Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Friday, August 12.

On the day before the Great Taste of the Midwest, we drove to New Glarus to see both the old Swiss town and its renowned brewery. Neither of them disappointed. Along the way, we ran into Pat, Larry, Tish and Ryan.

The new New Glarus Brewing (opened circa 2007/08) is a gleaming palace of beer inside and out, and a centerpiece of the town's attractiveness to tourists. During this trip, I was struck by the pervasiveness of New Glarus's mainline beers (Spotted Cow, Two Women, Fat Squirrel, Moon Man and others) in the brewery's hometown as well as throughout Wisconsin.

All of these beers are standard strength, and all are excellent. Of course, New Glarus Brewing makes acclaimed fruit-based ales, sour beers and extreme styles, too. Once upon a time, I would have focused on the esoteric over the everyday, but with the Crown Vic's trunk available for filling, I focused on the more sessionable choices.

Our lunch was taken in the company of Tish and Ryan at the Glarner Stube restaurant in central New Glarus, and the Swiss-influenced, German-style food was simply wonderful, as accompanied by a full selection of New Glarus Brewing beers on tap.

Later on Friday night, the choice for dinner was Ha Long Bay, located on Williamson Street in Madison. There were tasty Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian treats in store, but no draft beer, although bottles from Capital and Ale Asylum provided the chance, so rare in Louisville, of drinking craft beer with Asian cuisine. I stuck with Ale Asylum's Hopalicious, bursting with Cascades.

Verily, craft beer is everywhere in Madison. Even the hotel bar at our Sheraton base camp came fully equipped with a half dozen craft taps, marred only by Bud Light. It's a scene one sees again and again.

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