Minhas Distillery

Minhas Distillery is located in Monroe, Wisconsin.  After touring their brewery, we went across the street to check out the distillery.  The two college aged gentlemen working the tasting room gave us information about their products and suggested some combinations for their liquor, all of which involved the sodas produced and sold by the company.  I must say they had some fabulous homemade root beer.

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Although we had had our fill of tours for the day, we still “officially” did the tour so that we could partake in the opportunity to try all of the liquor they had to offer and go home with a gift pack that included a bottle of their vodka and a glass.

The tour was filled with some interesting information about the industry.  One of the original owners of the facility was thought to have been kidnapped by Al Capone.  I love finding out little pieces of history like that!  Especially since Al Capone has historical ties to our area as well.

The owner of the distillery is the father of the brother/sister duo that own the brewery.  The family is based in Canada, but purchased so much product from this facility that they eventually bought it outright. From the distillery tasting room, you can see the house that they bought across the street for their once a month visits.

It is interesting to me to learn more about how challenging it can be to be able to sell alcohol in different states and countries.  They had gorgeous empty bottles of the tequila they produce in Canada on display as a chandelier, but they are unable to sell in in the United States for legal reasons.  The same was the case for their Irish Cream.  I was disappointed because I wanted to try both of these products.

Brewery Tours

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.

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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.

Minhas Brewery

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!

Minhas Distillery

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!

Goals

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Welcome to my journey of alcohol enlightenment!  This website is a culmination of multiple passions that I possess: creative writing, continuing education, alcohol consumption and delicious meals.  My goal is to eventually become a certified sommelier.  This website was initially born out of the desire to have documentation of the interesting things I am learning.  It will also be a valuable resource when I have a particular vintage or brew that I vaguely remember, but can’t quite place. I will simply be able to jump online and look it up in my own personal wine, beer and spirits encyclopedia.  I never would have imagined that my life’s opus would revolve around alcohol.  But I love that it does.

Part of continuously educating myself on the wine, beer and spirits industry will involve tasting a plethora of new alcohols.  Rough job description, right?  One goal I have for myself is to travel to one local winery, brewery or distillery each month and write about my experience.  I will also try one new wine, beer or spirit each week and document my thoughts.