Madison craft brewery Ale Asylum is getting ready to distribute its first new Belgian-style beer release in five years called KINK. The brewery will be collaborating with area craft beer establishments to release KINK on draft and in bottles starting next week.
KINK, a Belgian-style Abbey, formerly held the name of Happy Ending and has only been available in Ale Asylum’s Tasting Room as a draft offering. Given that SweetWater Brewing Co. in Atlanta currently packages a beer with this name, it was time to rebrand for the public.
Coincidentally, Ale Asylum purchased its current bottling line from SweetWater in 2012 and was given permission to use the Happy Ending name unless the beer went into distribution. KINK will be joining Tripel Nova and Mercy in Ale Asylum’s existing bottled Belgian portfolio. The brewery refers to these beers as “limited seasonals,” meaning a small batch is made and has a 2-3 month run as opposed to the 4-6 month run of their other seasonals.
“Many know us for our hoppy beers, but long-term fans of Ale Asylum know of our love for Belgian-style ales as well. We’re excited to add KINK to our Belgian ale lineup, and look forward to adding more in the future,” stated Otto Dilba, vice president and co-founder of Ale Asylum.
This is an exciting release for Brewmaster Dean Coffey, who has an affinity for Trappist-style brewing, and the historical value behind it. In fact, he was one of the first professional Wisconsin brewers to present a Trappist-style beer to the market in 1995. “I wanted this recipe to reflect my passion for the spirit of Trappist brewing, and I’m very proud of the outcome,” Coffey said.
Given the high-level of consumer demand and the sales that these premium beers generate, Madison area craft beer bars and restaurants are showing an increase of Belgian offerings on their menus. Located on the Capitol Square, The Coopers Tavern currently has six draft lines and 24 bottled Belgian beer offerings. Co-owner Peter McElvanna has been a fan of KINK since its inception as Happy Ending and often enjoys a goblet at the brewery’s Tasting Room.
“This beer is superb. It has a great caramel presence, good mouthfeel and tastes like a true Belgian-made Abbey,” said McElvanna. He will be putting KINK on draft next Friday, just in time for the Great Taste of the Midwest, a large craft beer festival held in Madison. The brewery has promotions in place to engage festival goers, including logo-branded wooden paddles for sale and a photo opp on an industrial torture rack, complete with handcuffs.
Craft beer retail outlets are also increasing their Belgian bottled beer offerings. Adam Casey, general manager of Star Liquor stated: “Belgian-style beers provide such a wide range of varieties and flavors, perfect for the discerning craft beer drinker. American-made Belgian beers provide an alternative to the many hop bombs that are out in the market. Ale Asylum’s Mercy Grand Cru and Tripel Nova both have sold well, so I’m sure KINK will do the same.”
KINK will officially be released to the public on draft August 7, at Merchant, a downtown Madison establishment. The 4 p.m. release will occur after a week-long tap takeover that begins the previous Sunday. The brewery is collaborating with Merchant Owner Patrick Sweeney on rotating various Ale Asylum brands within the five day span so their customers can enjoy a variety of offerings. The talented mixologists of Merchant have also created craft beer cocktails using Ale Asylum beers that will be featured daily next week.
Bottles of KINK will be available for purchase at craft beer retail outlets starting the weekend of August 15 and will be distributed throughout the state of Wisconsin.