When I first started this blog, I made a few goals for myself. One of the goals I set was to travel to a new winery, brewery or distillery every month. I enlisted the help of my brother, asking him if he would be willing to spend his much coveted weekends with me on the pursuit of good, local beer. (And by local, I mean anything in Iowa or a connecting state!) Thankfully, he is willing to make the sacrifice and we have planned an outing this weekend to two breweries and a distillery in Wisconsin.
My brother and I had plans to go to New Glarus Brewery on the last weekend in April, so when a group of guests that I was working with at the winery last weekend started talking about New Glarus, I asked if they had any advice. They were a wealth of knowledge about other places to visit and quickly our trip to one brewery turned into a day including two breweries, a distillery and a tavern/cheese shop. I could not be more excited! (And I’m thinking I should win some sort of ‘Sister of the Year’ award for this deal.)
Maybe it is the teacher in me, so used to planning field trips and preparing for the unexpected, but I always feel the need to research where we are going ahead of time to have an idea of what to expect. That night after work I went home and looked up Minhas Brewery, Minhas Distillery and Baumgartener’s Cheese Shop and Tavern. I will give a full report on the beers and spirits after visiting, but I wanted to share a few of the things I am excited about before the visit to see if they live up to my expectations.
New Glarus Brewery
Spotted Cow at the New Glarus Brewery is by far their most popular brew in the area, but I look forward to trying the other types of beer they produce. There are six beers available year round, seasonal beers to compliment the time of year and they always have a few surprises up their sleeves to keep things interesting. I am most curious about their Thumbprint Series, in which they let their brewmaster loose to create whatever his adventurous heart desires.
The tour at Minhas Brewery looks fantastic! After touring the facilities, you can hang out in their Lazy Mutt Lounge and enjoy bottomless beer samples of their brews. Considering the crowd that may be joining my brother and I, Minhas may want to rethink this policy before the weekend. They also send you off with a “Thank You” pack full of bottles of their beer, root beer and a souvenir glass. For the mere $10 you spend on the tour, I think that is quite the deal!
Located conveniently across the street from the brewery, the Minhas Distillery also provides a tour of their facilities. Their spirits selection includes gin, three types of rum, rye whisky, tequila, vodka and irish cream. What I am most looking forward to, though, is their horchata rum. I did not find any information about it online, but the couple I spoke with at the winery said it was fabulous and leaps and bounds above RumChata, which has become popular in this area.
Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern
You can not visit Wisconsin without stopping for cheese! Thankfully I got the inside scoop about a fabulous little cheese store and tavern a block away from the distillery called Baumgartner’s. Apparently they have the second best chili (only after your mother’s) and a cheese sandwich that is a must try item. They feature locally brewed beers on tap to compliment their food. What can be better than a quaint, local tavern after a day of tasting locally brewed beers and spirits? I can’t think of anything, either.
Needless to say, I am counting down the days to the weekend!