MCBW: Potato Maibock and The Mickey Brat

Event pairs Mickey’s secret brats and new O’so brew on the cusp of national fame



Madison Craft Beer Week is in full swing and while there are dozens of events around the city, the O’so Tasting and Brat cook out with Catfish Stephenson event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m at Mickey’s Tavern Wednesday night (May 8) is a worthy mid-week stop.

I wrote last year about the event after encountering Underground Meat’s sample table featuring Goat Salami; an animal I had never tried before but ended up buying a package of the charcuterie that is made right here in the neighborhood.

While the beer was quite good, what truly left an impression last year was the most savory brats I have ever tasted. They were so good I spent the next year trying to find out who made them. Each subsequent visit to Mickey’s included an interrogation of a server or bartender about the mysterious cook and the magical recipe that produced brats that I’m sure Walter White would describe as “pharmaceutical grade”. 

Often I was told the brats were made by “Steve” or “Jason” in the basement of Mickey’s. For months I had this vision of a mad scientist toiling away; quietly perfecting this jacketed meat so that some day he might rule the world by turning us into brat-loving zombies.

Sausage making is never pretty the beauty of these brats will me more than skin deep. Courtesy: Gilbert Altshcul

Sausage making is never pretty, but the beauty of these brats will be more than skin deep. Courtesy: Gilbert Altshcul

Almost a year later I met the real person behind the brats, none other than Gilbert Altschul who will soon open Grampa’s Pizzeria on Willy Street.

Gilbert helped launch the kitchen at Mickey’s six years ago and after a sojourn in California, returned two years ago to manage the popular tavern which is owned by Jane Capito.

Altschul feels most at home in the kitchen and has been perfecting the brat recipe which he says is straight out of the charcuterie cook book with a couple of tweaks including freshly ground pork, veal, and backfat.

“Much more delicious than Johnsonville” Altschul says.

Come early, i’m told there is a limited supply.

Dan Quayle’s favorite potato-infused drink

beergeeks2_logoThe beer portion of the event will be headlined by O’so Brewing of Plover, Wisconsin.

The brewery will be on hand to provide free samples of O’so products such as  Night Train and Big O. One of the two beers they will have tap is their Single Malt-Single Hop (SMaSH) IPA Hop Whoopin featuring 2 row barley and Summit hops with a hefty 7.1% abv.

O’so Sales Representative Micheal Champion, who goes by “Champ”, says that the brewery is going Hollywood with their Kartoffel Maibock, a potato-based maibock that will be featured on a new syndicated television show “Beer Geeks“.

“O’so is proud to be one of the first breweries in the nation to be filmed for the show which is scheduled for release in the fall of 2013,” Champion said.  “The Kartoffel Maibock is a very smooth full bodied maibock coming in at 8.5% abv.”

Kartoffel, which is brewed with almost 500 pounds of locally grown potatoes, will also be on tap at Mickeys on Wednesday. Strong beer, several hundred nearly illicit brats, and the music of Catfish Stephenson; sounds like a great evening.

So how did I manage to be overnight in Toronto on this day, eh?



Find Madison Craft Beer Week events here

Related: Grampa’s Pizzeria is Open Late

Related: The Best Goat Salami in America

Related: Madison Craft Beer Week (2012)



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