The Pecatonica Beer Company officially launched their first beer at the June 20 Concert on the Square in Monroe. The beer is called Midnight Lager and is described as being a crisp, full-bodied lager that starts with dark chocolate, has a caramel center and finishes with coffee notes.
“We got a lot of good feedback,” said Tom Quinn, one of the owners present at the launching in Monroe. “A lot of people who don’t typically like dark beer really enjoyed it,” he added.
Pecatonica Beer Company’s Midnight Lager will soon be available at many local venues including Legends in Darlington where it will be on tap, hopefully by the end of June.
Currently the owners are focusing on getting out and promoting the new beer and the company as well as visiting different accounts-meeting owners and employees of establishments that have indicated an interest in carrying the beverage.
“We want to meet everybody,” said Tom Quinn. “We want there to be a face behind the beer.”
Also present at the launching were additional owners, Dave Mann, Russ Ruegsegger, and Tim Quinn. There are a total of 10 owners of the company who work together, although only four were present at the launching in Monroe.
At the launching the company was also selling a limited edition print that was drawn by Adam Eamsley with Tim and Tom Quinn’s signature on the front, for $10 each. The profit from those sales will go towards the Green County Humane Society’s new building that was recently built.
Midnight Lager will also be available at the next Concert on the Square in Monroe and Tim Quinn explained that the company will be attending several future events in order to promote the new beer.
The office of the Pecatonica Beer Company is currently located in Gratiot although the company is working on completing a tap house in Warren, Ill. that they hope will be opened by September.
Although the owners are eager to get the tap house open, right now they are focused on perfecting the next few beers scheduled for release and getting them out over the course of the next year.
In August the company is planning to bring out an Oktoberfest and then in the fall they will also be releasing a pale ale. Soon after that a fresh hopped amber is set to be next on the agenda for the Pecatonica Brewing Company.
Right now the company is exploring different options for the future. “We’ll probably have three or four year-round beers and then one seasonal beer that rotates,” said Tom Quinn. He also said that the company might change some of the beers out each year.
Tom Quinn also owns a hop farm near Gratiot, which is his part in the company. He said that last year was the first crop he put in and he is getting ready to harvest a second year’s crop in late August or September.
“It’s a good cash crop, but it’s a very labor intensive crop,” said Quinn who explained that his family’s help is instrumental in succeeding with the hops farm.
According to Quinn, Wisconsin used to grow about 25 percent of the world’s hops supply before 1900. At the peak of hops cultivation in 1867, Wisconsin farmers produced 11 million pounds of hops per year.
Then in the late 1880s blights went through and wiped out Wisconsin’s crop. There were attempts to bring the crop back, but then prohibition hit in the 1920s and Wisconsin just never came back as a hops area afterwards. Instead hops growing moved to the Pacific Northwest area.
“Now there are less than ten hop farms my size, which is a couple of acres, in the state of Wisconsin,” said Quinn. But hop yards are starting to make a comeback in Wisconsin, as the state’s climate is considered ideal for the crop.