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Wisconsin Road Trip … With BEER & John Mayer!!!

Wisconsin Road Trip … With BEER & John Mayer!!!

I live in Florida where the winters are glorious and the summers suck. It’s just so dang hot. So a couple of years ago my husband and I did something we never in a million years thought we’d do. We bought an RV. Owning a little home with wheels enables us to take our three doggies with us as we get the heck out of Dodge for a few weeks during the hottest (and stormiest) times in Florida.

This year we headed toward the Midwest, a land known for some super breweries.

While in Wisconsin, we hit quite a few. Here are some of my favorites:

Hinder Brewing Company – This new brewery is located in Waupaca, WI, my parent’s hometown where I spent a lot of weekends while growing up. My favorite thing about this brewery was the venue. Oh gosh, what they’ve done with this place! The building used to be a pretty run down store and they’ve turned it into a super hip spot. What a great place to hang with friends and down a brew or two. My favorite beer here was the Schweddy Stout, although their GladAss Porter and Craggy IPA were darned good too.  I absolutely love their slogan … “Grab a Hinder”!

22 Lakes Brewing Company – Also in Waupaca, this brewery is located right downtown and has some great beer! One of my favorites was the 22 Lakes Chuck’s Steam Engine, their signature stout with lots of roasted barley flavor. They also have some “Guest Beers” from Fifth Ward Brewing Company in Oshkosh (my hometown, woohoo!!!!). I fell in love with Fifth Ward’s Haze It or Love It New England style IPA! Full of grapefruit and orangey citrus flavors, this beer is a great thirst quencher on a warm day! Loved it!

Central Waters – Next up was Central Waters in nearby Amherst, WI. Holy moly, there wasn’t a bad beer in the bunch, and they have a HUGE bunch of beers!  My personal favorite was the Brewer’s Reserve Vanilla Bean Stout. Aged in bourbon barrels, this Imperial Stout has a lot of flavor, but the vanilla and bourbon are so well balanced that neither is overpowering. And I would never have guessed the ABV at 9.5%! I also really loved the Cassian Sunset; another bourbon barrel aged imperial with lots of baking spice flavors. They had a to die for milkshake IPA too, but like I said, every beer we tried was fabulous, and we tried pretty much all of them! I was so enthralled with the beer that I forgot to take many pictures! Luckily my husband snapped one of our flights, and I did capture a couple on my way to the loo! We bought lots of beer to go, along with some souvenir glasses and a shirt.

Geneva Lake Brewing Company – While visiting the Lake Geneva area of Wisconsin, I wanted to check out their brewery scene. We were there on a Monday, so we were limited because most places were closed. We checked out Geneva Lake Brewing Company and were happy with our choice. The brewery and taproom are in an industrial area, but that works for us. Inside, the taproom is pretty cool, and they have a bunch of board games and great seating. It was slow on Monday, but I imagine it’s pretty jamming on the weekends. Our favorite beers there were the IPAs. We grabbed a crowler of both their No Wake IPA and Implosion Double IPA to go!

Good City Brewing – Last, but certainly not least, was Good City Brewing in Milwaukee! My hubby and I were in town to see John Mayer at the Fiserv Forum, so I looked into nearby brewery taprooms we could hit before the show. Wouldn’t you know … right across the street was a taproom for a brewery I’d been dying to try … Good City! So we checked it out before the show! The vibe is awesome, with lots of seating in a fun industrial, yet modern space. They have a barley wine called BFG that I really dug. It’s 11.5 alcohol, so I was careful. They also had some great IPAs, my favorite probably being the Reward, which is a Double IPA. I loved the complexity of the tropical fruit along with some floral hoppy notes. My husband’s favorite was the Detail Porter, with lots of mocha maltiness! Good City was definitely a great way to start a fabulous night seeing John “gasp” Mayer!!!!!!!! Seventh row, no less! What an awesome time in Milwaukee!!!!!. P.S. Be sure to order some of their curry fries! Holy Moly!!!!

By the way, my husband and I have seen John Mayer in concert a gazillion times, and this tour ROCKS!!! If you have the chance, don’t hesitate to make a date and go!

We are now on our way back toward Florida, with a weeklong stop in Asheville! I’m sure we’ll be hitting Asheville’s famed South Slope to sample some of the brews there. Who doesn’t love a road trip with breweries along the way?

If you’d like to check these breweries out, here are the links! Cheers!!!

2007 Sprecher Barley Wine (A Beer For Your Wine Cellar!)

I’m obviously a huge wine lover, but I’m a beer lover too! I’ve been all over the world tasting wine, but I also drink a lot of beer along the way. I’ve tasted wonderful beers in Belgium, France, Italy and Germany, but my favorite beer in the world comes from right here in the good ‘ole U. S. of A.!

Sprecher Brewery is located in Glendale, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee) and was founded in 1985 by former Pabst employee Randal Sprecher. They make an award winning Root Beer, as well as many other sodas. They also make some fabulous award winning beers, with my favorite being their seasonal Dopple Bock, which is only released in the winter. Since this is a wine blog though, I thought that I’d talk about their Barley Wine. Okay, so it’s not wine, but it’s REALLY tasty!!!

I buy a couple cases of beer at their brewery whenever I get to Milwaukee. A few years back I bought a few bottles of the Barley Wine brewed in 2007 and stored them in my wine cellar. I pulled out the last one yesterday to enjoy with Sunday football. It currently has a golden orange, copper color. On the nose are caramel, butterscotch and some Christmas spices. The palate has the caramel and spices, along with sweet burnt brown sugar and toffee.  It tastes a bit oxidized, but not in a bad way. It is almost like Sherry. My husband made me share, and we both really enjoyed it.

Although not widely distributed enough for me, some of Sprecher’s beers can be found out there. I’ve found their Oktoberfest, Mai Bock, Abbey Triple and Black Bavarian at Total Wine here in Orlando. I also find them at a few brewpubs in the area. Luckily I’m headed to Milwaukee this week, so I’ll be stocking up on some of my favorites!

The next time you’re anywhere near Milwaukee, put a visit to Sprecher Brewery on your list of things to do. They have tours and tastings too, but you’ll need a reservation for those. Be sure to get directions or put it in your GPS, because you’ll be surprised to find that it’s located in a residential neighborhood!

Meanwhile, if you see Sprecher anything at your local retailer, grab it.  I have a feeling that you’ll love their beers as much as I do!

Here’s their website:

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