Monday, 20 April 2009

Monroe, Wisconsin

It's been an interesting day. Starting in New Jersey and ending in Wisconsin. Monroe,Wisconsin, to be precise.

The highlight was a sprint to catch my connecting flight in Chicago. Thrombie time, I feared. Luckily, my heart and belly both made it unscathed to the gate.

The drive from Madison to Monroe made a change. A change from the urban sprawl of New Jersey. Open farmland, punctuated here and there by farmhouses, lofty barns and towering silos. And empty roads. About as unlike eastern New Jersey as you could imagine. The occasional towns are mostly just a handful of houses. "Unincorporated" underlines the town name on the signboards. Effing tiny, it could equally well say.

One town had a different subscript. New Glarus. That said: population 2,111. Surprisingly, my colleague knew the town's claim to fame: New Glarus Brewing. The place itself is bizarrely distinctive, many buildings being in the form of Swiss chalets. No sign of any mountains, though.

Stan Hieronymous had told me Monroe was a good spot for beer. New Glarus all over the place. He wasn't wrong. Ludlow, the bar restaurant next to my hotel, has Spotted Cow on draught. I had three with dinner. Drinkable enough, but not outrageous. Where are all the extreme beers? I never seem to be able to find them. Am I looking in the wrong places? I'll continue my search tomorrow in Madison.

9 comments:

Tim said...

Hi Ron,
Did you try the New Glarus Cherry beer? I watched an interview with the owners (American beer?) who claimed that each batch has a $60K fruit bill. No half measures there!

Ed said...

There was an article on New Glarus brewery in Brewer and Distiller International recently. It's a very impressive looking place. I couldn't find the article online but you can just see the gleaming coppers in the bottom left of the fist page of this promotional pdf:

http://www.ibd.org.uk/cms/file/550/brewer-new-media-info-08-pdf/

Lew Bryson said...

New Glarus isn't really known for the extreme beers, Ron. And from my three visits to Madison, you're not going to find a lot of extreme beers there, either. Lots of beer, though, and the stuff from Capital's good.

Garrison said...

While the normal New Glarus stock is relative sedate, the Unplugged special stock tends towards the outrageous. Bourbon barrel quads, berlinerweisse, eisbarleywines, sour browns mixed with cherry-infused reds...some of it's a bit much, but there are gems in there.

Monroe is quite near to Mineral Point, home of Brewery Creek brewpub and inn. The brewer there is a good fellow who brews with the seasons in mind, and is usually the man standing behind the bar. Good burgers, too.

Regards,
-Drew,
'sconnie ex-pat

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, a visit to Wisconsin should take in the beers from Stevens Point Brewery, which dates from the 1850's. Point Special is its old school brand. For the quintessential, older baroom experience, a glass of Point Special and a shot of bourbon (or maybe brandy up there) is the name of the game.

The brewery also makes a number of micro-styled beers including a 33 IBU Cascades beer.

Michael Jackson has some evocative things to say about the brewery in his first World Guide to Beer.

Gary

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Chap said...

I get a Google ad for one of Ron's competitors - brewingresearch.co.uk - providing "information & consumer research for world drinks brands".

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

The bigger beers will be found aplenty in the Pacific Northwest. Just another couple thousand miles to go.

Jon said...

All the way to Monroe and you didn't hit Baumgartner's?

Ah well, there's always a next time, and it sounds like you had a heck of a vacation nonetheless.