Day 8: Black Husky SPROOSE

Day 8: Black Husky Brewing SPROOSE – Double IPA 8.6%

As you have probably been able to intuit, Black Husky Brewing loves dogs, specifically, huskies. The owners’ son at one point had a kennel filled with sled dogs, and they decided to name their beers after dogs they feel relate to that beer. The brewery itself is named after their black husky, Howler. The beer we are enjoying tonight is SPROOSE, which is their second rendition of this beer. I remember sampling the original “spruce juice” about 6 years ago shortly after moving to Milwaukee. Fabled as a beer brewed with spruce tips, it was a delightful beer, unlike anything I had previously tasted. When they moved the brewery to Riverwest, they unveiled a double IPA version of spruce juice, SPROOSE, which gets its name from their dog Lothar, often referred to as “the biter,” because this beer has quite the bite to it. 

The pour is dark orange with a decent amount of haze, be wary of a large head of foam! Aromas of pine will come wafting up to your nose from the spruce tips used in brewing, giving you the feeling of being deep in the woods of Northern Wisconsin. Pine is noticeable in the taste, but the large amount of hops added during the fermentation process help balance out the evergreen taste with a citrusy finish. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a soft, creamy finish. One thing is for sure, this beer does not lack flavor! This beer is not meant to be subtle, or artsy with its flavors, it is intentionally brewed to assault your tastebuds, and give you an entirely novel experience.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Christmas Tree’ Double IPA as much as I do.



Advent Reflection


Isaiah 40

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.

Mark 1:1-3

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”
 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”

 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Our readings tonight point us to a messenger that will prepare the way for the Lord. This messenger will also proclaim the coming kingdom of God. This messenger is John the Baptist and he is prominent in the readings during the 2nd week of Advent. I love the language that Chase used to describe tonight’s beer. The Sproose is definitely an ‘assault’ on your tastebuds. In a lot of ways, tonight’s beer is overpowering and seems to fall in two (2) categories: ‘I love it’ or ‘I hate it’. John the Baptist was very similar. He was an ‘assault’ on the culture of his time and was unlike any other figure that we see in Scripture. I mean, go back and read the description from the Gospel of Mark…he wore a garment made of camel’s hair and had a diet of locusts and wild honey! Yet, this man has a profound story and involvement in our Christian faith. Listen to this description, “There is no good news, no Gospel of Jesus Christ, without John the Baptist. John’s whole life was lived with but one purpose; he was born, a man of destiny, to declare the imminent arrival of the coming Messiah. This voice crying in the wilderness, this ‘lantern which shone in front of the Son of God,’ is extraordinary in many ways, but most of all for the single-mindedness with which he pursued his mission even to death, for John the Baptist feared no man, not even Herod the king, and no woman either, not even Herod’s wife, who in the end arranged to have his head cut off. But let us take note: this firebrand who recognized no superior was utterly submissive before the One whose coming he lived and died to illuminate; for John said, ‘One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’” (Fleming Rutledge)

The whole purpose of John the Baptist’s life was to point away from himself and to Jesus Christ. This, I believe, is the calling of each of us as followers of Jesus. How much of our lives are lived with a ‘single-mindedness’ of focus and purpose? John the Baptist is a wonderful example for us. I pray that my life would be lived in such a way that I would proclaim with my life just like John did, “He (Jesus) must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30)

As you drink this double IPA with an assault of pine, spruce, and hops tonight, I pray that you would reflect on what it might mean for you to become single-minded in your purpose of making much of Jesus, our Savior and King!

Grace and Peace,