Birthday Weekend

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What do you do when your birthday falls on a Saturday and you have tickets to a Monday night Packer game?

You make a weekend of it!

First, your husband drives you 3 and a 1/2 hours to visit the brewery that makes your favorite beer.IMG_4235

Yes, we made the trek all the way to Amherst, Wisconsin to visit the taproom.

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While there was only one beer on tap that I hadn’t had before, I did partake in sipping a couple of their specialty beers that are aged in bourbon barrels…

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I enjoyed a Call Me Old Fashioned (American Red/Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels with oranges and maraschino cherries) and the newest batch of Headless Heron Barrel Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale. I had the CMOF once in Green Bay at the Central Waters Tap Takeover at Adams Street Pub in Green Bay. This one is not bottled nor available in a Growler; so I knew this was my opportunity to have it at the source. The Headless Heron tasted extra spicy to me compared to last year!

The taproom wasn’t too busy; but there was a steady stream of a few customers here and there coming and going that kept the bartender busy. I would have liked their list of beers to have descriptions.

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The Central Waters taproom itself was a bit underwhelming. I think it would have been more fun if there was an event and it was more hopping. But I enjoyed those special beers on tap nonetheless!

We finished off with a Nitro Puppy – the Mudpuppy Porter on nitro!

IMG_4234 Then, with a new pint glass and hoodie in hand, we left the fields of Amherst. But that was not the end of our day. Rob had much more in store!

You see, one of my dad’s favorite breweries – O’so, is less than 15 miles away. Rob had booked a hotel room right there in Plover so we we could dine, enjoy some more brews and stay the night!

After a quick check-in at the Comfort Inn, we walked in the direction of the brewery. While I don’t think Plover is meant to be walkable, it only took us about 5 to 10 minutes to get to Village Park – a little strip mall that housed the brewery, and as it turns out, our lunch spot.

We found Christian’s Bistro online when we were mapping everything out on The Google. It had rave reviews! It’s a bit of a higher end restaurant for little Plover, Wisconsin. The original chef worked under Emeril Lagasse.

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I didn’t want to go there for dinner, however. I thought that it would end up being an expensive one that I would not have appreciated fully after all of those beers we intended to drink at O’so.

Luckily, they were open for lunch. If there is any tip I can offer you about dining and traveling, it is to have lunch at the higher end or fancier restaurants you want to try. You’ll spend less money, but the food will still be just as good! You will also, most likely, not have to make reservations, enabling you to go with the flow and eat when you please.

We sat at the counter.

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From here we could watch the chefs cook and prep for the evening menu. It was probably somewhere between 2 and 3pm at this point; so they were still serving their brunch/lunch menu.

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I hadn’t considered it before, but breakfast food sounded kind of good!

Homemade Coriander Sausage Benny - Two {Three!} poached eggs, French Bread,

Homemade Coriander Sausage Benny – two {three!} poached eggs, French Bread, Toasted Fennel Hollandaise and Home fries

Ah yes! This is exactly what I needed. I loved the sear on the sausage, the fennel atop the poached eggs and the seasoning on the home fries. It was the perfect lunch for me that day!

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese - grilled squash, green onion, bell peppers and crystal fried onions

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese – grilled squash, green onion, bell peppers and crystal fried onions

Rob said this was some of the best mac and cheese of his life! It looks more like a cream sauce than a cheese sauce, but it was oh-so-cheesy with a bit of bite, too. It was also very creamy. There is nothing Rob hates more than a runny sauce. The pulled pork was tender and flavorful, the grilled squash a unique touch and the fried onions on top were actually fried pickled onions!

We had not expected to have such a satisfying meal in Plover! We are told that the chef owns another restaurant not too far down the road in downtown Stevens Point. This restaurant, Father Fats, is noted for tasty small plates. We are also told the chef will be adding a restaurant with Latin flare called El Jefe to downtown Stevens Point, too.

Now that we were filled up, it was time to make our way over to O’So, just a few doors down. Some people were out sitting outside on the patio.

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We were already feeling that Wisconsin was a lot cheaper than what we were used to, but $2 for a pint of beer?!

The taproom is quite roomy. Rob tried to find us a seat at the bar.

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There are O’so many beers on tap! HA!

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Something to note, though, is that O’So serves more than just their own beer. They like to offer beers from other Wisconsin craft breweries, too:

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My dad is the one who introduced us to Night Train, O’so’s exceptional porter. However, O’So recently was forced to change the name of this beer due to a conflicting trademark. Here were some of the entries in the naming contest:

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But the winning name was genius:

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You’ll still find 6-packs and bottles marked with Night Train, but everything on their tap room menu has switched to the new name. I also like the fact that they offer this beer on nitro and call it Nitro Rain.

When we stop at breweries, we try to go for their specialty beers – the ones that we can’t buy in a store or have elsewhere. Our first choices:

Grandpa's Got a Gun - Brandy Barrel Aged American Strong Ale | Bourbon Barrel Aged Convenient Distraction - Coffee vanilla imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels

Grandpa’s Got a Gun – Brandy Barrel Aged American Strong Ale, brewed with maple sap in place of water | Bourbon Barrel Aged Convenient Distraction – Coffee vanilla imperial porter aged in bourbon barrels

If it’s wrong to make or enjoy beers like these, I don’t want to be right! They were both home runs. Rob and I were prepared to purchase Growlers on this trip, but neither Central Waters nor O’so offered them filled with their specialty beers. Luckily, O’so had bomber bottles of both the Grandpa’s Got a Gun and the Convenient Distraction (the non-bourbon barrel aged version) so that we could take home and share with my dad.

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After our share of beers at O’so, we were starting to get tired… but we weren’t that hungry yet! Nonetheless, we walked a few doors further down to Mikey’s Bar & Grill, where we are told the original chef used to work at the White House!

This restaurant is huge; but despite the fact that it was a Saturday night, there were very few people there. We easily pulled up a seat at the bar, where we found another decent tap list!

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We liked the fact that the light beers were tapped out of site with the root beer! HA!

Rob could not pass up on the Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout. I, however was feeling an Old Fashioned. When in Wisconsin!

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Truth be told, it tasted mostly like Old Fashioned Mix; but at this point, I was just fine with that. After about an hour, we decided to finally order some food.

Celtic Mussels - O'so Porter, cream, scallions and fresh herbs

Celtic Mussels – O’so Porter, cream, scallions and fresh herbs

I loved the fact that they made the mussels with O’so Night (T)Rain Porter! The sauce was really good, but not as great as it had been raved over, in my opinion. I sopped up that sauce with the French bread happily, though.

Rob went with some pasta again. I thought he was going to go with a burger because that’s what was recommended here.

Wild Mushroom Capellini with roasted tomatoes, spinach and artichokes (added andouille!)

Wild Mushroom Capellini with roasted tomatoes, spinach and artichokes (added andouille!)

Rob said that they really didn’t add that much andouille. He was hoping for more. His expectations on this dish may have been a little high after having one of the best mac and cheese dishes of his life at Christian’s, though.

After one more Crème Brûlée Stout, Rob and I headed back to the hotel a bit early. We took advantage of the hot tub before falling into one of the best slumbers of our lives. Believe it or not, after all that beer and heavy food, we woke up feeling pretty refreshed. I wanted to take that Comfort Inn bed and pillows home with me.

We are now in Green Bay awaiting tonight’s Packer game. A Packer victory would most certainly make this the perfect birthday weekend.

Go Pack Go!

 

Cheers~
Carrie

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5 responses »

  1. First of all, I am shocked that Rob didn’t order a burger. second, love road trips! Third, I want to steal every hotel pillow of every hotel I stay at. HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND (Go Bears).

    My Mom is actually singing the National Anthem today at the Bears game with the choir she is in called Sing To Live – it’s a choir of breast cancer and other cancer survivors and its group is 120 strong, but I think only 40 are going to sing today – so cool!

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