You can sit down with Zenith,” Nelson said. “It’s your buddy. It’s got its own confidence, but it’s not an obnoxious show-off.”

It goes great with live summer music.

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