The World Doesn’t Need “Fermentus Interruptus.”
At Granite City Brewpubs, they call their method of producing beer “Fermentus Interruptus.” It’s a bad idea, but apparently a profitable one. They’ve made a mini-empire from it. There are Granite City brewpubs throughout the Midwest, from North Dakota and Kansas to Ohio.
But it’s surprising to see a Granite City brewpub in a suburban-looking Madison, Wisconsin shopping mall. Madison is a fairly beer-savvy town. Some of the country’s greatest craft breweries – like New Glarus, Stevens Point, Capital and Ale Asylum – are within an hour’s drive. Still, Granite City appears to thrive.
Fermentus Interruptus means that Granite City mashes all its beers at a plant in Iowa, freezes the raw wort, then ships it to each of their 26 breweries. There, it’s defrosted and yeast is added … so technically, the beer is brewed on premise. But it’s not like there’s a brewmaster at each location deciding which malts, hops and yeasts are going into every brew they pump out.
It’s the equivalent of kit brewing, only using frozen wort rather than a concentrated wort syrup extract. (Kit brewing is basically emptying a can of concentrated, often hopped, syrup into water, boiling it, chilling it, adding a packet of dry yeast, and then generously patting yourself on the back for “actually having brewed beer.” No serious craft brewer does it that way.)
Based on my experience in West Madison, it’s really a sports bar – it’s not trying very hard to be a beer bar. I imagine it could do nearly as well without the brewed-on-premises gimmick.
But I sampled their beers, so you don’t have to.
Do I really need to drag you though the predictable, drinkable, but remarkably unremarkable beers that Granite City serves up? Does the world really need another brewpub that just phones it in?
Granite City Food & Brewpub
72 West Towne Mall
Madison, WI 53719