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We Welcome Every Dreamer. Whether your dream is to build your dream house or build a business, learn a new skill or learn about your community, take up guitar or take that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, DreamBank has the support to help you make it happen.

FIND FREE ONLINE EVENTS AND RSVP BY VISITING: amfam.com/dreambank 821 East Washington Ave. | Madison, WI 53703 | 608.286.3150 | amfam.com/dreambank

American Family Mutual Insurance Company S.I., American Family Insurance Company, 6000 American Parkway, Madison, WI 53783 ©2020 017955 – Rev. 7/20

CONTENTS november/december 2020

vol. 70

publisher Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@madisonessentials.com


editorial director Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@madisonessentials.com

lead designer

arts Charlie Olson.................................30

Barbara Wilson


senior copy editor

Connection During COVID-19......38

Kyle Jacobson

Curbside Composter.....................14

copy editor

Jerina Vincent...............................36

Krystle Engh Naab

Volunteer Time Off........................40

sales & marketing director Amy S. Johnson ajohnson@madisonessentials.com

dining Beef Butter BBQ...............................6


Glass Nickel Pizza..........................18

Jennifer Denman, Crea Stellmacher, Linda Walker

food & beverage Trendy Creamy Lactose


Won’t Go Home.........................42

Debora Knutson

contributing writers Sandy Eichel, Jeanne Engle, Kyle Jacobson, Lauri Lee, Krystle Engh Naab, Jessica Steinhoff


landmark Gates of Heaven Synagogue.......34

nonprofit Dane County Humane Society

Eric Tadsen

Centennial Celebration:

additional photographs Beef Butter BBQ, Curbside Composter, Dane County Humane Society, Kyle Jacobson, Madison Parks, Charlie Olson, UW Credit Union, Jerina Vincent

subscriptions Madison Essentials is available free at

over 200 locations. To purchase an annual subscription (six issues), send mailing information and $24 to Madison Essentials, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174. Or sign up for a FREE online subscription at madisonessentials.com.

Helping People Help Animals....26

service Fitchburg Family Pharmacy..........22

shopping Anthology......................................10

including From the Publisher...........................4 Contest Information......................46 Contest Winners............................46

(continued) madisonessentials.com

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We welcome your questions and comments. Please submit to Madison Essentials, c/o Towns & Associates, Inc., PO Box 174, Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 or email ajohnson@madisonessentials.com.


To place an advertisement, please call (608) 215-5240 or email ajohnson@madisonessentials.com.

all rights reserved. ©2020

No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by Madison Essentials. Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174 Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 P (608) 356-8757 • F (608) 356-8875


Watch for the next issue January/February 2021. Cover photograph—Pizza taken at Glass Nickel Pizza Co. by Eric Tadsen Photographs on page 3: top—Taken at Anthology by Eric Tadsen middle—BBQ taken at Beef Butter BBQ provided by Beef Butter BBQ bottom—Taken at Fitchburg Family Pharmacy by Eric Tadsen

from the publisher 2020 was inundating and overwhelming. There were catastrophes of death, disaster, illness, destruction, tragedy, and loss. Crushing economic adversities resulted from halts in business, job reductions and losses, and company closures. A persistent political, sociological, and socioeconomic divide became cataclysmic in a pandemic year when fueled by a growing disproportion and disparity in equity, justice, and equality. All these things brought on an onslaught of emotions: fear, despair, turbulence, anguish, confusion, heartbreak, anger, grief, unsettlement, loneliness, insecurity, and hopelessness. Phew! It took a whole lot of descriptors to befit a whole lot of year. It’s hard to fathom next year. The pandemic will no doubt continue, and no one is certain how it will look. Opinions vary regarding vaccine production, so our more immediate hope will likely be for medicines that will lessen the most serious effects of the disease. Until it’s controlled and then eliminated, we need to continue safety measures and our empathy and compassion for victims and their families, frontline workers, and anyone doing their best to stay safe and healthy. While researchers work on the pandemic, the rest of us can focus on other critical issues. An inability to effectively address climate change could cost more lives worldwide than the pandemic. The urgency is apparent by the increased strength and occurrence of natural disasters—earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, lightning, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides—and changing weather patterns. We’ve seen the consequences in the form of devastating floods, droughts, and fires, and we’ve learned that the melting of the polar ice caps affects us all. The future of the earth and its inhabitants is in our hands; we must accept responsibility and act because it’s deadly serious. The movement for change is occurring, but we can do better. Conversations need to turn into actions that will lead to solutions. It’s surprising that something could overshadow a pandemic, but horrific stories of racism did just that. At the forefront is increased awareness because of greater access to video. Violence toward those in custody or being taken into custody by individual police officers has been in full view, and we are able to see how actions or nonactions sometimes result in death. The greater awareness has resulted in some progress in the form of dismissals, arrests, and prison sentences, but not nearly enough. Far too many who commit hate crimes go free, and in some inexplicable instances, they’re praised. Community members and leaders must demand change, and police officers should hold their peers to higher standards. Call out those who aren’t living up to expectations, and strive to do and be better. It has to happen because it’s life and death. For the rest of us, we can continue to talk, post, and march about it. We must stay on task until there are solutions for all issues of inclusion, equity, and diversity. We create the change.

Eric Tadsen

All of these things are difficult, but not insurmountable. They’ll take time and consistent attention. We cannot get discouraged. We must persevere. There will likely be times in the process when we fail, but there will also be progress and success that we can build upon. And it’s imperative we remember that we achieve our best outcome when we join and support one another. We’re better and stronger together, and this is the path that will incur the least number of battle scars. I wish you a safe and healthy holiday and new year filled with an abundance of hope and success stories.

amy johnson 4 | madison essentials

s au k p r a i r i e

c a p i t o l e as t


ngs i d d e W& s t e u q n a B NEW Brunch Menu! S AT & S U N 10am-3pm





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Beef Butter

Photograph provided by Beef Butter BBQ

Patrick Riha, owner of Beef Butter BBQ, read a news article about hospital workers and other frontline professionals pulling extra shifts without even stopping to eat amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital cafeterias and many restaurants were closed, and takeout, if they had time to order, had limited availability.


When the going gets tough, the tough spring into action to help their community take on whatever challenge is making things tough. “The news article struck a chord with me,” says Patrick. “I’ve made smoked turkey meals for over 300 people each year on Thanksgiving at The Beacon, the day

Photograph provided by Beef Butter BBQ

essential dining

by Lauri Lee

shelter on East Washington Avenue. This time, the community’s frontline workers needed someone to feed them. “The smoked, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Texas-style smoked brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and sausages is great comfort food that everyone enjoys. Especially at a time like this. I began to provide what we called First Responder Meals to give back to the community. I’ve always taken good care of the needs of my north side neighborhood. So I started donating food in my own backyard to the police and fire stations in the North District and Maple Bluff, and then expanded to frontline workers at St. Mary’s and UW Hospitals & Clinics. Any first responder also gets a 15 percent discount at the restaurant.” As is often the case, the more you give, the more you get in return. “The immediate consequence of helping others was that my employees got to keep working, my food didn’t spoil, and it helped me to

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Photograph provided by Beef Butter BBQ

keep adapting the restaurant to meet the changing business landscape,” says Patrick.

and be able to pivot based on current conditions in order to succeed. Patrick started Beef Butter BBQ after extensive research and planning. There’s much more involved in operating a restaurant beyond just the food. “I had a passion to open and operate a great local restaurant in Madison with Texas-style smoked brisket that melted in the mouth,” says Patrick. “I’m a research geek, so from the time I tasted my first Texas-style barbeque in Austin, Texas, my mission was to learn everything I could about what it took to succeed. I ate at great

restaurants (I know, tough), attended pitmaster schools and restaurant training seminars, learned about costing cards, labor management, customer service, cleanliness, and more. “To guarantee success, I started catering by outfitting a large trailer with a full commercial kitchen and a smoker. So big, in fact, it exceeded City of Madison regulations to do street vending. Instead, I set up the trailer at Woodman’s Market in Sun Prairie until I built my catering business for weddings, graduations,

Photograph by Eric Tadsen

When planning and preparation meet opportunity, destiny unfolds. Restaurants need to constantly adapt


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The smoked, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Texas-style smoked brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and sausages is great comfort food that everyone enjoys. Especially at a time like this.

and business events. About 19 months later, in November 2018, I opened the restaurant on North Sherman Avenue and continued to cater events.” During COVID-19, Beef Butter BBQ didn’t close, but instead pivoted and streamlined their operations. “When the seating area was shut down to comply with city regulations, I added online ordering to my existing website and eight parking stalls so people could drive up and get contactless delivery,” says Patrick. “Drive-through is now critical to double our capacity and give customers the social distance they want to stay safe.” For customer convenience, “We added 14 freezer doors for our fresh smoked meats that are vacuum packed, so customers can take it home, heat the bag

in warm water, and enjoy the taste like it just came off the smoker,” says Patrick. “The meats will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks or in the freezer for six months.” With so many freezer backs, Patrick placed video screens on them to show customers how meat is smoked and fun facts that rotate every 15 seconds to educate and entertain people. Plexiglass dividers provide a sense of openness while keeping customers safe and happy. And before the end of 2020, the kitchen will double in size to include another in-house smoker and a walk-in cooler and freezer. “There’s nothing harder nor more rewarding than to properly make Texasstyle barbecue,” says Patrick. “It seems people start craving barbequed meat after about three days, so it’s always in demand. It starts with the purchase of the highest-quality meats, trimming them to achieve a perfect smoke, seasoning with special coarse salt and pepper, meticulous management of the fire for smoking to perfection, then properly cutting the meats.

large bath of water above the fire with rotisserie smoking racks. The meats are smoked low and slow up to 12 hours, so the meat is fork tender. A great smoked brisket doesn’t have fat; it has beef butter, which gives the meat its great flavor.” The restaurant also serves smoked pulled pork, baby back ribs, chicken, and house-made sausages, and their hours will be expanding to include a breakfast burrito, coffee, and tea.

“We have special water smokers with the seasoned oak fire underneath and a

“I find if you just focus on exceeding expectations by providing quality food

OPEN DAILY! 3330 atwood ave. madison, wi 53704 olbrich.org

| 608-246-4550

Photograph provided by Beef Butter BBQ 8 | madison essentials


Photograph by Eric Tadsen

Photograph provided by Beef Butter BBQ

and service, and help the community when there’s a need, then everything else will take care of itself. I’m proud of our great staff, who have risen to the occasion amidst all of this year’s challenges and changes. It takes a team.” Patrick’s staff helped pivot the business in 2020 to come out on the other side a more successful restaurant. “I kept John Lehman, of Jim’s Meat Market fame in the neighborhood, as our meat cutter and sausage specialist,” says Patrick. “Filipe came out of the FEED Kitchens Bakery Training Program, and I trained him to be the weekend pit master. I also have a couple of father-and-son teams, and I employ some people with special needs.” Beef Butter BBQ has served over 250,000 people who have found that a 20-minute drive from anywhere is worth the trip to enjoy great barbeque. Lauri Lee is a culinary herb guru and food writer living in Madison.

Lauri Lee

Beef Butter BBQ

3001 N. Sherman Avenue Madison, WI 53704 (608) 640-5000 beefbutterbbq.com madisonessentials.com

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essential shopping


Shifting Out of Neutral by Kyle Jacobson Pixar’s Ratatouille features Auguste Gusteau, a chef who proclaimed anyone can cook. His belief is that cooking is not meant to be restricted to those with culinary backgrounds. Ego, the movie’s food critic, has a second interpretation: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come

from anywhere.” On Madison’s State Street, the sisters Komai, Sachi and Laura, employ a similar philosophy to Anthology, their paper and craft store. Simply put, anyone can art. That heartening message is clear before entering; a busy display window shows off crafted merchandise incorporating snarky witticisms, uplifting creeds, and local artwork. Nothing overly extravagant. They’re saying, in Laura’s words, “Hey, you can be creative. These are ways you can bring creativity into your life. ... Really, the core mission of Anthology is to facilitate creativity.” Anthology addresses its mission by functioning as both a workshop and a gift shop. The workshop aspect (temporarily on hold as of this writing because of COVID-19) allows for people to partake in acts of art no matter their skill level or interests. Have an idea for a button? Bring in your design, pay a buck, and use the button press. Looking for something to do with a few friends? Reserve a craft party and customize your own decoupage mirror.

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“To me, art is simple things,” says Laura. “Like that core of putting pencil down on paper, whether it’s drawing or how you’re corresponding and connecting with people. Just sending them a card and putting some cute little tape on the background of it.” As for the gift shop aspect of Anthology, this is not only how the sisters Komai sell their own artwork, but the work of other local and independent artists. They even go out and find artists when they have a particular concept in mind. “We would go to these huge stationery shows,” says Laura. “I’d say, ‘We really need to work on representing people of color.’ We’d walk around these stationery shows, and there aren’t any there. We’d be like, ‘Well, I guess we couldn’t really find anybody.’ “Then it was just recognizing that you have to go back a few more steps before that because not everybody can make it to the stationery show. It’s this huge commitment in terms of money to get to that point. To say I can’t find anyone there doesn’t mean that anyone

is not creating. It just means they can’t jump that hurdle to get to those trade shows. “This summer, we made a Black Lives Matter sticker pack. We have 20 different artists that we found. Some just have digital content, didn’t have product. We pay them for their image, and we’re making stickers out of it and selling the sticker pack. Again, it’s really, for us, how do we use the store to facilitate people’s creativity and to get people who are creating to the next step of being able to create something for us that we can sell.” Oh, right. Another thing about the sisters Komai, they’re very willing to use their store’s voice on political matters...now. When they first opened, in 2008, that wasn’t the case. One of the first investments was the aforementioned button maker, but aside from a little Obama button in a sea of so many other designs, there wasn’t much tied to politics.


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That changed in February 2011 during the Act 10 protests at the capitol. “I have a friend who’s a union person,” says Laura. “[Sachi and I] were like, ‘Should we make buttons? Should we not make buttons? Is it taking advantage of the situation?’ And my friend said, ‘You have to make the buttons. Union people love buttons.’ That, for us, was a huge thing. ... It wasn’t as much of a risk as we thought it’d be.” In fact, the buttons brought in so much more business that

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Anthology was able to move into its current location at the old Fanny Garver Gallery, which is three times the size of the old space. “I think there’s such a mythology of business is supposed to be neutral. I think it’s hard as a businessperson to say, ‘Oh, okay, you can take a stand.’ There’s just so much you’re supposed to please everyone or not displease anyone. You’re just sort of feeling like you should

be neutral. I think most businesses aren’t neutral. Their business owners clearly contribute money one way or the other—that betrays neutrality. The general neutrality is just to say we’re trying not to offend anyone.” And being outspoken doesn’t mean being insulting to other viewpoints. The sisters Komai appreciate that difference in perspective doesn’t automatically translate to difference in morals or

values. Much of their store is dedicated to celebrating Wisconsin as a whole. Their website even has a category of items entitled Regional Love, where patches, prints, notecards, and t-shirts show off pride in Wisconsin culture.

As a final arm of its advocating for the artist in all of us, Anthology’s donations go to the things that inspired the sisters Komai when they were young. “Our entire childhood had been the Art Cart, classes at UW Extension.” By helping to keep these programs alive for future


Sauk Prairie


generations, they continue to shatter mindsets that art is an unobtainable obscurity for the uniquely deserving or talented. Art can just as easily be the little things. “I have always thought that notecards were just a little piece of art,” says Laura. “And you can get one for $4.” Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie. Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Laura credits her appreciation of perspective to her father. “Our dad was a photographer. He’s always aimed to create pictures that are interesting, but not necessarily typical postcard pictures. So the question is how do you portray a space that’s evocative and meaningful, but doesn’t rely on the image that the airport gift shop always relies on. So he, with his photography, was always pushing us, asking how we are seeing things. My master’s degree is in geography, so again, it’s all about place and how you represent place. It all connects.”

Kyle Jacobson


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e ssential community

Curbside Composter BY K YLE JACOBSON Did you know that on July 1, 2020, Vermont banned food scraps from trash and landfills? To some, that might sound bizarre—maybe even unreasonable— but to most who compost, it makes a lot of sense. If you haven’t visited the Dane County landfill, all I can really say is it’s gross and heartbreaking. There’s a lot of food waste in that landfill, and food waste that decomposes in landfills produces the infamous greenhouse gas methane. As recycling wasn’t really a thing until the 1970s, today’s world needs to put composting at the forefront of people’s minds. For a dollar a day, Curbside Composter has been providing Dane County residents the opportunity to partake in composting for almost 14 years. Owner and founder Derek Fry noted his frustrations with the City of Madison’s struggles in installing a long-term foodwaste program (their current program does not pick up from restaurants and ends for the season October 31). In his mind, there are no excuses. “The county used to compost all the yard waste, and they kind of had a big battle with the city with the rates and stuff like that. They lost the contract and sold 14 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s


all their equipment.” I don’t know the whole story, but whatever the reasons, getting a compost program going that includes everyone in the area is integral to addressing climate change with the added benefit of aiding farmers and boosting our own backyard gardens. Derek’s passion for getting as many people and businesses to participate as possible stems in part from the immediate benefits of composting he often sees firsthand. “I work with farmers to get compost at their location and also feed chickens, which is all USDA approved. ... It saves them money on feed. Chickens are super healthy eating such a variety of minerals and food. They eat bananas, rice, couscous, and watermelons instead of just corn and soybean or whatever’s in their chicken feed.” He’s also motivated to end environmental sufferings. “We’ve been warned. Landfills are filling up too fast. We don’t have much longer, yet we’re still sending all this food waste to the landfill en masse. Think about all the stuff the restaurants don’t compost. They just keep filling their dumpsters

full of waste, and then it goes right to the landfill.” Hurdles are ubiquitous when it comes to running a compost business—the largest being a general lack of education. Even today, people misuse recycling bins, so to expect everyone to get it right when it comes to composting might be wishful thinking. But the opportunity to create the composting habit at an early age exists in our schools. There’s a lot of food waste happening there. Suzy doesn’t want her apple—garbage. Timmy sneezes on the mashed potatoes in the cafeteria—garbage. These same kids might be quick to tattle when

a piece of paper finds its way to the trash instead of the recycling. Why not get them thinking the same way about food waste? Derek has made a part of his mission easing the individual effort required for composting. We’re not yet wired to take the steps needed for efficient and effective composting. For example, you can compost cardboard, but not grease, so people throw away pizza boxes instead of tearing away the greasy parts and composting the untouched cardboard. “I’ll take your pizza boxes,” says Derek. “You don’t have to tear them up even. Just set them under your bucket, I’ll take them with me, and they’ll be compost.” And if you have any questions, he’s always a phone call away. With multiple certifications in composting and education in climate change, Derek understands the importance of scale. He barters with businesses to ensure their food waste doesn’t end up in the garbage. “All these restaurants, they can’t afford to pay fullprice compost fees from, like, Sanimax.” Addressing the major sources of potential food waste is instrumental in making as large an impact as possible. Everyone has to be on board. The same logic applies to when we go all out celebrating the good times. Birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries, they all warrant a party, and with a party comes planning. Derek’s composting services could be part of those plans. “I do weddings, events, stuff like that. If you want to have a zero-waste wedding, get all compostable cups and plates and silverware, we’ll just get compost bins around the location for the evening.”


COVID-19 changed things a little bit for Curbside Composter, but in what might prove to be for the betterment of Derek’s operations moving forward. “COVID-19 hit and forced me into making a decision about not having these buckets in my house anymore, so I went to biobag compostable bags. I just pick up the bags now.” With an evergrowing customer base, though costing him money upfront, the bags cost him less in the long run when it comes to space and process. Nobody wants new normals to be the new normal. Bringing mindfulness to our ecological footprints is a habit some people in Madison work daily to create. For them, composting isn’t something so earthshattering, but for others, it isn’t something they’ve ever really sat down and thought about. We can’t be blind to others not partaking in environmental stewardship whether because of cost, ability, or unfamiliarity. Thanks to Curbside Composter and other local efforts to aid in eliminating food waste, the reasons for resisting to adapt are shrinking, and the means to making a difference are more accessible.

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Derek offers composting options for individual households, apartments, restaurants, and events. Go to curbsidecomposter.com to learn more. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie.

Kyle Jacobson

Curbside Composter composts:

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✦ Nick Lowe’s Quality

Rock & Roll Revue ✦ Joan Shelley ✦ Harmonious Wail ✦ The Steel Wheels ✦ Albert Cummings ✦ Riders in the Sky ✦ Crystal Bowersox ✦ Del McCoury Band ✦ Steve Earle—Solo ✦ Mad Fiddle & Hwy 151 ✦ Leo Kottke ✦ Rhonda Vincent and the Rage ✦ Bob Mould ✦ Marty Stuart ✦ Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra

Opera House

Gift Cards

make the perfect gift! Birthdays • Holidays Anniversaries

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Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Photographs provided by Curbside Composter.

✦ Yonder Mountain String Band

✦ Asleep at the Wheel ✦ Aoife O’Donovan ✦ Watkins Family Hour ✦ Rodney Crowell ✦ Sam Bush Band ✦ Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

✦ Darrell Scott ✦ Syttende Mai ✦ Kruger Brothers ✦ Michael Perry & the Longbeds

✦ Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce

✦ Bach Dancing &

Dynamite Society

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• All left over fruit and vegetable peelings • Any meal scraps • Small quantities of meats, bones, and cheeses • Egg shells • Nuts • Breads • Cereals • Coffee grounds • Paper towels • Napkins • Non-coated paper plates • Shredded paper Please no: • Large quantities of meats, bones, and cheeses • Plastics • Metals • Food stickers • Packaging material • Oils • Medications • Soaps • Chemicals of any kind • Rubber • Styrofoam • Any non-organic material not listed previously



more in store





We feature a wide array of herbal and CBD products to support immune health, inflammation response and promote relaxation. Community Pharmacy 341 State St., Madison Community Wellness Shop 6333 University Ave., Middleton Our Madison State St. store has closed! Shop fabulous footwear at shoostore.com or visit us in the Milwaukee Third Ward. (shoo) 241 N Broadway, Milwaukee


A tradition that feels right at home. Bring the fresh outdoors into your home with our Thymes Frasier Fir Collection. Avid Gardener 136 West Main St., Cambridge Anthology-exclusive Black Lives Matter sticker pack featuring 20 artists and benefiting 20 organizations lifting up Black voices and lives. Anthology 230 State St., Stop 1





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Any puzzle fan is sure to enjoy this beautiful and challenging puzzle consisting of vintage National Park logo and design images. Little Luxuries 230 State St. Stop 2, Madison Concocting truffles and treats to create the ultimate chocolate experience! Place orders on gailambrosius.com or by phone. Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier 2083 Atwood Ave., Madison


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essential dining

Glass Nickel Pizza BY KYLE JACOBSON

“I would never win an award for not loving pizza.” - Dwayne Johnson “Those pizzas I ate were for medicinal purposes.” - Amy Neftzger “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” - Jerri Blank (Strangers with Candy) Is there such a thing as a day that isn’t made better with pizza? Even if you get hit by a pizza delivery truck, the first thing that crosses your mind is, “Hey, maybe I’ll get free pizza.” We can all agree that life’s too short to eat bad pizza, but I’ll eat bad pizza to hold myself over until good pizza arrives. With so many great pizzerias in Madison, it’s not always easy to choose where you’ll get your next pizza from, though I’ll bet Glass Nickel Pizza makes a lot of locals’ shortlists. The high level of community support for Glass Nickel feeds into the pizzeria’s founding philosophy: the 4 Cs—

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crew, customer, community, company. Megan Nicholson, co-owner, says, “We really feel like if we take care of our crew, they’re going to take care of the customers really, really well. And if the customers feel taken care of, that’s a benefit to our community in multiple ways. And if the community is taken care of, then that comes back to the company so that we can keep the cycle going and keep doing more.” To Megan; her husband, Tim Nicholson; Tim’s business partner, Brian Glassel; and Brian’s wife, Rebecca, giving back to the community isn’t just something they set aside to do for a set amount of time each year. They’re always ready to give back when the opportunity presents itself. “We have schools that come to us,” says Megan. “We have gift cards for silent auctions. We feed volunteer groups, donate to healthcare workers.” They also get involved in sponsoring youth sports teams and other local organizations. As for their more focused contributions, Megan says, “Four times a year, Glass Nickel sets up company-wide donation days, where we can do something statewide more collectively as a group.” This includes supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Goodman Community Center and other foodbanks, Dane County Humane Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Wisconsin Honor Flight.

board My Town MERRIMAC, WI DEVIL’S HEAD RESORT • www.townofmerrimac.net

Shifting to the food and customer side of things, Glass Nickel encourages patrons to get creative in the pizza process. “If we’ve got the ingredient in all of our build-your-own stuff, we can make it,” says Megan. “We love that. Every once in a while, we’ll even have a customer send us a specialty pizza idea.” And being creative isn’t limited to ingredients. Their Make at Home kit means you make the pizza yourself. Personally, I love building a pizza with my three-year-old. It’s not only fun, but the pizza always comes out delicious. “You obviously have to have good pizza and good food,” says Megan. “Whether you’re coming to work, whether you’re coming to pick up a pizza, whether we just live in the neighborhood next to madisonessentials.com

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you and you know we’re a business in your area, we just want everyone to have a good experience.” The crew goes out of their way to make customers genuinely feel appreciated, and they feel like part of the company because they’re treated as such. “We’ve always talked about keeping employees in the forefront of our mind and making sure that we keep looking into how we can make the workplace a better place to be, not even just in wages, but what types of benefits we can offer and benefits that people are interested in.”

Most recently, Glass Nickel worked to prioritize health over profits with their approach to COVID-19. Even though owners decided to close the dining room before the official mandate and had to let serving staff go or offer them back-of-house options, most crew, regardless of which position they worked, were appreciative of the extra steps and precautions taken early on. Glass Nickel immediately began doing preshift temperature checks and offering contact-free delivery and pickup, maintaining the lobby and dining room closures even after partial reopening was allowed. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Glass Nickel pizzeria that doesn’t display

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the same level of awareness and regard toward its employees and customers because “they’re all owned by previous employees,” says Megan. “That makes us feel good too. That somebody at some point has worked either with us or with another Glass Nickel, and that they have wanted to open their own.” Each owner is by extension part of the undertaking Tim and Brian started 23 years ago. “Tim and Brian met each other working at another pizza place in Madison and became friends. Tim had always worked at pizza places around the country. Brian had owned a pizza place before and had just come back to Madison. They were talking about what type of pizza was in Madison

at the time, and they said, ‘I know we can do it. I know we can do it better.’” After overcoming the hurdle of finding a lease, many thought Madison didn’t need another pizza place, Glass Nickel started writing its lengthy chapter in Madison’s pizzeria story. Over the years, trends and accommodations have been embraced and built upon. Every off-the-wall and traditional flavor that comes out of any Glass Nickel pizzeria is a joint decision that doesn’t leave room for sacrifices in quality. It took years before the crew and owners were happy with their gluten-free crust. And if any dough isn’t coming out right, Brian’s on the case. “I always laugh and call Brian the dough whisperer. ... He can walk in and see dough, and he just knows what needs to be tweaked or adjusted.” Making great pizza, building relationships with customers, it’s all part of the business, but there’s so much more. Megan says, “We really appreciate the community support, especially now.” The support positions Glass Nickel to continue the reciprocal relationship they’ve made their company’s keystone. Under the 4 Cs, ordering pizza might just be the ultimate love letter to the Greater Madison area, even if it is a little cheesy. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie.

831.5098 zdainc.com Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

Kyle Jacobson

landscape architects garden designers site planners





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essential service

FITCHBURG Family Pharmacy GOING THE EXTRA MILE BY KRYSTLE ENGH NAAB Uncertainty related to COVID-19 and its effects on our health and everyday life lead us to seek small comforts and expertise. On the health front, the collaboration of the physician and pharmacist helps to ensure patient medications are taken as needed and prescribed while also reducing potential harmful side effects. Community pharmacies do the preparation and dispensing of the medications, and their pharmacists provide frontline medical advice. Thad Schumacher, pharmacist and owner of Fitchburg Family Pharmacy, says his biggest influence to go into healthcare was the pharmacist in his hometown. There, the pharmacist seemed to know everyone and have the answers to every problem. Thad wanted the same for his pharmacy. “My wife is a professor at UW–Madison in the School of Pharmacy. We met in pharmacy school, and when she changed careers, I was the trailing 22 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

spouse.” In 2008, they moved to the Madison area, where Thad felt there was a disparity in pharmacy care. “Right away I could tell by driving around that in some areas there wasn’t an equal share of [pharmaceutical] services.” When an independent pharmacy closed in Fitchburg, Thad found his opportunity to open a store in 2013. “I knew from a business model that if I was going to survive, I’d need to expand my services to Greater Madison. The local area was not going to be enough to survive, which started my idea of offering free delivery. People could access [our] pharmacy services wherever they lived, and it seems to have worked and paid off.” In the beginning, bicycle deliveries were Thad’s way of reaching customers and decompressing. “I don’t do it as much anymore because we do 30 delivery stops a day, but from time to time I do it,” says Thad. “It’s not uncommon that someone will need something over the

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weekend, and I’ll tell my fellow cyclists we’re going to do a delivery ride Saturday morning instead of riding south into the country. We’ll ride across town, drop off the delivery, and be on our way.” A bonus to delivery is that drivers are able to check on their customers’ other needs as well. They may go into a home and, while there, check for fall risks, make sure there’s enough food, and look for any other potential concerns. This not only makes the service convenient, but invaluable for customers and their families.

Community awareness is a driving force in Thad’s work and life, and he loves to be part of a good cause. He’s serving on the board of directors for Boys & Girls Club. “We need to invest in underprivileged youth so they have something to do after school.” Thad has also participated in Boys & Girls Club’s annual bike ride fundraiser.

Fitchburg Family Pharmacy provides medboxes to over a hundred patients on a weekly, biweekly, and monthly basis. “We charge a $30 service fee, which some insurances pay,” says Thad. “We like [the medboxes] for multiple reasons. People can have confusing medication schedules with multiple prescriptions. Some may not be able to set them up for cognitive or physical reasons, so their adult children are coming in to help on a weekly or monthly basis. ... We eliminate this step because we do all the work. I think that’s where our medboxes have the largest impact.” Implementing more accessible primary care is a long-term goal. “We already do some telehealth for psychiatric patients, and I would like to expand more to be like an urgent-care setting,” says Thad. “Our goal is to find a medical professional willing to have onsite hours once a week and be available by phone for another two to three days.” madisonessentials.com

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Community awareness IS A


“We’ve been able to generate quite a bit of money over the last five years, helping to raise over $30,000,” says Thad. “Each year, my teammates and I up the ante; if we collectively raise a certain dollar amount, we bike extra miles. I think the highest we raised was $12,000, which led us to bike 150 miles—the 50-mile route loop three times. We started at



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midnight with two laps and did the final lap in the morning with everybody else.” This year there will be a virtual bike ride. Part of the money will help expand their help to first responders. “In the initial phase of the health crisis, workers couldn’t go home,” says Thad. “Boys & Girls Club partnered with local restaurants to provide meals.” The rest of the bike-ride money will help build an infrastructure for online learning. For safety reasons during COVID-19, kids cannot go to the club in person, but online programming allows them to participate from home. “This option is vital for operating during the pandemic,” says Thad. “But even once we get through this, online learning will be a great way to reach out to kids further away from the club.” Thad also served an eight-year term on the pharmacy examining board that oversees licensed pharmacists and pharmacies. The board brought a lot of new innovations to practice and helped rewrite some rules that had not been updated since early ’80s. “I took pride being a representative of independent pharmacy on the board. “I like that about being a local pharmacy. I know we’re impacting the community, and our taxes from sales stay in the area.” Every day is different for Thad, with patients seeking help to

Krystle Engh Naab is a freelance writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials. Photographs by Eric Tadsen.

Krystle Engh Naab

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

solve different problems. “I tell the staff that we’re not the first place they come, but if we do this the right way, we’ll be the last.”




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essential nonprofit


Centennial Celebration

Helping People Help Animals by Jeanne Engle

“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall they be saved.” —Dr. Jane Goodall From the beginning, community members have rallied to help Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) save animals. Whether it was giving to Mrs. Ida Kittelson, their first president; contributing directly; or participating in a campaign, the community has been there when DCHS needed them. In 1922, the Madison Community Union (later Madison Community Chest) was incorporated with 14 agencies, including DCHS, to band together for donation collections from community members. The goal was to reduce the number of financial drives and campaigns in Madison. One solicitation a year would provide a time

savings for all agencies. In fact, their slogan was “Give Once for All.” In 1950, Community Chest turned over fundraising responsibilities to United Givers, a newly formed single fundraising group. Then in 1951, prior to the start of the fall giving campaign, DCHS was dropped. DCHS Membership Chair Evelyn Baas wrote in The Capital Times, “Its ‘governing body’ [Community Chest’s] says we are no longer entitled to share in any of its funds, which, by the way, are publicly donated. Therefore, we must depend on new memberships, renewals of our old ones, and contributions. ... The public at large perhaps does not

know that our work is not entirely confined to animals, but when so-called welfare agencies whose budgets have always been larger than ours fail to carry out their obligations, DCHS can be relied upon to at least not pass the buck, but make a concentrated effort to help and has yet to fail.” Evelyn’s husband, Alexius Baas, DCHS director of education and a columnist for The Capital Times, also blasted Community Chest/United Givers on several occasions for its action. The present-day United Way of Dane County became the organization’s new name in 1971, and DCHS is today a donor-designated agency. DCHS receives money only when donors designate their United Way contributions to go to them. DCHS’s budget is now nearly $5 million, with individual and corporate donations representing the greatest share at 35 percent, followed by program services and fees at 21 percent, bequests at 14 percent, municipal contracts at 6 percent, investments and miscellaneous income at 6 percent, grants at 5 percent, events at 3 percent, and thrift store and merchandise sales at 3 percent.

26 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

donate approximately 10,000 pounds of dry dog and cat food and 17,000 pounds of cat litter each year, a $40,000 in-kind contribution, and more than 5,000 animals have found their new homes through Mounds’ satellite adoption centers. Additionally, Mounds holds fundraisers and sponsors DCHS events.

Children have also held a place as DCHS donors. There are many stories, including that of elementary school art class students putting together quilts to keep dogs and cats warm, kids and teens (and adults) participating in a Piano Playathon at Hilldale Shopping Center, and a young woman soliciting pet food donations as a bat mitzvah project. “Scout troops, 4-H clubs, community programs, and classrooms run donation drives and fundraisers for us now,” says Amy Good, DCHS director of development and marketing. “A great example is the New Century School (Verona) k/grade 1 partnership that was started in 2019. The kids do monthly donation drives for such items as timothy hay, squeeze cheese, training treats, kitten and puppy food, and fleece blankets as well as cash. Forty-five students toured the shelter a year ago to see where their donations went.

Several local organizations provide invaluable support, including the Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of The Capital Times; University of Wisconsin–School of Veterinary Medicine and UW Veterinary Care; the law firm of Laffey, Leitner & Goode; Alliant Energy; Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing Cooperative; Glass Nickel Pizza Company (University Avenue location); Cat Care Clinic; ProClip USA (a neighbor of DCHS); West Towne Veterinary Center; and Madison Veterinary Specialists. As with most nonprofit organizations, DCHS relies heavily on volunteers and has done so since its inception, when volunteers kept animals in their homes before an organized shelter was part

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“In addition, children help raise money with lemonade stands, giving their allowance, and asking for donations to DCHS instead of presents for their birthdays or other holidays.” DCHS also receives community support from those who donate to and purchase merchandise from its Thrift Store. After launching in January 2019, the store opened a new location at 6904 Watts Road in June 2020. Local businesses do their part too. Mounds Pet Food Warehouse has been a fantastic partner for 25 years. They madisonessentials.com

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of the picture. Today, more than 900 volunteers help at DCHS, making a commitment for at least six months for a minimum of a two-hour shift per week. DCHS staff is tremendously appreciative of their volunteers and very aware of the importance of their contributions. Long-time volunteer Abbie Loomis has been with DCHS for 17 years. “I’m so proud to be part of DCHS. My role is to help dogs with behavior modification, especially those that need help settling down or are very shy. DCHS has a great training program for volunteers so they can identify behavior issues in the dogs. Many dogs come to the shelter that have had tough times. They may be fearful. They may be rowdy because that’s how they express their anxiety. It takes time for a dog to develop trust in people again. The biggest joy for me is when that light bulb goes on in the dog’s head that it can trust people because of how it’s been treated here at the shelter. I know it will be a good dog now that it has settled in.”


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Abbie encourages others to volunteer. “It’s fun getting to spend time with the dogs or cats or rabbits—whatever your passion animal is. You also get to work with volunteers and staff to figure out what an animal might need. And you learn about yourself—how to feel compassion, empathy, sadness.” Abbie adopted an American Eskimo Dog from DCHS 12 years ago. “He had been found in a parking lot at night and was a fearful dog. I’ve learned about helping shelter dogs from handling my own dog.” Eight-year volunteer Sheila Hart is a counselor at the Adoption Center. “I absolutely love the role—helping adopters find the perfect pet to complement their family. It’s not unusual to have adopters come in to meet one specific dog and go home with a completely different one. The counseling part is important in helping families determine the right energy level, temperament, size, and age of a new pet they are bringing into their home.” Sheila and her husband foster a variety of animals from DCHS. “It’s been a great opportunity to learn about chinchillas,

they pursue animal seizures due to suspected abuse and neglect. As a private, nonprofit organization, DCHS has no legal authority to investigate animal abuse nor seize animals, serving only as a holding facility. Decisions on animal seizure or to keep a seized animal at DCHS are made by law enforcement, statutorily authorized humane officers, and representatives of Dane County Animal Control in conjunction with local prosecutors and the courts.

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Sheila adopted a 13-year-old Italian greyhound nine years ago and, six years later, a pit bull mix that has since become a certified therapy dog. “We also have several DCHS zebra finches that are noisy, messy, and beloved,” says Sheila. A favorite volunteer activity is Community Dog Days, an event that supports people in caring for the pets they love. Volunteers and staff go to a Madison area where access to vet services is limited. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their pets for vaccinations, microchipping, checkups with a vet, and even to receive pet food and supplies. Wendy Bell, DCHS humane educator, visits area nursing homes, schools, and other places with volunteers to give presentations for a nominal fee. They bring along animal visitors, including DCHS classroom animals or animals that have been adopted and approved to go on visits.

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from the time they arrive at the shelter to when they’re healthy and ready for their new family.”



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In addition to community contributions, DCHS serves as Dane County’s stray holding facility. Each year, more than 700 companion animals are reunited with their families. As a contractor, DCHS assists Dane County and City of Madison authorities when

Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer. Photographs provided by the Dane County Humane Society.

Jeanne Engle

Photograph by MOD Media Productions

rats, guinea pigs, and other critters that I can put to use as an adoption counselor. Most animals go into foster care for health or behavior issues. It’s rewarding being part of the process that ensures an animal receives the care it needs,” says Sheila. “And I can’t say enough about the DCHS Animal Medical Services team. They make such a difference in the animals’ quality of life

The story of DCHS’ success is one of community—individuals and organizations donating their time, money, and expertise. Greater Madison has shown its heart is large, and that it doesn’t want to imagine a future without the care and resources of DCHS.

Review past issues of

Madison Essentials to learn more about DCHS, including “The Introduction” in the March/April issue, “The Beginning” in the May/ June issue, “The Shelter” in the July/ August issue, and “Give Shelter” in the September/October issue. Watch for the January/February 2021 issue, which will focus on how DCHS has innovated over the years and its plans for the future. Volunteer at DCHS giveshelter.org/how-to-help/volunteer DCHS Thrift Store giveshelter.org/our-services/thrift-store madisonessentials.com

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essential arts

charlie olson BY KYLE JACOBSON

Working off unsettled beats and experimental muses, Charlie Olson takes to pottery like jazz. The product might look straightforward, every curve and coloration seeming the result of a clear plan, but there was a 54year learning curve to manufacturing that cohesion. As jarring notes ring fittingly dissonant, Charlie’s pieces sometimes capture an allure with regard to intention—his practiced hand turning what might’ve been a blemish into a feature. His deftness can be credited in no small part to knowing his art in a way few potters do. Charlie understands his glazes and clays at a chemical level because he formulates his own. “You make up a formula,” says Charlie, showing me his notebooks. “If you have any chemistry background, you can see there’s a listing of all the various elements that comprise this glaze. These are represented by raw materials, some of which contain a number of these oxides. ... Most every glaze mineral is in an oxide form.” 30 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

Charlie’s dive into becoming a glazeaholic started when he was in undergrad at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “Most potters don’t work with 26 glazes; that’s kind of insanity for most people.” His high school art teacher had already sparked his interested in ceramics, but “it was at Mankato that I had such an awesome teacher. He was a black man, which was really rare back then. We’re talking 1969, and I’m in a southern Minnesota rural area.” That man was the late William E. Artis. He’d been featured as a sculptor in the 1930s film A Study of Negro Artists, a silent film meant to highlight black artists associated with the Harlem Renaissance. “He really inspired me as to the chemistry of glazes and the technical aspect of ceramics. I don’t think that many people realize you can pursue this interest in many different ways. On one end of the spectrum, you can buy your clay commercially; you can buy your glazes commercially. In fact, you can get your work fired by an outside source.

GLAZING POETIC The way I learned is totally on the other end of the spectrum. “So my true inspiration was in undergrad. Then I went to grad school in Boulder, Colorado, and that’s when I shifted away from pots and started doing more abstract sculptural forms.” Not to

say he wasn’t doing any pots, but his abstract pieces carried his professional career through exhibitions and gallery representation coast to coast. Charlie eventually settled in as a professor at University of Wisconsin–Whitewater for 35 years, until 2012. As with most every artist I’ve met, retirement doesn’t equate to an end to artistic pursuits. “It’s kind of funny because I’m ending my career as I started it. I’m just concentrating on porcelain pots now and a different kind of firing called oxidation firing, which required me to do an entirely new range of glaze testing. Over the course of a year or two, I did nothing but glaze research.” Charlie showed me a box with 40 of his tests, each on a vertical, wavy ceramic tile meant to mimic different surface aspects of his pots. Matte, glossy, crackle, and oil-spot glazes all with distinct colors and characteristics. “I have about 35 of these boxes, that’s about 1,400 different individual tests to choose from. Now, I have about 26 different glazes that I


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C H A R L I E U N D E R S TA N D S H I S G L A Z E S A N D C L A Y S AT A C H E M I C A L L E V E L B E C A U S E H E F O R M U L AT E S H I S O W N . have isolated from that testing to use on my pots. That doesn’t mean that one pot is just dipped in one glaze, so one glaze over the other creates another set

of variations. ... That interaction, one glaze to the other, creates yet a new glaze because those chemicals react to each other.”

We then head over to the kiln to crack open a recent load. “Sometimes you lose a bunch of them,” he says, but that wasn’t the case this time. Under the lid are over a dozen forms, half utilitarian, half purely aesthetic. They make up a varied bouquet of tone and texture ranging visually from light robin-egg to hardened oil-spotted onyx. He pulls out a bulbous bell-shaped form, dark green with a navy stripe running diagonally, and holds it in awe. Hanging from its belly is a glaze teardrop. “This one almost lost it. Look at that little drip there. That’s really special. I’m not going to throw this pot away because there’s no way you can predict repeating that.” It goes back to his jazz-style planning. Charlie can’t predict everything, but he can navigate his process and its outcomes because he’s been there often. When he engages with his pieces, he’s looking for a natural unity between the simplicity of form and surface. Taking that love of the uncertain, a pursuit of perpetual questions, and an array of glazes leads us to Charlie’s latest endeavor—glaze-painted porcelain panels. He unsheathed several from bubble-wrap envelopes and arranged them in the only open area on his workspace. “These are wall pieces, and these are brand new. I started experimenting with these about a year ago, and nobody has seen these yet.” They all harken to Charlie’s interest of how things interact chemically in the kiln. One piece, what appears to be some sort of snake or worm turned to

32 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

ash, is the result of laying a copper wire over the glazed panel prior to the firing.

To see Charlie’s work in person and support a local art gallery, visit Abel Contemporary Gallery in downtown Stoughton, Wisconsin. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie. Photographs provided by Charlie Olson.

Kyle Jacobson

Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Life has provided Charlie a creative tandem to pursue, and he’s always taken to it with genuine curiosity. His relationship with ceramics at the chemical level has provided access to connections not everyone can tap into—connections he’s learned to react to so he can find the next link in the chain of insights. “Everything inspires you one way or another. It’s just how you process and apply this information to your work that ends up becoming the creative bottom line.” He’s not finding answers; he’s gaining perspective.



KEEPING YOU CONNECTED madisonessentials.com

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e ssential landmark

Gates of Heaven Synagogue by Jeanne Engle

As we approach the holiday giving season, homage should be paid to those whose generosity 50 years ago was instrumental in saving the Gates of Heaven Synagogue, which is now located at 302 E. Gorham Street in the James Madison Park near downtown Madison. The synagogue, Madison’s oldest and most likely the nation’s second oldest, was constructed in 1863 by Madison’s Jewish community as a place of worship. Gates of Heaven was listed in 1970 on the National Register of Historic Places, and the following year it was designated a Madison landmark. Samuel Klauber emigrated from Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic) and moved to Lake Mills in 1848, where he earned a living as an itinerant peddler. He carried a pack on his back from which he sold buttons, needles, trimmings, and other items to farm wives in the area. In 1851, upon being the first Jew to move to Madison, Klauber opened a clothing store that he operated until 1879. Klauber was among 17 Jewish families that formed the congregation of Ahavath Achim (Brother Love) in 1856. The name was later changed to Shaare Shomayim (Gates of Heaven). Initially, services were conducted in Klauber’s 34 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

home, but in 1862, the congregation purchased a lot on West Washington Avenue. Prominent Madison architect August Kutzbock, who also designed Wisconsin’s second capitol, was hired to design the synagogue. The builders were German immigrants. According to the National Register nomination, the style of the synagogue reflects “a degree of Victorian eclecticism, with German and Gothic influences in a style identified by [late] New York Times architectural writer Ada Louise Huxtable as ‘Rundbogenstil,’” German for round-arched style. Rundbogenstil is represented in all the windows of the synagogue. The Gates of Heaven exterior features an ornate upper wall above the roof similar to what would be found on a medieval castle. A triangular façade capped with stone rises above the gable of the front vestibule. In the center of the triangle, a large, circular, stoneframed opening once contained a decorative wheel window. The façade of the vestibule also rises as a triangle capped with stone. Sandstone and white brick were used in the synagogue’s construction. The sandstone was quarried from behind the 3400 block of today’s University

Avenue and was hauled during the winter over the ice and snow on sleds. The joists were huge oak beams that still hold strong to this day. The cost of the building was $4,000. The dedication of the Gates of Heaven synagogue took place on September 4, 1863, with many dignitaries in attendance. Klauber opened the doors for a two-by-two procession of the congregation’s members into the building. A Milwaukee rabbi gave the sermon and spoke on his hope for the growth of a liberal Jewish faith in free America. A dinner for 75 concluded the day’s activities. In 1865, the Wisconsin Legislature met in the synagogue for a public memorial to mourn the death of Abraham Lincoln. The congregation had difficulty finding a rabbi, and its numbers dwindled over the years. Finally, in 1879, those that remained gave up and rented the building to the Unitarian Society. Subsequent tenants in the synagogue included a school, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the First Church of Christ Scientist, and the English Lutheran Church. In 1916, the building was sold for $7,000 to Arthur and George Gill, who conducted their undertaking business there until 1930.

Later, the Gates of Heaven synagogue became a tea room, another funeral home, a depository for books and papers by the U.S. government during World War II, another house of worship, a dental office, and a veterinarian’s office. The last private use was as the headquarters of then-Congressman Robert Kastenmeier. The Fiore Coal & Oil Company purchased the property in the 1960s and sold it in 1970 for commercial development—the synagogue was slated for demolition. Dr. Norton Stoler completed his swim at the YMCA and was walking out with the late Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky, a Holocaust survivor and founder of Temple Beth El in Madison. The rabbi mentioned that it was too bad the synagogue was going to be torn down. Dr. Stoler conferred with his wife, Lois, and, because both were interested in historic preservation, they decided they would save the synagogue. They organized as the Gates of Heaven Preservation Fund in 1970 and began their fundraising campaign. Their goal was to move the more-than100-year-old synagogue across the isthmus to James Madison Park, where it would become the property of Madison Parks, and to have it restored to its original appearance. The estimated cost was nearly $60,000. Funding for a study to determine if moving the synagogue was feasible was provided in part by the Taychopera Foundation. The nonprofit was organized to encourage and assist in the preservation of structures of architectural and historical significance in Madison and the surrounding area. Fortunately, the Fiore Company delayed demolition so the funds could be raised to move the synagogue.

New York Times writer Huxtable, who wrote a piece about the synagogue. As a result of her story, donations came in from across the country.” Local businesses and labor unions pitched in, offering in-kind services as well as a percentage of proceeds from sales. In addition, a matching historic preservation grant was secured from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development for $30,000 in May 1971. Moving day arrived on July 17, 1971. The mover was the Belding Moving Company of East Chicago, IL. The 200-ton stone building was wrapped with cables and gently lowered onto a trailer with 96 aircraft wheels that was pulled by a truck. A World War II tanker strapped to the trailer followed behind, acting as brakes. Dr. Stoler had placed a bottle of champagne inside the building, hoping it would make it to the new location about a mile across Madison’s isthmus. The move took all day, needing the cooperation of Madison Gas & Electric to make sure no overhead electric lines were disturbed. Crew members popped the intact bottle of champagne that night as they celebrated the success of the move. “I almost couldn’t believe the move went as well as it did,” says Lois. “I wasn’t 100 percent sure the building, that was a bit wobbly, would hold together.”

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Saving the Gates of Heaven from demolition was Madison’s first successful historic preservation effort. Madisonions can be thankful for people like the late Dr. Stoler and Lois, who paved the way for the preservation of other 19th and 20th century buildings. Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer.

Jeanne Engle

Photograph by MOD Media Productions

Photographs by Madison Parks. The Stolers conducted bake sales, rummage sales, art sales, wine and cheese tastings, and open houses in historic homes. They prepared a brochure about the synagogue and its significance and sent out mailings. College-aged volunteers solicited doorto-door donations. Thinking about how to spread the word about the Preservation Fund’s efforts, Lois says, “I contacted


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essential community

Vincent Jerina The Business of Making Community by Kyle Jacobson

“If by God’s grace someone shows me how to open up a nonprofit, I will go toward that.” Jerina Vincent, owner of JNJ Craftworks in Verona, said the above in the middle of our interview. With everything that will be covered in this article, her drive to start a nonprofit is at the core of who she is; nearly everything earned from her work after paying for food, home, and family goes to help some facet of her community. And nearly every minute spared outside of work and family is spent helping schools, churches, and people. Society often stresses that you live within your means, but Jerina is more focused on what her means should look like, not what they could look like. It’s something her father instilled in her. “He even tells me today, ‘You don’t take much. You are running a business. You charge what you want to give to the person who makes the goods, and then a little bit for you. Not much.’” Success to her is sustaining a lifestyle focused on being content with what she has. There’s another adage that floats around in the business world: get busy growing or get busy dying (inspired by The Shawshank Redemption). Oftentimes, this is interpreted as financial or physical growth, but growth in community can be more far reaching, more rewarding, and easier to attain. The first step is deciding 36 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

what branch of the community you want to reach out to. Most of the artwork Jerina has for sale on consignment in her store is crafted by local senior citizens. They’re the reason she chooses to stay open amidst the pandemic. “I don’t have a lease here,” she says. “I can close my business during COVID-19 easily and go. But the reason I’m still here: I don’t want anyone to come and take back their products. Where would they go? ... There’s too many people involved in this.” Growing up in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where small, multigenerational housing is the norm, Jerina’s idea of the what role senior citizens play in society is a lot more integrated than I’m guessing many of us are used to. She says, “In India, we don’t have a senior center where they can go and do something. ... So we take care of elders when they get old. That’s the way it goes. But [in the United States], it’s different. Living alone is the life.” This isn’t to say one lifestyle is better than the other, but these differences present their own challenges. By incorporating pieces of seniorcreated craft and artwork throughout her displays at JNJ Craftworks, Jerina

is promoting individual worth to those who might be living an otherwise lonely life. The decision to feature these artists is based on several bodies of research strongly suggesting that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease experience less cognitive erosion when they have a high sense of purpose. This is also why Jerina keeps a coffee machine around for her customers. “Most of my customers are senior citizens. I talk to them, and they talk to me. They talk to me freely. They cry sometimes and say, ‘Oh, we didn’t talk. They didn’t call.’ That kind of thing. They feel alone.” Listening isn’t the only way Jerina helps her customers. “I always try to do more. Even if a customer comes in and asks me, ‘Can you suggest something for me because this is my budget, and I don’t have any more money.’ If they like a bigger thing, I’ll even give it to them. It’s okay because it’s nothing.” When someone enters her store feeling troubled or anxious, unless they leave feeling better about themselves, Jerina will question if she could’ve done more. “It’s in my blood.” Jerina’s parents were often involved in nonprofit work. This isn’t quite the same as nonprofit work in the United States—more like proactive

volunteerism. “My dad built a few of the south Indian churches, hospitals, and schools run by priests and sisters.” Her mom led the church choir and did a lot of cooking and jewelry design while running a plant nursery. In terms of who Jerina grew into, her parents have greatly inspired the shape of the mold. Though her dad worked as a civil engineer, he didn’t make much income, as most of his work was for nonprofit organizations. Jerina and the rest of her family lived a very humble life. There was, however, one large expenditure Jerina will never forget. “When I signed up for college, my dad told me this is the only thing I can give you.” He paid for all of his daughters’ educations by selling his house.

Pantry or to someone you nominate to brighten someone’s holiday.” Jerina’s dreams seem to rarely take the shape of waiting until the time is right several years down the road to invest in her neighbors and community. It’s about what she can do right now, and

she believes she can do so much more for so many people if she gains the tools and knowledge needed to start a nonprofit in Wisconsin. Perhaps she could do more if she grew her business, but that’s not where her passion truly lies. “If anybody asks me, ‘Do you want a bigger store?’ No, I want to give back.” You can learn more about JNJ Craftworks and the Giving Jar at shopjnj.myshopify.com. Kyle Jacobson is a writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials. Photographs provided by Jerina Vincent.

Kyle Jacobson


Photograph by Barbara Wilson

Every year, Jerina finds some way to embody the compassionate nature of her parents and share in her good fortune, usually giving 10 percent of her annual sales to schools. Now, with COVID-19 hurting so many people, Jerina put together a concentrated local effort she calls the Giving Jar. “Most people are without jobs now. I don’t know what will happen during Christmastime for them or Thanksgiving, which is a big thing especially for elderly people and the kids. I cannot invite everybody to do something, but I can give a little bit from my sales.” As it says on her website, “Before Christmas, we will donate the collected funds to Badger Prairie Food

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e ssential community

by Sandy Eichel

Connection During COVID-19 I’m a big-time hugger. Always have been. I miss hugs. I mean, something fierce! And now, with having so much more stress in my life, I crave them even more, which makes not getting them even more depressing. In this COVID-19 world, we’re all low on oxytocin, the love hormone. Oxytocin relaxes us and gives an overall feeling of well-being. It can lower feelings of depression and boost our immune system. It’s the hormone that’s released when you’re falling in love, when you’re bonding with your baby, and when you’re hugging and connecting with people. It’s important for good mental health. No wonder we’re all so darn cranky these days! I’m an extrovert, so I started to have a hard time as soon as the quarantining began. I’m accustomed to seeing people daily; it’s where I get my energy. Connection is how we feel belonging, and humans are hardwired to want to belong and crave connection, even if they’re introverts. It’s not that we need to constantly see people or hug all the time; it’s simply a sense of feeling connected to others in some way. And feelings of isolation can affect you negatively both mentally and physically, and lower your immune system or have other negative health impacts. 38 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

How do we have authentic connection in this current normal and also in the virtual world? Other than throwing caution to the wind and hugging all of our friends and family we’re supposed to be socially distancing from, there are things we can do to release more oxytocin in our brains so we can feel happier. Any connection is better than no connection, and it doesn’t have to be difficult to do. Petting your dog or cat can release oxytocin. As cheesy as it may sound, letting people in your life know how much they mean to you, telling people you love them, releases more of the happy hormone. Doing acts of service for others releases more oxytocin and doesn’t have to involve the risk of physical closeness. That may mean doing what I call “random acts of baking” and leaving your friends treats on their doorstep. I have done this a few times since March, and it brings me, as well as my friends who receive my baked goods, so much joy. Acts of service can also mean donating things or money to organizations, or making calls for them. It can mean sending letters or cards by good ole snail mail. If you’re working on a new craft project and are in need of supplies, post about it on social media to see if others

are willing to share what they have, and then you can reciprocate. A month or so into the quarantine, when I was really struggling with depression, I decided to make masks for healthcare workers to feel like I was doing something to help. I didn’t have enough fabric, so I posted an ask on social media. Friends dropped off piles of fabrics for me. A little while after that, a friend posted that he was out of yeast and couldn’t find any anywhere. I had a stock pile and was able to share the wealth with him. These things helped me to feel connected to the community I so desperately missed. I’ve heard others are doing virtual crafting or gaming sessions. I was asked to join a book club a few months ago to read books on racial equality and social justice. The discussions we’ve had have been very engaging, and when each call ends, I feel more connected. I know many of us are all Zoomed out from work, but having Zoom sessions or phone calls with people can be amazingly impactful. I have a few friends that I’ve gotten even closer to during this time, and the relationships mean the world to me. I’ve also set up a few virtual dinners with friends, where we each make different food, arrange a

porch pick-up/drop-off exchange, and then video call while eating the collective food. Is it as fun as in person? No, but it helped us to feel more connected to friends we desperately missed. Exercise boosts our mood and releases endorphins in the brain, but not all exercise is equal. Yoga not only releases endorphins, it also produces our magic hormone, oxytocin. Meditation, especially loving kindness meditation where you send good will to others, produces oxytocin. Listening to music certainly elevates our mood, but singing or playing an instrument can help release even more oxytocin and help ward off depression. Even if you aren’t a good singer, crank up your favorite tunes and SING YOUR HEART OUT! Connecting with nature boosts oxytocin levels, so take a hike in the woods, listen to the birds sing, or spend time looking at plants you find beautiful. You can even use your walk to visit a friend from a very safe distance to say hello. Whatever you choose to boost your oxytocin level, just do something to make yourself feel better. If you can’t do anything because you’re too gripped with depression, reach out to someone close to you or a healthcare professional to talk about it. These are hard times, indeed, but feeling joy and connection is an important part of getting through it, which is what we all need to do. Sandy Eichel is a happy ex-should-er.

Sandy Eichel

Check out our video podcast series with Sandy, Living in Uncertain Times, at madisonessentials.com. madisonessentials.com

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e ssential community

Volunteer Time Off

I S A VA LUA B L E N E W B E N E F I T I N WO R K P L AC ES by Jessica Steinhoff

In a recent conversation with Madison Essentials’ publisher, the topic of volunteer time off (VTO) came up. I explained that UW Credit Union has a successful VTO program in place, and was asked if I would be willing to write about it. The Giving & Sharing issue is the perfect place for this story. Volunteerism is woven into Wisconsin’s cultural fabric. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Madison has one of the country’s highest volunteerism rates. More than 40 percent of residents donate their time to a charity, nonprofit, or civic organization, while the national average is about 25 percent. What compels so many locals to lend a hand to a worthy cause? Individual generosity certainly plays a role, but it’s only part of the story. A key supporting actor is VTO, whose popularity is rising among Dane County employers. VTO programs give employees a paid break from their usual duties when they participate in company-approved volunteer projects, typically during work hours. The programs have been shown to bolster employee health, performance, and morale while providing community organizations with a reliable source of pro bono assistance. Plus, they’re a way to put a company’s values into practice. Millennial especially

job seekers attractive.

find VTO According

40 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

to a recent Fortune report, this demographic favors companies that demonstrate a sustained commitment to community service. Pam Peterson, UW Credit Union’s chief human resources officer, has seen this preference play out in the hiring process. “Job candidates often tell us they’re looking for an organization that supports and aligns with their personal values. For many candidates, especially those who are millennials, volunteerism is one of these values.” Corporate citizenship is gaining importance among professionals of all ages. “Corporate social responsibility is increasingly becoming a factor as to why job seekers pursue one organization over another,” says Pam. “This is one reason our VTO benefit helps us to recruit and retain great employees.”

A SHARED SENSE OF PURPOSE VTO stems in large part from Silicon Valley, where Salesforce and other tech companies have sung its praises for years. UW Credit Union has helped lead the trend locally, along with employers Exact Sciences, Sonic Foundry, and others. Launched in 2018, UW Credit Union’s VTO program gives full-time employees 16 hours of paid volunteer time each year. They can spend this time at a wide range of nonprofits and community

agencies either individually or as part of a group. Pam says VTO provides team-building opportunities and helps employees with similar interests get to know one another better. All of this contributes to tighter bonds and a shared sense of purpose. “Through VTO projects, employees develop and deepen relationships at work. This contributes to a high level of engagement at their jobs and encourages them to stay with our organization.”

BUILDING BRIDGES, ERODING BARRIERS Many UW Credit Union employees find volunteer opportunities through the United Way of Dane County, where President and CEO Paul Kundert is chairing the organization’s 2020 Giving Campaign. Other employees initiate their own volunteer projects. Over the past two years, employees have stocked food pantry shelves, cleaned up the Ice Age Trail, and much more. Volunteering with kids is one of the most popular choices. TJ Ebert, a branch manager, has volunteered with SecureFutures, an organization that helps teens develop financial literacy through classes and one-on-one coaching. “High school is a critical time to develop healthy habits with saving and spending. It’s exciting to watch students create their first budget and see how successful they are at adding money to a savings account to reach a

accommodating. If your employer doesn’t yet have a VTO program in place, now is a great time to suggest starting one. Jessica Steinhoff is a writer for UW Credit Union, an award-winning Wisconsin employer and not-for-profit financial institution. For details about job openings, visit uwcu.org/careers. Photographs provided by UW Credit Union.

goal. Getting to know their mindset also helps me serve students who come into my branch.” UW Credit Union’s software and user-experience engineers have lent their expertise to Maydm, a nonprofit where girls and children of color build science, technology, engineering, and math skills. In addition to helping kids program robots, the team shares their enthusiasm for innovation and learning. “It was fun to high-five students when they got their robots to work, and it was inspiring to see their drive to succeed,” says Angie Grogan, a manager who took part in the project. “Women and people of color are underrepresented in the tech community, so I felt honored to help a great organization that’s working to change that.” Brandon Labeots, a senior financial specialist, volunteered with a child in an entirely different way. He and his daughter made greeting cards for residents of Meadow Ridge, a retirement home in Baraboo. Meadow Ridge has a special place in Labeots’ heart because it’s where his grandfather spent his final years. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, he saw an opportunity to provide some much-needed support. “During the first few weeks of the pandemic, when Meadow Ridge residents were unable to have visitors, my wife and daughter created some art to boost their spirits. I also wanted to provide something to my grandfather’s friends there, so my daughter and I wrote letters about my childhood memories of my grandfather. We sent them in envelopes illustrated with depictions of these memories.”

As Brandon shared his memories with his child, he found he was better able to grieve his grandfather. Also, he knew his family had done something meaningful. “VTO has real value. It has allowed me to give back to my community and create a deeper connection with it, and it has helped many of my coworkers do the same.” Between work and family, many of us wish we had more time to give back, but sometimes reality isn’t so

Jessica Steinhoff

UW Credit Union

3500 University Avenue Madison, WI 53705 (800) 533-6773 • uwcu.org

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essential food & beverage

Trendy Creamy Lactose

Won’t Go Home by Kyle Jacobson

But you can’t push lactose ‘round; lactose makes dough. I really want to hate what lactose is doing to beers. In some implementations, it’s like pouring honey over homemade pasta—an insult to the chef at the very least. But for the brewery, it’s brought in a bunch of non-beer drinkers, which is fantastic. And as far as the taste goes, after telling my inner purist to take a seat, it’s not too hard to see there are some brewers out there making it work with an adept showing of balance. Lactose, for starters, is simply milk sugar. It’s about a quarter of the sweetness of cane sugar and is, most importantly, nonfermentable. That means that all the sweetness from those sugars finds its way into the beer. Because lactose can be added at any point in the brewing process, with some ingenuity, brewers can turn one batch of their latest brew into two by splitting the beer into two vessels then adding lactose to only one during secondary fermentation.

lactose in most anything aside from Stouts is a recent trend, and the Milk Stout itself only goes back to 1907. Considered the first commercially available Milkshake IPA, Apocalypse Cow from 3 Floyds Brewing Company failed to garner much attention when it came out in 2008 (most likely because it was new rather than being a poor attempt), but now the style is everywhere. Last year, a lot of people thought the lactose craze had reached its peak. For better or worse, they were mistaken. As I’m writing this piece, I’m drinking Saugatuck Brewing Company’s Blueberry Maple Stout. Even though it’s the well-established Stout-withlactose style, to me, this beer had everything going against it. I love blueberry pancakes, why would I want the beer version of it? Is it sweet? Yes. As sweet as syrup? Just about. What the— Hold on one second, inner purist.

Opportunity, however, doesn’t equate to success. The reality is most of these lactose-focused pastry beers and milkshake takes are subpar. It makes sense when considering brewing with 42 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

The hint of dryness in the backbone derived from the beer’s malt bill is actually doing a lot of work here in terms of managing the sweetness.

I’m able to pull apart the beer on my tongue and more easily identify flavors, as opposed to being lost in too many sweets. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s stretching thin the idea of what is and isn’t a beer, yet there’s thought behind it. Something I can give a nod to and appreciate in both aim and execution. I won’t be hunting these down on a regular basis, but so what? Why does everything thrown at the wall of consumerism need to stick? To get all sides of the argument, just listen to discussions happening at any brewery taproom. “I feel like both parties are super vocal about it,” says Danny McMahon, head brewer at Hacienda Brewing Company. “There’s a lot of people who are like, ‘Absolutely

not. There’s no point. It shouldn’t be that sweet anyway.’ And then there’s breweries, who I have no issues with, who are like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it in everything.’” No matter how convincing an argument might be for or against lactose beers, the fact is the machine has no shutoff, and no one knows how much gas is in the tank. We’re all riding it out, but some are actually enjoying themselves. Though after cracking open another beer—cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, coffee, and lactose—I’m rethinking my optimism. This beer is a mess, like Mr. Creosote’s dinner from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life—the entire menu mixed up in a bucket. Flavors that work well in tandem crash through the palate with no desire for harmony. Matt Sampson, in charge of fermentation and branding and marketing for Hacienda, says, “A lot of breweries pair lactose with vanilla, which also tricks your mind into thinking the beer is sweet by itself. We feel it’s often way over the top—could be done extremely well, but we think lactose by itself adds enough sweetness and creaminess.” I’m more than inclined to agree. Another point Danny brings up is that overdoing lactose affects drinkability, the quality of being able to drink more than one of a beer without feeling full. “Without the vanilla, you can definitely have a couple and not feel like it’s sitting in you, weighing you down.” What I think we’re seeing on the bad side of lactose brewing is burdened further by people trying to get in on the getting because the getting’s good. So maybe they think about flavors that they like outside of beer that are sweet: candy, pastry, and mallow. Then they try to make the beer by throwing the same ingredients in there. In my opinion, it’s a novelty, and that’s just not what I look for as a beer drinker. Back on the other side of the fence, Maplewood Brewery & Distillery has a rice crispy treat beer called Krispie Cakes that straddles the line between satisfying and overbearing quite well. The approach feels more like the brewers madisonessentials.com

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“A lot of breweries pair lactose with vanilla, which also your into thinking the beer is by itself.” asked themselves what type of flavors lactose lends itself to. That same is demonstrated in Hacienda’s endeavors. “We use lactose to draw inspiration from those types of beverages that typically have sugar added, whether it’s a cocktail or morning beverage,” says Matt. “We do a lactose tea IPA series. We started it based on a Thai iced tea that has Thai black tea and lactose added with condensed milk.” Danny brings up that they were going to also feature beers designed around cocktails that have egg whites in them. “We were going to do a Gin Fizz IPA with lemon-lime and lactose.” COVID-19 put that one on hold for now, but it’s something to look out for in the future. Lifetime beer drinkers might feel the need to push back against these changes, and I get it. That was my instinct as well.


But perhaps even the most harmless blip on the radar of decorum would be better met with direction toward mindfulness and intention rather than flat out rejection. To the sinking stones—may we soon learn to swim. Kyle Jacobson is a copy editor for Madison Essentials, and a writer and beer enthusiast (sometimes all at once) living in Sun Prairie. Photographs by Kyle Jacobson.

Kyle Jacobson

Photograph by Barbara Wilson


Hacienda Brewing treats lactose like a grain, and you owe it to yourself to experience their canny lineup. Danny and Matt also recommend beers from: Eagle Park Brewing Maplewood Brewery & Distillery 1840 Brewing Company Vennture Brewing Untitled Art

THE MUSIC CONTINUES: MADISON OPERA’S DIGITAL FALL Learn more about upcoming online and in-person experiences at madisonopera.org/Fall2020 44 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s

together we make a difference

advertiser index association

Olbrich Botanical Gardens............................. 8

14 South Artists................................................. 19

Our Lives Magazine........................................ 23

Dane Buy Local............................................... 31

Simply Creative Productions......................... 39

Dane County Humane Society.................... 32

Stoughton Opera House................................ 16

Holiday Fantasy in Lights................................ 48

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CONTEST Win a $50

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home & landscaping

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dining, food & beverage


Bavaria Sausage Kitchen, Inc....................... 11

American Family Insurance DreamBank...... 2

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream..................... 37

Bergamot Massage & Bodywork.................... 9

Clasen’s European Bakery............................. 43

Five Star Senior Living..................................... 13

Firefly Coffee House & Artisan Cheese....... 31

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Fraboni’s Italian

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Specialties & Delicatessen......................... 29

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Gift Card! Question: “Which local Madison restaurant owner started out with a catering business from a trailer in Sun Prairie Woodman’s parking lot?”

The Nitty Gritty................................................. 28 The Old Feed Mill Restaurant........................ 20


Old Sugar Distillery.......................................... 11

Abel Contemporary Gallery....................31, 37

Otto’s Restaurant & Bar.................................. 21

Agora Fitchburg Center................................. 47

Paisan’s............................................................. 27

Anthology......................................................... 17

Paoli Schoolhouse American Bistro............... 5

Avid Gardener................................................. 17

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Community Pharmacy................................... 17

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Community Wellness Shop............................ 17

Sugar River Pizza Company........................... 15

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Tempest Oyster Bar......................................... 35

Fontana Sports................................................. 23

Tornado Steak House..................................... 35

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier.......................... 17

Vintage Brewing Co. ........................................ 5

Goodman’s Jewelers........................................ 7

Willy Street Co-op........................................... 24

JNJ Craftworks................................................. 25 John/Christine Designs................................... 33

entertainment & media

Kylee’s Gift Cottage....................................... 28

Back of the House Online Video Series....... 46

Little Luxuries.................................................... 17

Living in Uncertain Times Video Podcast.... 39

National Mustard Museum............................ 28

Madison Opera............................................... 44

Plum Crazy........................................................ 27

MOD Media Productions............................... 43

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Enter by submitting your answer to the above question online at madisonessentials.com or by mail with your name, mailing address, phone number, and email to: Madison Essentials c/o Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174 Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 All entries with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for one of two $50 gift cards. Contest deadline is November 30, 2020. Gift cards will be honored at all Nitty Gritty locations.

Good Luck!

Winners Thank you to everyone who entered our previous contest. The answer to the question “Which Madison restaurant owner raises pigs at Willow Creek Farms and Fox Heritage Farms?” is Dan Fox of Heritage Tavern. A $50 Nitty Gritty gift card was sent to each of our winners, Mary Benusa of Sun Prairie and Lewy Olfson of Fitchburg.

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