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NW IL and SW WI brewery tour

The wife and I went to Galena, IL to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary, (Oct 31st)…3 days and two nights of eating, Miata abuse and brewery touring…
We managed to hit four breweries in the area and I thought that was worth a report.
We got to town on Sunday and for lunch we hit the Galena Brewing Company

in downtown Galena.

New place…only been open for one year. Kind of a brew pub, but they bottle and distribute locally. Lunch was very, very good good and we did the sampler option on their beers. They only sell their beer, (I did hear someone ask for a Miller Lite), five year rounds and a couple of seasonals.
We very much liked their IPA, and I thought their oatmeal stout was also excellent, and my wife liked their amber ale.
Their website says they do tours everyday at 3 and 6pm, so we went and killed some time after lunch and returned about 2:55 and asked for the tour…
They seemed a little surprised and had to make a call…about 20 minute later, the owner, Warren, showed up and gave us a tour…just us, as no one else in the place wanted to go.
So we had a private tour… :mrgreen: $5 for the tour and one beer.
Turns out the owner is/was an extract home brewer. Living in the area, he felt the town needed this business, so he acquired the building, bought the equipment and hired a brew master. He can only do 10 barrels at a time and since the distribution started taking off, he is having a hard time meeting demand and is planning on expanding.
It was a very enjoyable experience and the informal tour/conversation was very interesting as a new home brewer,

Next up – Potosi Brewing

Sweet! I love this kind of stuff. I’ve been to Galena but it’s been awhile and there was certainly no brewpub there. Good luck to them… nothing like starting out small and then having a hard time keeping up with demand! Thanks for the post.

Continued…

Monday, Halloween, after a late breakfast, we crossed the Mississippi at – and headed north on the Great River Road in the Miata…good times!

After crossing back into Wisconsin, at Prairie Du Chien, we enjoyed several fun roads in the area, (we take a couple of motorcycle trips in these parts every summer). Around lunch, we ended up in Potosi, Wisconsin, home of the Potosi Brewing Company[/url] and the [url=http://www.potosibrewery.com/museums_brew.cfm]National Brewery Museum.

More info here:



Both are housed, along with a brewpub, in the original, reconstructed Potosi Brewery. This is a good time. Food was good and the beer was very good. We tried their IPA and their Porter. The self guided tour is $5, includes both the brewery and the museums. There really isn’t much to see of the brewery, just the mash tun and brew kettle. The fermentation tanks are off the dining area.
I found the museum to be interesting, but disorganized. It is a bunch of privately owned displays on loan, scattered throughout several rooms with little organization. But still, a fun way to spend an hour or so.

Next up…The New Glarus Brewery in New Glarus Wisconsin.

Continued…

After a darn good anniversary dinner Monday night…we got up Tuesday, checked out and went for breakfast.
From Galena we detoured back into Wisconsin and after playing on the back roads a bit, hit New Glarus and the New Glarus Brewery
http://www.newglarusbrewing.com/

We had been here just a few weeks ago, but on the bike, so we couldn’t pick up beer to take home. (New Glarus doesn’t distribute outside of Wisconsin.)
Here is a couple of pics from the last time we were there:


The tour is self-guided and free…this is their new building and it is nicely laid out for strolling around.
Back at the sample room/gift shop, you pay $3.50 for three samples and get to keep the logo etched glass…

But we mostly stopped to take some New Glarus brews home with us…

We were in the Miata, not the Suburban, so space was tight…

We left New Glarus and decided to hit the Brewery just down the road in Monroe, WI.
The Minhas Craft Brewery…(to be continued)

Great posts! I love New Glarus. Great town, great people, and a great drive. If you ever get a chance I do recommend the “hard hat” tour. It costs $20, but is very much worth it. Hope you picked up some Limburger cheese on your way through Monroe! It is the only place in America where it is made (and for good reason).

So about 15 miles south of New Glarus is Monroe, WI…and home of the Minhas Craft Brewery

.
This was a spur of the moment decision on our part and turned out to be the funniest brewery we visited this weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t take any pictures while visiting.

Minhas is the oldest brewery in the Midwest, and second oldest in the country…it has changed hands and names several times and currently is owned by the Minhas family. They make their own brews and also many contract beers.

Tours are 11am on Monday, 1pm on Tuesday-Thursday and 1 and 3pm on Friday-Sunday.
They also have museum of sorts, sporting a considerable amount of brewing memorabilia…
$10 bucks for the tour, with a delightful guide full of history and local stories…
The $10 includes the brewery tour, the museum, bottomless samples (really), the sample pint glass and a five pack containing four of their beers and one of their sodas…
There were two other couples on the tour with us and we all had a good time…We spent about 2 hours there…

They had a delightful stout, The Chocolate Bunny Stout, a good IPA and double IPA. I bought a mixed case of 22s before I left. :cheers:

From there it was a late lunch and home…a very satisfying weekend…I am sure we will do it again.

Yep, sounds awesome. My wife likes beer and drinks the beer that I make but I’m not sure I’d be able to schedule a weekend/long weekend and hit 4 breweries without getting some amount of static. Maybe for every brewery we hit we could also hit an antique place to even things out. I had never heard of the Galena Brewery or the Minhas Brewery before. I have an old Potosi beer can from when I was 10 years old or something and I thought they had gone by the wayside with all of the rest of the old breweries. I’m a big fan of New Glarus beers especially the Longhorn Oktober and the Two Women Country Lager. They make some very good beers. Thanks for the report… sounds very fun.

The Potosi story is pretty cool. It’s run by a non-profit foundation

http://www.potosibrewery.com/foundation.cfm

There’s more on the site. I had their porter a couple of weeks ago and thought it was very good.

Hahaha…yes, I understand. We hit several of the unique shops in Galena which helped…
But what really made it all good was getting this room for the weekend…

She was very happy… :mrgreen:

BTW…I have a slide show of the whole weekend here:
http://s27.photobucket.com/albums/c163/Baatfam/Stuff/Galena%20-%202011/?albumview=slideshow

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