Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: Tyranena’s The Devil Made Me Do It ‘highly drinkable’

By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers

Greetings, craft beer lovers.

I hope you have enjoyed the temperature reprieve we have seen the last few days. Although I enjoy it, it is also a curse trying to keep our knuckle-headed redbone coonhounds from turning the entryway and kitchen floor into a mud field. I would also like to wish my favorite senior assistant editor a happy birthday. Happy birthday, Brandon.

This week, I would like to talk about a beer from behind the Cheddar Curtain near Madison in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. The brewery is Tyranena(pronounced Tie-rah-nee-nah) Brewing Co., and the beer is The Devil Made Me Do It — or from here on, TDMMDI, to save precious column words. The Rock River Times encourages me to keep it to a maximum word count; I make a valiant effort, but do not always succeed. HA!

If you have been a regular reader of this column, then Tyranena Brewing Co. is no stranger to you. TDMMDI is one of 16 beers in Tyranena’s Brewers Gone Wild Series. The constantly rotating lineup features beers that really are not a style, but something the guys at Tyranena thought up and had the sack to give it a try, much like the adventurous spirit of home brewers. We have one of these guys in our club who has this type of adventurous Devil Made Me Do It-type spirit … here’s to ya, Cory Ellis.

Tyranena’s website offers this explanation for the Brewers Gone Wild Series: “A Series of Big, Bold and Ballsy Beers. Each beer in this series is to the extreme. Big flavor, wild names and … well … do you need more?”

TDMMDI is described as an Imperial Oatmeal Coffee Porter with a 7.50 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). For this review, I used a tulip glass and allowed the beer to warm up to more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pour is black as ink, and does not allow any light to pass through (did the room get a bit dimmer?). A mammoth and creamy tan head billows on top of this black beauty, which recedes to a patchy fog appearance with above-average lacing on the glass.

The first whiff greets you with complex roasted coffee, dark chocolate and a bit of roasted oats — no burned aroma here. No hop presence is detected, either, and believe me, none required. This beer smells rich, inviting and smooth.

The taste is almost exactly like it smells, starting with strong roasted coffee bean flavor that gives way to a smooth, unsweetened chocolate backbone. There is the impression of sweet molasses/vanilla flavor (or maybe both) dancing with the coffee bean and chocolate. The swallow has a pleasing bitterness that is definitely from the coffee and not hops.

The mouth feel is just shy of full-bodied, with a silky and creaminess that is no doubt from the oats. Carbonation is slight, but does offer some tingle on the tongue and finishes surprisingly dry.

My overall impression is this is a highly drinkable beer. Although intended to be savored slowly, I find it difficult not to drink quickly. The combination of oatmeal and coffee on a porter canvas with no off-putting aspects creates bold flavors melding together very well. If this TDMMDI is indicative of the other beers in their Brewers Gone Wild Series, then we are missing out on something wunderbar!


Michael Sears is president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a homebrewing club dedicated to the art of finely crafted beer. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Rockford Brewing Company, 200 Prairie St., on the Rock River. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to If you have comments or recommendations, contact Mike at

From the Jan. 21-27, 2015, issue

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