The German helles is well suited for summer and a handful of our local brewers are offering them now. Tyranena’s take on the venerable style is called Lake Mills’ Finest Lager (about $10/six-pack), and it’s become my beer of choice for the summer of 2022 so far. It’s among the brewery’s beer garden best sellers. I’ve been venturing to Lake Mills more than usual, and enough that the bartenders have started recognizing me by name (or at least by Mug Club number). 

The traditional helles is a light-colored lager with medium- to full body and a hint of maltiness. Lake Mills’ Finest is a good example of the style, featuring floral and spicy German Tettnang hops and a slightly sweet maltiness. It’s very easy drinking at 4.5 percent ABV. 

The beer was introduced in 2018, and it’s the creation of brewery owner and brewmaster Rob Larson along with brewer Ryan Nikolay. It’s steadily grown a following, earning a slot as a late spring/summer seasonal. 

The packaging calls attention to Lake Mills’ history, depicting the Franklin Else Bandstand, a gazebo located in Commons Park. 

Also in time for the summer drinking season is Tyranena’s Peach Sour (about $10/four-pack). This is a fruited beer done right, not too sour and not too sweet. An inviting soft peach aroma up front combines with the crisp tartness of lactobacillus. The background beer is a wheat ale, similar to a gose. This beer gets over 1,000 pounds of fruit puree for each batch. Peach Sour appears in the brewery’s “Tart and Fruity Series” of four-pack bottles. 

Unfortunately, Tyranena’s specialty four-pack releases have been hard to spot in Madison stores, so ask around or go to the brewery, where this beer is available on tap ($7/glass), in howlers ($12), growlers ($18) and four-packs ($10).

Tyranena’s plans for a downtown Lake Mills taproom are at last progressing — construction has started on a new taproom downtown. The brewery is renovating a two-story, 100-year-old building that once served the community as a pharmacy. Larson has owned the building since 2018, but due to downtown road construction and the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was delayed. 

Tyranena will keep that sense of history by naming the business The Pharmacy Public House. Located across from Commons Park at 203 W. Main St., it will have a taproom with 24 draft lines, a kitchen (to serve a limited food menu), a stage, and two floors of seating including an outdoor rooftop patio overlooking a street level beer garden. 

“We have limited taproom space at the brewery, especially in winter, on nights with music,” says Larson. The new space will be dedicated entirely to taproom customers. The original location, opened in 1998 on the eastern edge of Lake Mills at 1025 Owen St., with a small indoor taproom and outdoor beer garden, will continue serving beer indoors and out and hosting music. Larson hopes to open the new location by late fall. 

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