Beaches, Boats and Beer: Finding Pure Michigan

 

For months, a vacation destination that we could agree on eluded us.

Then it came to me … almost too close to have been previously considered …

Michigan.

Michelle had never been, but I didn’t have to convince her. Tim Allen had been working on it for years in those saccharine Pure Michigan commercials. The ones where he earnestly paints a picture of natural beauty, relaxation and fun that was impossible for Michelle to resist.

I’d been to Michigan on vacation when I was little, and several times for work, but I’d never explored the western side of the state or visited the state’s world class breweries. There was even a Pure Michigan commercial about Michigan’s craft beer scene. Read More

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Wandering Chicago: A Trip to The White City, Goose Island & The Squared Circle

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Michelle and I hopped the 6:05 Metra train from Kenosha pointed at Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago. She was headed to a conference and I was planned on wandering the city on a beautiful, warm spring day … one of the first of the year.

What followed was an adventure in miniature. I traversed Chicago on foot and via bus, train and subway … all between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Read More

Touring Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery: A Pictorial

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The unmistakable, lime green label of Lakefront’s IPA is ubiquitous in Milwaukee’s finer bars and restaurants, but as a neophyte beer drinker, I still remember it as the first microbrew that really made an impression on me. IPA remains one of my favorite beers.

So, it is a huge hole in my hophead resume that I have never been to Lakefront Brewery for a tour. I’d only first gone there the year before for a fish fry charity event.

When I saw a case of Lakefront beer and a private tour were a silent auction item, I had to win, and, eventually, after several other bidders stepped in, I made the winning bid – Michelle was okay with it because Lakefront also makes one of her favorite beers, Riverwest Stein, which is their most popular offering.

A year later, prior to our ABCs of Milwaukee Dining brunch at Wolf Peach, Adam, Cindi, Michelle, Shannon, TJ and I made the trek to the brewery, which is, decidedly, not on the lake. Instead, it is tucked in the Milwaukee River basin, in the Riverwest district. Read More

A Sudsy Milwaukee Saturday: Visiting Sprecher and Big Bay Brewing Co.

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On a lazy October Saturday, Michelle and I joined our friends Ross and Bekaah to check out two nearby breweries–one old (Sprecher) and one new (Big Bay).

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Sprecher

Despite being the oldest operating microbrewery in Milwaukee, Sprecher is often forgotten when it comes to beers that aren’t preceded by the word “root.”

Sprecher is a skipped rock off I-43 in Glendale, Wis. The stately, Germanic brick brewery is bordered by a neighborhood of grand brick homes.

Visitors enter and exit through the gift shop, and as far as gift shops goes, this one is pretty impressive—housing apparel, beer and a plethora of odds and ends…Michelle purchased soda-flavored lip gloss.

Michelle and I had been on the tour several years ago and were eager to see if anything had changed, while Ross and Bekaah were there for their first time. 30 others joined us, including children; this is a soda tour, as well.

Read More

Touring Green Bay’s Hinterland Brewery: Where Water is Influenced

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“Beer is just water that’s been influenced.” -A brewer from Hinterland Brewery

On our way “Up North” for Memorial Day weekend, we decided to stop in Green Bay and see the Hinterland Brewery.

We were familiar with Hinterland from our ABCs of Milwaukee Dining dinner at their Milwaukee restaurant, Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub.

The website for the brewery suggests you call in advance to secure a tour. Tours run only on Saturdays at 3 and 4 p.m. They are $10 and include two free beer samples and a free 16 oz. glass–a pretty good deal considering they charge $4.75 for a beer, so essentially, the tour costs 50 cents. Read More

Touring Ale Asylum and Capital: A Madison Brewery Pictorial

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As anyone who knows me can attest, I can get pretty obsessed with things. My latest obsession is beer.

Whether it is brewing it myself, going to open houses or taking day trips to area breweries, I can’t get enough.

Luckily, Michelle was just as eager to get out of town this past Sunday–a beautiful, roll-your-windows-down kinda day–and we decided to head to two breweries that we were pretty unfamiliar with; Ale Asylum and Capital. Read More

Touring New Glarus & Tyranena: A Wisconsin Brewery Road Trip Pictorial

New Glarus Brewing Co.'s outdoor tasting space

New Glarus Brewing Co.’s outdoor tasting space

Having spent the last few weekends working around our house, Michelle suggested that we get out of Milwaukee this past Saturday. Having a keen sense of my emerging love of craft beer, she suggested we go to New Glarus Brewing Co., of New Glarus, Wis., a short two-hour car ride away.

A bit of research revealed that we could also enjoy a tour at Tyranena Brewing Co., of Lake Mills, Wis. I had drank beers from both brewers, but didn’t regularly purchase any–save for New Glarus’ new “Serendipity,’ a fruit ale that is effervescent and tasteful.

Nevertheless, there isn’t a better way to get turned on to interesting brews than heading to the place they are made. Read More