Recently I had the good fortune to spend a few days in south central and southwest Wisconsin en-route (or not) to Stevens Point, WI. Since many of my trips include or are even based around beer travel, I knew there were a few places I had to see and check out for The Brew Club!
The first stop was New Glarus, “Little Switzerland in Wisconsin,” around two hours west of Milwaukee. The town of New Glarus is actually quite small and not as impressive as Frankenmuth, “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” which I visited in May.
Several miles outside of town is the wonderful New Glarus Brewing Company. This facility looks straight from the Alps! There is a self-guided tour when the complex is open, a gift shop, tasting room, and beer store. On Fridays at 100pm there is also a “Hard Hat” tour which is limited to 15 guests. I was there on a Thursday, but will definitely return for this behind the scenes visit which also includes cheese and beer pairings.
The tour books up months in advance, so plan accordingly if you’ll be in that neck of the woods. Please remember that any guest, regardless of age, “who cries, spits, screams, fights or climbs on the machinery will politely be excused from our brewery tour” according to the website.
The New Glarus Brewing Company is spotless. I was truly impressed by how clean the factory is. Guests can walk around and see the bottling line and other areas of production. You’ll notice that there’s a picture of the “Stairway to Heaven.” This leads to the giant open fermentation tanks. How appropriately named!
After my tour, I had three 3-ounce samples for $3.50, one each of the Golden Ale, Fat Squirrel, and Moon Man. I had enjoyed the Spotted Cow, which makes up 70% of New Glarus’ sales, and the Totally Naked on a previous trip to Wisconsin. Of the three, the Moon Man is my favorite. This “No Coast” pale ale blends five hops, has a nice citrus taste, and is one of the best examples of an American Pale Ale I’ve sampled. It compares nicely to Troegs’ version.
New Glarus beers are only sold in Wisconsin. This really is a shame, the whole country should be able to enjoy their tasty beer.
Stay tuned for part II of my Wisconsin Beer Tour – Potosi, a town of 711 in the southwest corner of the Wisconsin, and home to the Potosi Brewing Company and the National Brewery Museum!