Great Lakes Brewing News August/September 2013 : Page 1
Brewing in Central Wisconsin By Bob “Now go have a beer” Paolino STAND WITH CENTRAL WISCONSIN I n town for the Great Taste of the Midwest? Planning a separate trip to Wisconsin? Or maybe you already live here and want to explore your home state a little more. We suggest that you plan on a few more days, you’ll thank us for the suggestion. For beer adventur-ers visiting Wisconsin to tour breweries, the two largest metropolitan areas of Milwaukee and Madison may seem to be the most obvious choices. After all, those two areas are home to some of the longest-established craft breweries in the state (and the nation), dating back to the 1980s and early 1990s, and also some of the newest ones. But travelling just two hours north of Madison (plus or minus a half hour or so depending on the specific destination) puts you within range of a concentration of seven different Central Wisconsin breweries also doing some exciting things in the craft beer world. See Central WI p. 4 INSIDE BEER Michigan ..........................14 SE Michigan ....................16 SW Michigan ...................17 Indiana .............................24 Chicago ...........................26 ILLUSTRATIONS BY: HANS GRANHEIM Event Calendar .........................3 The Beer Queendom ................8 Homebrew: Dunkel Weizen .... 10 Beer Beacon: Hoppy Beers.... 12 Import Beer News .............. 13 Jolly Giant .......................... 16 Map/Directory ................ 18-23 Cooking with Beer ............. 25 State by State News Illinois ..............................27 New York .........................33 Wisconsin ........................28 Pennsylvania ...................36 N Wisconsin ....................29 Ohio .................................38 Minnesota ........................30 Ontario ............................32
Brewing In Central Wisconsin
Bob “Now Go Have A Beer” Paolino
In town for the Great Taste of the Midwest? Planning a separate trip to Wisconsin? Or maybe you already live here and want to explore your home state a little more. We suggest that you plan on a few more days, you’ll thank us for the suggestion. For beer adventurers visiting Wisconsin to tour breweries, the two largest metropolitan areas of Milwaukee and Madison may seem to be the most obvious choices. After all, those two areas are home to some of the longest-established craft breweries in the state (and the nation), dating back to the 1980s and early 1990s, and also some of the newest ones. But travelling just two hours north of Madison (plus or minus a half hour or so depending on the specific destination) puts you within range of a concentration of seven different Central Wisconsin breweries also doing some exciting things in the craft beer world.
The most established among these is one of the oldest regional breweries in the nation, the Stevens Point Brewery, which was founded in 1857. But the Point of the 21st Century is no longer merely the brewery that made it on the national beerdar in the early 1970s after Chicago's legendary columnist Mike Royko declared Point Special Lager the best American beer. Point is definitely making more than just lawnmower beers these days, with year round craft beers ranging from white, blonde, and pale ales to brown and black ales.
There are also four different seasonal beers and five different high-gravity beers in its Whole Hog four-packs series. Mike Royko would have never anticipated an imperial stout or barleywine from Stevens Point. Point also produces a number of contract beers for other companies. Even if you have visited the brewery in the past, recent expansions to the physical plant make a return visit worthwhile.
Not far from Stevens Point is the Village of Plover, home to O’so Brewing Company. Homebrewerrs Marc Buttera and Katina Buttera opened Point Brew Supply in 2005 in a small strip mall in Plover, but eventually the bug to move from homebrewer to pro brewer bit and he decided to shoehorn a brewery into the tiny space, originally pursuing “freestyle” brewing, not necessarily to any particular style other than what he thought would be interesting. And although the brewery and homebrew shop have since moved to a much larger space, which also includes a fairly spacious taproom, and brews some beers that fall into more conventional style categories, Marc’s creativity still shines in many of the beers. The lineup includes several sour and barrel-aged beers that are worth seeking out.
The taproom features both an extensive selection of O’so beers and some guest beers, but at an anniversary party in 2012, O’so beers took over all the tap lines, with more than 40 different beers available that weekend.
Down the road in Amherst is Central Waters Brewing Company. Central Waters got its start with the 1996 purchase of a tiny building in Junction City, and after considerable work cleaning up and renovating the building, and scraping together the funds to buy some used dairy equipment, the brewery finally started producing beer for limited distribution. New ownership later took over and expanded the beer lineup and updated some of the equipment, but they could do only so much in that location, so they built a brand new brewery in 2007— seeking to become one of the nation’s most environmentally sustainable breweries, from sourcing of ingredients, water conservation and waste management to solar power.
The beers are pretty darn interesting and tasty, too. Central Waters has seven year- around beers, from Honey Blonde to Imperial Stout, as well as a huge range of seasonal and limited production “reserve” beers, including an extensive barrel-aging program. But they aren't all big beers; one of the newest Central Waters beers is Hop Rise Session Ale, lots of flavour without lots of alcohol. Central Waters also features a taproom, but unlike many breweries with taprooms, at Central Waters, the brewery isn’t separated from the taproom behind glass windows, you're right there in a working brewery.
Doubling back through Stevens Point to the west, you’ll reach Marshfield and the Blue Heron Brewpub. You might have noticed a blue heron as Central Waters’ signature tap handles, and there's a reason for that. The brewpub in Marshfield was originally the Central Waters Brewpub in 2005, although its ownership was separate from the Central Waters brewery. It served both Central Waters beers and some unique to the brewpub. In 2008, the name changed to Blue Heron and the brewpub ended its ties with Central Waters.
The brewpub is in the beautifully restored Parkin Dairy building and offers a full brewpub restaurant menu as well as an extensive lineup of beers, including three flagship beers and an insane number of seasonal and special offerings, including one MASH tap dedicated to collaboration with the Marshfield Area Society of Homebrewers. Rick Sauer, a veteran of Northern Wisconsin craft brewing, recently joined Blue Heron as the new head brewer.
Wausau, the largest city in Central Wisconsin, is home to three breweries. RedEye, like Central Waters, is also an environmentally conscious brewery that makes great beer. For one thing, brewer Kevin Eichelberger is a bicycling enthusiast and it shows in the decor at the pub. And if you are already in the downtown Wausau shopping area, you won’t need a car to reach the brewpub, which is an easy walk to a mixed residential-commercial neighbourhood just to the east of downtown. More observant visitors to the pub might also notice the solar panels on the roof and a covered parking area Kevin Eichelberger of RedEye Brewing Company had his first professional brewing job in Wisconsin as an assistant at the original Great Dane in Madison.
He later became brewmaster at the former Hereford and Hops in Wausau (now the location of the Wausau Great Dane) before deciding to start his own brewery across town in built for the purpose of having a place to put some more photovoltaics.
Sustainability efforts also extend to local sourcing of many of the restaurant ingredients and even of the hardwood used in the pizza oven. Energy and water conservation extends to the brewhouse and even to the waterless urinals in the men's washroom. The beer lineup includes an eclectic mix of hoppy beers and Belgian-style beers, as well as some very well-made flavourful beers for less adventurous palates.
Bull Falls is located in a primarily residential neighbourhood—a reasonable walk or bus ride— less than a mile south of RedEye. While RedEye focuses on hoppy beers and Belgian-style beers, Bull Falls concentrates on more “traditional” German and English style beers, including some lagers. The list is impressive, and goes well beyond pilsners and pale ale. There’s a Saphir-hop lager, weizenbock, Zwickel Bier old-world unfiltered lager, along with brown, amber, stouts and one-off ales, but if you’d like to finish with an IPA, they offer one.
In addition to what it sells at its taproom (no restaurant), Bull Falls distributes draught beer to many Central Wisconsin establishments. The big news at Bull Falls is the substantial expansion project across the street, which began late in 2012. The new 8,000 square foot buildWww.brewingnews.com 7ing and a new state-of-the-art brewing system will allow for much expanded production and wider distribution.
The third craft brewery in Wausau is located where Wausau’s original brewpub was.Great Dane-Wausau occupies what was previously Wausau's Hereford and Hops brewpub. It reopened as a Great Dane in 2009 following extensive renovation of the building. You will see some familiar beers from the Great Dane locations in the Madison area, but also several beers throughout the year that are unique to Wausau. It features bar, dining, and pool hall areas as well as banquet facilities downstairs.
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