Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mad Anthony Auburn Lager

Mad Anthony Wayne was a Revolutionary War general renowned for his triumph at Stony Point. Dubbed “Mad” due to his fiery temper and poorly-masked disdain for incompetence (he was kind of like the Bobby Knight of his day), General Wayne later served in the Pennsylvania state legislature and was a U.S. representative for the state of Georgia. He was called back into military service by George Washington, leading the Legion of United States in warfare against native Americans who refused to surrender the lands of Ohio. He led American troops to victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in what is now Maumee, Ohio. During this military campaign, Wayne ordered the establishment of various forts, one of which was named in his honor. Today, Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in the state of Indiana. It has not forgotten Mad Anthony. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League feature the talents of former college hoops stars like Rod Wilmont, Darnell Lazare, and Walker Russell. Fort Wayne’s Mad Anthony Brewing Company features beers such as Harry Baals Irish Stout and Ol’ Woody Pale Ale. I regret to say that I have yet to try either of the above. I can, however, attest to the worthiness of the Auburn Lager.

I first received a six-pack of the Auburn Lager two Christmases ago from my uncle and aunt in-law. This was a wonderful surprise. First of all, I react to receiving beer as a gift the same way most women do to receiving fine jewelry. Secondly, I didn’t even know they had a brewery in Fort Wayne! As a traveler I always enjoy partaking of the local brews. Even if it’s not the best beer in the world, it’s part of the regional culture and should be experienced. If someone came to visit me in Pennsylvania, I’d want them to try a Yuengling Lager. Love it or hate it, it’s integral to who were are in these parts. I don’t know if Mad Anthony’s beer is equally significant to the culture of Fort Wayne, but perhaps it ought to be. The Auburn Lager is a relatively simple beer compared to your average “micro” brew. It’s not hopped to insane extents or made from exotic ingredients culled from some unheard-of island in the South Pacific. It’s just a good, solid American amber befitting Fort Wayne’s blue collar Midwestern profile. It’s got a decent caramel-ish malt character with some sweet fruit notes, and hops are noticeable but far from overpowering. It has a slightly sour finish that gives it kind of a distinct taste, but it’s not a yucky sort of sour. All in all, this is a darn good beer. It’s a nice option to have on hand when I need a beer to drink with a meal but crave something a little better than corporate swill. I liked it enough to ask for some for Christmas when my wife and I returned to Fort Wayne this past December, and I’ve been enjoying it at home ever since. Unfortunately I was unable to purchase any more Mad Anthony selections while we were out there (no beer sales in Indiana on Christmas Day or Sundays - Boo!). But we’re going back to the Fort in May, and I will be ready to shop. Harry Baals, I’m coming for you!

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