Tag Archives: central waters brewing

Birthday Weekend

Standard

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.

IMG_4230

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…

IMG_4233

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.

IMG_4231

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.

IMG_4236

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.

IMG_4239

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.

IMG_4238

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.

IMG_4242

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.

IMG_4243

There are O’so many beers on tap! HA!

IMG_4244

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:

IMG_4245

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:

IMG_4248

But the winning name was genius:

IMG_4249

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.

IMG_4271

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!

IMG_4250

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!

IMG_4252

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

My Favorite Beer on TAP!

Standard

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!

IMG_0907

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.

IMG_0967

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…

CONS

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

PROS

  • 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!

IMG_0997

 Just look at those beautiful heron taps lining the bar!

IMG_0970

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!

IMG_1013

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!

FullSizeRender

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!

IMG_0969

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?

Cheers~
Carrie

American Craft Beer Week

Standard

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….

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • 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

Lunch:

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

Breakfasts:

Fitness

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?

Cheers~
Carrie