Monthly Archives: December 2018

December 12, 2018

From Chicago to Stevens Point: The Brewery Guide

This past weekend I made a trip up to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. I’ll be honest, before this trip the only time I had heard of Stevens Point was in the Disney Channel show Liv & Maddie…(embarrassing I know!) Needless to say, I’ll never forget about Stevens Point now.

So first off, Stevens Point is about a 4-hour drive from Chicago – less if traffic cooperates! You can either take I-90 through Madison or 43 through Milwaukee. I recommend taking Madison up and Milwaukee back. That allows you to stop at some great breweries on your way up.

When we got to our hotel, we realized O’so Brewing was right across the parking lot from our hotel! It was nice to be able to park the car at the hotel and just walk to the brewery. Many people wrote me and recommended O’sos, so I had to check it out! I had no idea that they had been open for 11 years! Crazy! I got a flight of five 4oz beers and it ended up being $11.50. I kind of wish I had just got a pint because it only would have been $4.50 but, hey, that’s the poor student in me!

Let’s rate some beers!

1. Bring Me the Disco King- Barrel Aged Sour w/ Blueberries & Ginger 5.5% ABV

I really enjoyed this one, the blueberries and ginger came together to make a lightly sweet concoction that wasn’t overly sour. It was nicely balanced and had a good body to it. Would definitely get this one again!

2. Pi- Barrel Aged Belgian Strong w/ Cherries 10% ABV

This one was a bit more on the face pucker sour side. Still not too bad but if you’re “sour sensitive” you may want to stay away from this one. Cherries always taste nice in sours in my opinion but combining with a Belgian sour base really took it to the next level.

3. Convenient Distraction- Imperial Porter w/ Coffee & Vanilla 10% ABV

I am always a big fan of coffee beers, especially when they are accompanied by vanilla. The coffee flavor tended to overtake the vanilla in this one but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It hid its ABV well, making it especially dangerous if you’re not careful!

4. Night Rain- Oatmeal Porter 6.7% ABV

I always love oatmeal porters for their smooth, creamy taste. Night rain is exactly that. I love the malty backbone with roasty and chocolate flavors in there as well.

5. Midnight Troll- Smoked Imperial Stout w/ Cocoa Nibs 10% ABV

I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t a fan of this one. I wanted to like it because I usually really enjoy smoked stouts, but this one just didn’t hit the mark for me. The body was quite thin and the smoke just wasn’t tasting great.

If you’re in the Chicago area and are interested in visiting Stevens Point, here are some tips:

Where should I stay?!?

Hampton Inn & Suites- Plover

Why?

Great Northern Distilling and O’so Brewing are literally in the parking lot! Yummy free breakfast and a central location between all the great breweries.

But how long is the drive?

4 hours with the typical Friday midday traffic.

What breweries should I stop at if I go through Madison?

Karben 4, Working Draft, Funk Factory Geuzeria

What breweries should I stop at if I go through Milwaukee?

Eagle Park, 1840, Mobcraft, Good City

What places are in the Wisconsin Craft Collective?

Stevens Point Brewery, Central Waters, O’so Brewing, Great Northern Distilling, Sunset Point Winery

This trip has been so much more to me than great craft beer; it was the getaway I didn’t know I needed.  I have been floored by the hospitality of the people of Stevens Point. I was able to have fantastic conversations with many locals which really made the trip, and I can’t wait to visit again soon.

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December 11, 2018

What is a Hodag?

Hey guys! I’m so excited to share with you a few posts about my trip to Rhinelander, Wisconsin this week!

This amazing travel agency group called Wisconsin Travel Best Bets and Explore Rhinelander were kind enough to send me on a mission to explore all that Rhinelander has to offer!

It’s impossible to go to Rhinelander without seeing hundreds of green little monster looking things. But WHAT ARE THEY? And WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

I had to do some serious research to learn about all things Hodag in preparation for my trip!

Here’s what I learned from Explore Rhinelander’s website:

“The Hodag was first discovered by timber cruiser, land developer and merry prankster Eugene Shepard in 1893. The Hodag was the centerpiece of the 1896 Oneida County Fair and has lived in Northwoods legend ever since.

Patching together eyewitness accounts, rumor, legend and speculation, several aspects of the Hodag’s appearance start to become clear:

  • Covered in fine, green fur
  • Height: 30 inches
  • Weight: 185-265 pounds
  • Length: 7 feet
  • Diet: Reports vary widely – mud turtles and water snakes, oxen, white bulldogs eaten only on Sundays
  • Reported to have the head of a frog, the face of an elephant, stout legs, a spiky, dinosaur-like back and a long tail
  • Smell is a combination of “buzzard meat and skunk perfume”

A larger-than-life representation of this fierce beast can be found outside the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, 450 W. Kemp St.”

Here’s an info-graphic that Explore Rhinelander made to simplify the Hodag!

Stay tuned because later this week I’m going to show you more Hodag-related things…even a HODAG STORE!

P.S. Wisconsin Travel Best Bets also featured me under their Wisconsin Travel Experts page! Check it out and be sure to follow all the other Wisconsin Travel Experts!

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December 6, 2018

6 Places to Visit in Middleton

There are many terrific places to travel to in Wisconsin, including Middleton. Today I’m sharing the places you must visit in this charming city from a delicious Greek restaurant to a high-end children’s store. If you missed my two previous posts about Madison’s neighboring town, you can read them here: “Mini Family Vacation to Middleton, WI” and  “Where to Stay and Dine in Middleton, WI“.

Tradition Market

Right in the heart of Middleton, there’s the most lovely children’s store I’ve ever been to. It’s called Tradition Market. This store is beautifully decorated with mobiles hanging from the ceiling, a wooden playhouse, and mid to high-end clothing. Our kids had fun playing with wooden trucks and inside the playhouse while I shopped for gifts.  

National Mustard Museum

Right near Tradition Market, there’s a famous National Mustard Museum. You can taste over 5,000 varieties of mustard, in this fun, family-friendly museum. If you are a mustard and sauce enthusiast, this place is for you! For anyone looking to spice up their travels, this is also a fun spot to stop in, as it’s free of charge!

 

 

Free House Pub

If you are looking to get a drink in Middleton, look no further than the Free House Pub. This cozy pub has a good atmosphere and a great drink menu. Whether you want a quick drink or dinner, this spot has both. If you prefer to stop in for a drink before grabbing dinner elsewhere, it’s within walking distance of Villa Dolce, which we really enjoyed.

Fontaine Home

Shop handpicked home decor and holiday items at Fontaine Home. Located at Hubbard Avenue, this store is a must see if you want to find unique gifts for the holidays. I was mesmerized by the beautiful Christmas decor and other festive home and bath items that they had in store.

 

Greenway Station

Go to the Greenway Station shopping center for fashion, home goods, and delicious food. This open mall was only 3 minutes away from our hotel, and where we had great Greek food at Freska.

Middleton Historic Museum

Built over 150 years ago, the Middleton Historic Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Middleton and the Rowley family. They lived in that house for 120 years, before their home became the museum. The museum is also located in the heart of Middleton so you won’t miss it.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this series of posts about Middleton, WI!

 

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December 6, 2018

YOUR GUIDE TO WISCONSIN’S BEST WINTER FOOD FINDS

Find restaurantsTaste the season’s best

Wisconsin restaurants serve up some of their best offerings when the snow flies. From warm and comforting dishes to must-try fresh foods that will keep all your resolutions on track, there’s a lot to love on the menu. Here are some of our favorite Wisconsin restaurants and what you should order this season.

Prime Rib Poutine, The Freehouse Pub, Middleton

The French-Canadian classic poutine is elevated to the heavens with a touch of Wisconsin supper club fare. The Freehouse Pub, a Middleton gastropub, serves up its poutine with French fries topped with melted cheese curds, shaved prime rib, house gravy and scallions.

Sicilian Steak, Al-Gen Dinner Club, Rhinelander

The Northwoods meets old Italy with this supper club classic. The Al-Gen, a culinary institution, serves up hearty meals in a rustic cabin-like atmosphere. Arrive hungry. Its Sicilian steak features two filets cooked up in a coating of bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.

Fat’s Garden Pear Quinoa, Father Fats Public House, Stevens Point

Father Fat’s Public House in Stevens Point is a must-stop in Central Wisconsin, with dishes like mini truffle grilled cheese, braised Angus beef short ribs and buttermilk-fried calamari & jalapenos. Feeling like something light? Try Fat’s Garden Pear Quinoa, made with dried cranberries, walnut goat cheese and a port wine reduction.

Fish Fry, West Bend Tap & Tavern, West Bend

The classic Wisconsin fish fry is a Friday night tradition in Wisconsin. It’s a popular choice at West Bend Tap & Tavern, a charming pub on West Bend’s Main Street. The pub has 16 rotating beers on tap, so you can find the perfect brew to toast the weekend.

Wiscmonster, The Rivers Tavern, Marshfield

This aptly named burger includes a half-pound beef patty, a quarter-pound bratwurst patty, sauerkraut and three slices of cheese. Dare to try this delicious concoction at Marshfield’s newly renovated Rivers Tavern.

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