Mid-summer edition of Tim’s blog
Welcome to the mid-summer edition of Tim’s blog. Wait a minute, mid-summer? Are you kidding me? 4th of July has come and gone and if we use that as the benchmark of the peak of summer, I guess this is actually my post mid-summer blog. Can anyone explain why summers go by so fast but winters drag on forever? I tried googling it, but apparently the Internet doesn’t even know the answer.
Since I wrote last, our staff, myself included, took to more “fieldtrips.” It doesn’t take any nagging or arm twisting to get me on a bus to tour a brewery and a distillery. It’s rough work, but I am a dedicated employee. The only problem with these field trips is that they are cutting into our golf outing opportunities. I know, I know you are probably playing the invisible violin for me. No sympathy necessary.
Our first road trip took us to Verona, Wisconsin, home of the Wisconsin Brewing Company where we toured their beautiful $11.5 million facility. Located between the New Glarus Brewery and the Wollersheim Winery, you could hit all three of them in one day if you so desired. The brewery is just a baby, only 20 months old. It was truly Wisconsin built, using 25 Wisconsin companies in the process. Even the heart of the brewery, the brew house, although designed by a German company was fabricated in Hudson, Wisconsin. And it is impressive. Check out some of the pictures. They also have a one barrel brew house which they use for doing test batches. This would be a home brewer’s dream come true!
Under the watchful eye of brew master, Kirby Nelson, WBC is putting out some fine beers. His experience, creativity and quest for perfection are evident in the finished product. Kirby had been tweaking his recipe for his Golden Amber for quite a while until he finally created exactly what he envisioned. He wanted a beer for drinking while brewing other beers. Sounds like an awesome plan to me. Made with 5 malts and Willamette and Cascade hops, this is a refreshingly smooth amber that is easy to enjoy. (5.5%) Another strong performer is an American Pale Ale called Yankee Buzzard. 4 types of hops power this superb brew, not over the top, but enough character to let you know you are drinking a quality product. (7.1%, 60 IBU) The story about the name is on their website, wisconsinbrewingcompany.com. If you want to dial up the hops a bit, give Psychopath a try. This is an intense IPA that uses 3 types of Wisconsin grown hops that total 3.7 pounds per barrel. (8%, 80 IBU)
Another interesting beer came with the help of some lucky UW-Madison students from the school of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They collaborated on a dark red lager called Inaugural Red. From developing the recipe, sourcing the ingredients to the brewing process, these students did it all. Congratulations to them. It almost makes me want to go back to college.
For our next road trip, we made our way to Death’s Door Distillery in Middleton, Wisconsin on the far west side of Madison. This is another beautiful facility where they are producing vodka, gin and white whiskey. The gin, a “London Dry”, is their flagship product, dominated by juniper and balanced out with Fennel Seed and Coriander. It is the best-selling American made gin over $20 in the United States and the #1 selling imported gin in the United Kingdom. Their white whiskey is a moonshine of sorts and mixes well with root beer or in a white whiskey margarita. They also hope to have some barrel aged whiskey coming out in the future.
In addition to the standard liquors they produce two unique liqueurs, Wondermint Peppermint and Kringle Cream. Wondermint is an awesome version of the very familiar schnapps. Made with 3 oils, rosewater, bitter almond and St. George absinthe, this is a bottle that should be in every true Wisconsinite’s freezer. (70 proof) Kringle Cream is a delicious pecan cream liqueur, rich smooth and creamy. It is a great after dinner drink.
Our thanks again to our wonderful hosts at both of these great Wisconsin companies.
Check out their websites for tour information, and, as always, please designate a driver. Until next time, have a great rest of the summer.
Open Daily 10am – 5pm
Wisconsin Brewing Company
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 3 – 9 p.m.
Friday: 1 – 11 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
New Glarus Brewery
Free Self-Guided Tours
Monday – Sunday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Hard Hat Tour
Sign up for our hard hat tour. Tours are every Friday at 1:00 PM.
Death’s Door Distillery
Currently does not have public tours of the distillery, but will offer tours during special events which they will post on their website.