*Welcome to the first post in what will be an on-going chronicle of what I am dubbing the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour (trademark-pending). This will be a personal journey with the goal of visiting every single brewery in the sudsy state of Wisconsin. I want to highlight the uniqueness of each, as well as point out the connecting thread that brewing is throughout this region. Each stop I make I will ask the same questions, take some pictures, and make observations. I’ll then bring you along, in order, through posts on this blog. Follow with me and of course feel free to visit on your own.*
Door County Brewing Company
2434 County Hwy F
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202
Visit date: 07/15/14
1) How many different beers? 4 on tap, 9 released in total
2) How long open? Began operations May 2013
3) Why? (here, this, etc) Owners live in Sister Bay (nearby), they were homebrewers
4) Distribution? Beer currently brewed and bottled by Sand Creek, sold around the state. 2014 goal is 27 barrels (this seems low, may have meant 27 barrels per batch).
5) What sets you apart? “Good beer.” “Our unique styles, a lot inspired by old Belgian recipes.”
I couldn’t have asked for a better starting point for my GWBT journey. Door County Brewing Company is located in the north woods just off the main street in Baileys Harbor. Open just barely a year, this small outfit is already serving up interesting and impressive beer in a homey little tap room (check out the pictures below). Our server was extremely friendly, as were the other people joining us for some pints. I got their sampling flight, which that day featured 4 of their beers for $2 a pop.
Their lightest beer, a Witbier (ABV 5.4%) that I found easy to drink with plenty of citrusy notes and nicely cloudy. Think a higher-class Blue Moon.
A standard Farmhouse Ale (6.8%), which are quickly becoming one of my go-tos, this brew was also easy to drink but offered an interesting dichotomy between hops and malt.
Biere de Seigle:
The more mature brother of Pastoral, here we had a Rye Farmhouse Ale (7.0%). The rye added yet another interesting aspect to the already malty/hoppy conglomerate. Unique but approachable, this was my favorite.
Their Porter (5.3%) was dark, with definite hints of roasted chocolate and caramel. Our resident Guinness-snob gave it his toast-of-approval.
I had the opportunity to talk with 2/3 of this family-affair while there. Door County is run chiefly by a father and his two sons (though I was told not to discount the mother), all of whom were obviously invested in creating quality product. They put in the effort and are in this business to make the best beer possible. While they’ve been contracting their brewing to Sand Creek for the last year, I was told their own brewery is almost complete in the basement of the old feed mill now housing the tap room (which also leads to the feed-truck on their logo). It’s a definite Door County stop.