Capital’s first female-designed beer debuts

Ashley Kinart created Fishin' in the Dark to be a perfect summer beer
Capital’s first female-designed beer debuts
What could possibly ever go wrong when you pair local beer with local burgers? Nothing.

This weekend marks the seventh year of Burgers and Brew, REAP Food Group‘s popular (like, sold-out popular) summer event that matches chefs from REAP’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program with nearby brewers and farmers to create tasty, locally sourced burgers paired with craft beer.

This year, guests will have the opportunity to taste Capital Brewery’s first-ever female-designed beer, an Imperial Schwarzbier (sometimes referred to as a black pilsner) called Fishin’ in the Dark from assistant brewer Ashley Kinart.

While the beer industry is still dominated by men, the number of female brewers and beer professionals is continuously growing. Nationally, The Pink Boots Society, a networking group for women in the beer industry, currently sits at over 1,100 members—a large increase since its start with sixty members in 2007.

On a local level, Kinart worked with female reps from Wisconsin companies where the beer’s raw materials came from—base malt from Malteurop, specialty malts from Briess and hops from Gorst Valley. Fishin’ in the Dark’s label design was also created by Erin Destree, whose husband Brian is Capital’s brewmaster.

Kinart describes Fishin’ in the Dark as a black German lager, made a little higher in gravity (read: higher alcohol percentage) than traditional brews, making it a perfect summer celebration beer.  

As for the name, Kinart says, “It is a beer that I thought would be perfect on a warm summer night, while doing something fun with friends or loved ones—like fishing—in the dark—which also happens to go well with beer.”

The final product will be paired with a lamb burger from Bunky’s Café, made with Black Earth Meats and topped with hummus, romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes and a yogurt sauce, served on Bunky’s homemade rosemary brioche bun.

“The event itself is in the spirit of promoting local craft beer,” says Kinart. “[Releasing the beer at Burgers and Brew] seemed like something fun to do while people are already enjoying our many amazing local breweries.”

In the seven years since the event’s launch, collaboration among Madison area chefs and brewers has really grown, says REAP communications director Bowen Close. Burgers and Brew both benefits from and enhances that spirit of collaboration, and the event has become REAP’s biggest of the year. “It’s got less of educational feel and more of a summer food festival vibe,” says Close.

In addition to Bunky’s and Capital, other participants this year include couplings like Lombardino’s with Karben4, Merchant with New Glarus and Graze with Grumpy Troll—with the number of pairings increasing to sixteen.

Tickets are sold out, so if you didn’t get yours yet, be sure to jump on it next year.

Burgers and Brew runs 4:30–7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at the Capital Brewery Bier Garten. Proceeds from the event support REAP’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program, which helps put local food on the table by connecting Southern Wisconsin farmers and chefs. For more information, visit