Tag Archives: bourbon barrel stout

North Shore Brewery Tour – Part II


Happy Thirsty Thursday!

Last week, I started to tell you about the North Shore Brewery Tour I surprised my husband with for our 5-year anniversary. I want to let you know all of the details because the Get Knit company who organized it truly thought of everything down to the last detail. You can read more about them and our first brewery stop here in Part I of the North Shore Brewery Tour recap.


2) Canal Park Brewing

After spending an hour over at Blacklist Brewing {enlightening experience!}, our bus took us off to lunch, where I had chosen to have a…


Canal Park Brewing is a brewpub that offers your standard styles of beer along with American pub fare. Everything went seamlessly upon arrival. Because of the size of our group, they had our samples waiting for us at our tables. Let’s get right down to business!


My fave of this bunch was the Nut Hatchet Brown Ale.

Our food came out immediately, too. We were both so glad we didn’t get the burger! As those were being delivered to our table, they did not look good at all. Rob ordered a Brewskie; with which he was not exactly thrilled. Look at that dry bun.


Brewskie – Grilled Wisconsin-made bratwurst topped with beer-braised onions, served on a bun with IPA mustard

My Hot Chick – a buffalo chicken sammy topped with blue cheese – wasn’t even worthy of a photograph. It was all {ciabatta} bun which made it taste dry. After one bite, I took off the top bun and just ate the {also dry} chicken. The flavors were pretty muted for buffalo and blue cheese.

I did learn a thing or two at Canal Park though!  Here’s why all pubs should use 20 oz “pint” glasses…


And I love this advice…


Overall, we weren’t impressed with the food nor the beer at Canal Park. I’d recommend skipping it if you are doing a brewery tour on your own; but the view from their patio can’t be beat! And on a brewery tour, you need to eat sometime…


For the record, I love porters but couldn’t finish this one. It just Was. Not. Good.


3) Lake Superior Brewing


Next up was Lake Superior. Our tour guides said we’d get an interesting view on brewing from these old-school guys. Rob and I are familiar with Lake Superior Brewing because we’ve seen them around for quite some time. They have been brewing since 1994, before I could even drink beer. 😉


Rob has always chuckled at the labeling of one of their beers:


Black India Pale Ale Ale is a little redundant, no?

They are Minnesota’s oldest micro brewery.


One of the nice things about our Lake Superior stop is that we could sample several beers.

The thing that surprised us most was in what small of a space Lake Superior still operates.


Still bottling six at a time…

Some of the people in our group had become a little tipsy at this point.

Our Brewer/Guide only had a small fraction of our group’s attention…


What interested me most is how jaded the brewer seemed. Jaded and exhausted. I got the feeling as if they’ve been doing this so long and they are still waiting for the money to come in. They only have about six employees and some of them have other full-time jobs! The brewer described brewing as 80% janitorial and 20% inspiration. Our visit to Lake Superior Brewing Company was eye-opening in how much it takes for a brewery to operate.


Will this be some of our other young brewers in 20 years? Does starting a brewery take wealthy investors to grow quickly? Will all the brewers we’ve met over the past couple years during this craft brew craze lose their passion? I’m not sure that I want to know the answer to that.


4) Castle Danger Brewery


I am so glad we made the trek up the North Shore to Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors. If we were to put together a beer tour ourselves, we would have not even considered this one because we try to arrange brewery crawls so that the locations are close in proximity to each other. This was a good 20 minutes or so north along the coast; but it was well worth it.

Because it was my favorite brewery of the tour!

Upon arrival at the brewery, we were told that we’d be given samples and then could take an optional tour. The taps were ready for us and I thought I heard the tapper say “bourbon barrel” something or other.

Um.. what?

Yes, they age their George Hunter Stout in Jack Daniels whiskey barrels, which technically isn’t bourbon; but I don’t care. Of course, that is the first thing I asked for as my sample! You know me!


I also love the name: Gentleman George Hunter. Appropriate for a barrel aged beer, no? They also had a Sommelier George Hunter available. Can you guess what that stout is aged in? You got it – red wine barrels!

I politely pulled our tour guide aside and asked him if we could skip the tour and spend some money in the taproom. This was not a problem!

After a few purchases…


We barreled (no pun intended) our way to the bar to buy a beer.


Team Danger took care of us.


I noted the wi-fi password, too.


That Sommelier George Hunter was excellent. I would need to have the Somm & the Gentleman side-by-side to explain the nuances, but Rob said he liked the Somm even better.

Rob disappeared for a bit to get us some nachos from the Taco Box food truck outside. It looked good, but I wasn’t entirely impressed. Your basic nacho chips out a bag.


Instead, I just sat back and sipped that red-wine-barrrel-aged stout in all its glory. Yes, Yes. This is what makes beer so interesting. And I have to agree, Castle Danger does have some:


One thing I really enjoyed about this North Shore Brewery Tour is that the breweries were so different from each other. You’ll see next week why the last two stops on the tour were different as well!

Do you like barrel-aged beers?

If so, what has been your favorite?



My Favorite Beer on TAP!


A couple of week’s ago, our friend Monkey notified us that my favorite beer was now back in stores. We picked some up right away!


Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Then we found out that there was a Central Waters Tap Takeover at the Adam’s Street Pub in Green Bay, where we were headed to see family for the holidays.

But alas, when we arrived at the pub at around noon on December 26th, it was closed and we had to lunch elsewhere.

After lunch with the boys at the Green Bay Distillery and watching White Christmas on DVR {followed by which may have included a late afternoon nap}, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back downtown to Adams Street Pub for some Central Waters beer.


Yes, you read that correctly. There was a tap takeover by my favorite brewery; I was only about ten miles away; and I was considering doing “the usual” instead.

But it was dark and I was still groggy from my nap. (Poor me!) I asked Rob what he wanted to do. Going up the road to Townline for a bite to eat sounded so much easier to both of us.

But I gave it more thought, weighed the options, listed pros and cons…


  • One of us would have to drive. (Tough to think about when you have access to your limited edition favorite beer!)


  • We’d get to try the Call Me Old Fashioned, a unique limited release beer that I probably would never get to try again.
  • We go to Townline almost every time we are in Green Bay, usually out of convenience. And while they do have a lot of beers on tap, there is generally only one that we are sort of willing to drink.
  • It would be something new, not the same-old, same-old.
  • We thought there might be a band playing.

I came to my senses. The pros outweighed the cons. And the con was a stupid one. Nothing said we had to get stupid drunk. I’d rather have a couple of my favorite beers and enjoy them! So we headed back to Adams Street Pub.

And I was happy to find that *all* of the tap takeover beers remained on tap!


 Just look at those beautiful heron taps lining the bar!


I had to start with the Call Me Old Fashioned. It’s very limited and a beer that just screams Wisconsin!” Anyone who has grown up in Wisconsin and moved away eventually comes back and drinks an Old Fashioned with family when visiting, even if they never really drank them before.

Everyone has an idea of how a a true Old Fashioned should be made. But there are several variations. When in a Wisconsin tavern, you should order them this way:

  • Brandy-Old Fashioned-Sweet
  • Whiskey-Old Fashioned-Sour {The way my mom likes them!}
    And so on…

Old Fashioned Mix can be found in stores in Wisconsin, but you can also make it yourself. {Although, I don’t know anyone who does that.} They are often garnished with maraschino cherries {and sometimes olives}. Customizable to your tastes, I’d say.

Here is a Central Waters’ beer with an Old Fashioned twist:

FullSizeRender (1)

Central Waters Call Me Old Fashioned – American Red/Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels with oranges and maraschino cherries

 Oh boy was that yummy.

Did it taste Old-Fashion-y? I’m not quite sure. But I liked it. A lot. But I also like barrel-aged beers. So there’s that. I loved the concept of this one. And the name.

Because I was driving, I allowed myself only one more beer. It was going to have to be my fave… I had finally had the opportunity to have it on tap!


And I was not disappointed. I savored Every. Single. Drop. Rob went with the Headless Heron Barrel Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale. I totally forgot how wonderful this beer is!

From Beer Advocate:

Generously spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, this barrel-aged pumpkin spice ale overflows with dark fruit, dried fruit, and hints of bourbon.

One sip and I tasted all of those spices and was whisked back to fall. Mmmmm…

Our main purpose for visiting Adams Street Pub was to sample the Central Waters beers. However, because the ones we chose were high in alcohol, it was necessary to get some food in our tummies, too.

While on beer #1, Rob ordered us these:

Pub Cheese - House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce served with Pretzel Bites (Cup-$5, Bowl-$9)

Pub Cheese – House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce served with Pretzel Bites (Cup-$5, Bowl-$9)

I have to say that this cup of Pub Cheese was one of the best appetizer values I’ve seen. I normally don’t care for cheese “sauces” because they make me think of something that comes out of can. But I did like this one. What I liked even more were the pretzel bites! Think of one of those big, soft pretzels, but in little one-inch portions. Now think of them tasting even better. The last big pretzel I had at Lambeau Field was overly salty. These were utter perfection. Each bite had that slightly crisp outer pretzel crust with a warm, doughy inside.

I wouldn’t let them go to waste. When Rob was finished, I ate Every. Single. Last. One. For that reason, I was getting full.

I had originally decided, once and for all, to get the Friday Fish Fry. But I was way, too full for that now. Besides, the portions were huge!


I had also been considering building my own burger with 3yr cheddar, garlic ailoi on a pretzel bun…

FullSizeRender (2)

But that, too, seemed like too much food. Instead, Rob suggested that we split the Breakfast Burger, substituting fries with cheese curds. Splitting something sounded like a great idea to me!

Breakfast Burger - Pretzel Bun, Nueske's Bacon, House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Tomato Jam, Fried Egg - $9 (substitute Cheese Curds for fries +$2)

Breakfast Burger – Pretzel Bun, Nueske’s Bacon, House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Tomato Jam, Fried Egg – $9 (substitute Cheese Curds for fries +$2)

Only, as Rob was placing the order, he also decided to order this:

Gourmet Grilled Cheese - Renard's Cheddar Cheese, Nueske's Bacon &Tomato Jam

Gourmet Grilled Cheese – Renard’s Cheddar Cheese, Nueske’s Bacon & Tomato Jam

His plan? We would each take a half of a sandwich and he’d eat the onion rings, since I’m not a huge fan. So. Much. Food!

Almost everything about the Breakfast Burger and Gourmet Grilled Cheese was heaven.

First: You had me at Pretzel Bun, dear burger. Then, when Rob split it in half, the runny yolk spilled out. I was in love! I passed my bacon pieces over to him and delighted in the juiciness of the burger.

The grilled cheese was nice and melty and perfectly buttered and grilled. You are asking how one could mess up a grilled cheese? While I’d agree, I’ve also had bad ones. And that’s just wrong.

But there is one thing that I did not like about these two sandwiches. And it might surprise you.

It was the tomato jam.

All of the tomato jams I have had in the past were savory. This one was sweet. It could have been strawberry jam, for all I could tell. It was overpowering. I had to scrape it off. It it weren’t for the tomato jam, this would have been a practically perfect pub meal.

And for the record, Adams Street Pub does have a lot of beer and whiskey options!


Thank you @CWBrewing and @AdamsStreetPub for putting on the Tap Takeover. Thank you very much. Now, to convince my husband to whisk me away to Amherst, Wisconsin next September for a little birthday at the brewery. 😉

Have you had tomato jam?

Was it sweet or savory?

Did it work with what you were eating?


American Craft Beer Week


If you don’t live in Minnesota and weren’t celebrating MN Craft Beer Week last week, you can celebrate American Craft Beer Week this week!

In honor of American Craft Beer Week, I thought I’d share with you my personal favorite craft brew right now. It comes out of this brewery in Wisconsin:

CW - Overview

Talk about craft brewing, eh?! You’ve seen Central Waters Brewing before on this blog, when I wrote about barleywine.

It’s not always easy to find Central Waters beers in Minnesota, but they do distribute here. So when I saw both of these available at the same time, I decided to pick both…

CW - 4pks

And do a little side-by-side tasting…

CW - BB beer bottles

But then I realized rob had a leftover bottle of this…

CW- Satin Solitude

So we had to do a little tasting of all three.

CW - BBS Color

Left to right: Central Waters Satin Solitude Imperial Stout, Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout, Brewer’s Reserve Barleywine Ale

Let me just say that ALL of these beers are absolutely extraordinary.

There is one that wins out for me, but only by a narrow margin.

CW - BB Stout

Yes, the Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Amherst, Wisconsin is my favorite American Craft Beer right now.

I need to take a brewery road trip.

  And now it’s time for….




  • MondaySan Marzano Tomato Pasta
  • Tuesday – Dinner either in or out – TBD – with a friend
  • Wednesday Andouille Sausage with Red Beans & Rice and Creole Roasted Veggies
  • ThursdayChops with Butter Sauce and Pesto Green Beans
  • FridayCheeseburger Wrap at Carbone’s – It’s our Final Poker Tournament and I am so lucky to have snagged a seat at the Final Table!
  • Saturday – 5k Race – Yes, we signed up for a 5k the morning after our Final Poker Tournament. Crazy? Probably. Brunch afterward – I’m guessing here.
  • Sunday – TBD


  • Leftovers – We’ll have a lot this week!
  • Snacks – fruit, nuts and dark chocolate



We completed Couch to 5k – Week 8 last week. I haven’t run a full 5k in a year and a half. I thought about trying one on tonight, but fear I’ll wear myself out for Saturday’s race. Runners, thoughts on this one? I can do a shorter run on Wednesday and rest Thursday and Friday.

  • Monday – Run – 5k
  • Tuesday – Yoga
  • Wednesday – Run – 2mi? 20 min? Not sure if I want to do a time or distance run.
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Challenge Obesity 5k Race
  • Sunday – Yoga

What is your favorite craft beer right now?