STEVENS POINT, Wis. — To celebrate 160 years of brewing history, Stevens Point Brewery is treating Wisconsin craft-beer fans to an authentic turn-of-the-century ale — turn of the 19th century, that is.
Point 160th Anniversary Ale, available this summer on draft only in Wisconsin starting this month, is brewed using a traditional German-style all-malt recipe dating back to the 1800s. Point Brewmaster Gabe Hopkins came across the recipe last year in the archives of the Stevens Point Brewery, one of the oldest breweries in America.
Point 160th Anniversary Ale is unlike the ales of today and cannot easily be categorized as an amber ale or pale ale. Rich amber brown in hue with a hearty ABV of 6.5%, Point 160th Anniversary Ale most resembles the Düsseldorf Altbier style of warm-fermented beers brewed in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region, according to Hopkins.
To add historical authenticity to the brewing process, Hopkins used only traditional hop varieties that were grown more than 100 years ago – Cluster, Mount Hood and Tettnanger hops – along with pale malt and colored malt and a special ale yeast like the strains available in the 19th century. In addition, instead of using modern centrifuge filtering, the Point brewing team used natural gravity filtering for Point 160th Anniversary Ale. To grace the bars of Wisconsin restaurants and taverns, Point also designed a commemorative tap handle resembling an old-fashioned mash paddle like those used in 19th-century breweries.
Hopkins also noted that Point 160th Anniversary Ale is aged longer than most Point beers. “The extended aging time helps mellow out the fruitiness from the warm fermentation,” he explained. “The resulting malty flavor is very smooth and well-balanced with a nice Tettnanger hop aroma to it, a kind of earthy spiciness. It’s a classic flavor from bygone days that suits modern taste buds, and we are quite proud of it.”
Point 160th Anniversary Ale plays a prominent role in Point Stevens Point Brewery in 1890Brewery’s year-long celebration of its brewing heritage, which dates back to 1857 when German immigrants Frank Wahle and George Ruder had dreams of building a successful brewery in Stevens Point.
In addition to the classic taste of 160th Anniversary Ale, brewery flagship Point Special Lager will be available in specially marked 12-packs and 24-packs of commemorative cans featuring a late 1890s Point Special label. Commemorative bottle caps now crown longneck bottles of all Point craft beers.
Also this summer, Point fans in Wisconsin will have a chance to win Point-branded kegerator home draft beer systems. “Our kegerator giveaway begins in June at participating retailers in our core central Wisconsin markets,” said Julie Birrenkott, Point Marketing Manager. “We’re excited about our 160th anniversary and this promotion, which is the first of its kind for our brewery. It’s a fitting way to thank our loyal customers in our home market.”
Stevens Point Brewery TodayToday Point’s handcrafted beers and hard ciders are sold in 36 states nationwide. Point Brewery uses only the highest-grade barley malts, specialty malts, grains, and the choicest hops to brew its handcrafted beers.
In addition to Point Special Lager, Point’s portfolio of year-round beers includes Point Session Pale Ale, an American-style Pale Ale; Point Onyx Black Ale, a robust dark ale; Point Drop Dead Blonde Ale, a golden ale; Point Amber Classic, an American-style amber lager; Point Beyond the Pale IPA, a robust, hoppy India Pale Ale; and Point Smiley Blue Pils, a Czech-style pilsner. The year-round Point IPA variety pack features four unique India pale ales: Point Spruce Tip IPA, Point Peach Mango IPA, Point White IPA and Point One Shot IPA. Year-round products also include the Whole Hog Limited Edition “big beers:” Whole Hog Espresso Stout, Whole Hog Six-Hop India Pale Ale, Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout, Whole Hog Barley Wine Ale and Whole Hog Scotch Ale. Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale is a fall seasonal. In addition to, Point Brewery’s seasonal lineup features Point Bock, a genuine bock beer brewed the old-time way; Snow Pilot Pistachio Nut Brown Ale, a winter seasonal just introduced; summer seasonals Siesta Key Citrus Pale Ale, with a splash of grapefruit juice, and Point Coast Radler, a mix of beer and natural citrus flavors; and Point Oktoberfest, a Bavarian-style Märzen beer for the fall.
Point brews five unique James Page specialty beers sold only in convenient 12- ounce cans: A Cappella Gluten-free Pale Ale, Casper White Stout, Yhaba Dhaba Chai Tea Porter, Healani Pineapple Hefeweizen, and Bastian Black Forest Cake, a dark porter.
Ciderboys Cider Co. and Point’s gourmet soft drinks Point’s Ciderboys Cider Co. hard ciders blend unexpected fresh fruit flavors with apple cider. Ciderboys’ year-round products are First Press, a traditional hard cider; Raspberry Smash, alive with the tartness of raspberries; and Strawberry Magic, a blend of fresh strawberries and apple cider. Ciderboys also produces winter seasonal Mad Bark, made with natural cinnamon; fall seasonal Cranberry Road, a pairing of apple cider and cranberries; and seasonals Pineapple Hula, Peach County and Grand Mimosa. Pineapple Hula is made with fresh Hawaiian pineapple, Peach County combines pure peach flavor with apple cider, and Grand Mimosa is a winter cider made with succulent California oranges.
Gourmet soft drinks include Point Premium Root Beer, Point Premium Diet Root Beer, Point Premium Orange Cream, Point Premium Vanilla Cream, Point Kitty Cocktail and Point Premium Black Cherry Cream Soda.
For more information about the Stevens Point Brewery, please visit www.pointbeer.com or call 1-800-369-4911. Tours of the brewery are available; schedules are listed on the website.