*This is the one-hundred and nineteenth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
1) How many different beers?
11 of their own on tap.
2) How long operational?
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Owner was brewing for another place, another owner was local. The space used to be a Boys and Girls Club.
In-house or at nearby Granite Peak ski hill.
5) What sets you apart?
Classically-trained chef, “meticulous” about beer and food.
6) How did you get your name?
Name came from symbol, which is taken from a recurring villain on the classic Jonny Quest cartoon.
We left our 9-5’s Friday night in Milwaukee and drove about 3 hours straight, bypassing our hotel and opting instead to have our first taste of Wausau be Red Eye Brewing Company.
When we arrived, there were exactly two seats open in the whole place, so we plopped our butts down in them at the bar quickly. Sitting beside us was local Chicago-transplant and avid mug-club member, Brad. Between Brad and our bartender, Seth, we got the lay of the land quickly.
The bicycles hanging from the ceiling, for example, allude to the area’s avid bike culture. In fact, Red Eye is “a jump-off center for (biking) clubs.” Though we came in on 4 wheels instead of 2, we still felt entitled to a full-flight of their beers.
Bloom Belgian-style Wheat
A fresh bed of wildflowers meets the tongue, but not the nose. Finishes bubbly & sweet.
Embolden Belgian Golden Ale
Satisfyingly sweet, with a malty mouthfeel in an otherwise light drinker.
Red Eye “Vienna” Amber Lager
An unexpected mustiness greets the first taste, with a lasting almond wash.
Man Pants German-style Kolsch
Ticky-tacky, lip-smacky. An interestingly dry beer.
Scarlet 7 Belgian Dubbel
“Ooo, this Dubbel tho…” Sickly-sweet; apricot and licorice and Juicy Fruit gum.
Fast Eddy’s Belgian-style Pale Ale
A beer’s beer: simple in execution, with a hidden hop head on the back end.
Leans hoppier rather than malty, but manages to convey that rusty, burnt toast taste I look for in APAs today.
Trail Candy Golden APA
A hopped-up Golden Ale, no doubt. Gateway to hoppier beers.
There are windows into the brewing area, and the kitchen itself is open to the dining area. It’s obvious both are meant to be seen, as Seth told us,
“We are very meticulous about 1) our beer and 2) our food.”
While we did not order any food off the menu, we were probably the only folks in there that didn’t. According to Seth, REBC’s current chef is from Colorado, classically trained in French cuisine.
“He changed the food culture here (in Wausau).”
Besides the food and beer, Brad made sure Seth’s northwoods humbleness didn’t let us leave without knowing,
“He’s (Seth) not going to say this, but Red Eye’s got the best service in town. We judge other places by it.”
As we were headed out, Brad left us with a final thought:
“Wausau is the south gate of the nort’ woods.”
If Red Eye Brewing Company’s delicious beer and dedication to high-end food is simply the gate, I can’t wait to see what the rest of these here nort’ woods have in store for us.