*This is the one-hundred and twenty-first post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
1) How many different beers?
Large selection of craft beers, 2 of their own styles.
2) How long operational?
Open for 5 years, brewing for 4.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Army veteran wanted to bring German brewpub experience to north woods.
5) What sets you apart?
Fresh food, rare craft beers.
6) How did you get your name?
Aqualand was a local zoo attraction started by the owner’s grandfather.
Boulder Junction is the “Musky Capital of the World“. When we rolled through this town of 958 people during their 61st annual Musky Jamboree, we certainly expected to encounter a fair amount of large, toothy fish and interesting folks. The fish were all stuffed and the folks pointed us in the direction of Aqualand Ale House, lucky for us on both counts.
This large, rustic cabin-like pub certainly evokes the north-woods feeling, but at the same time exudes modern and rural-chic.
Heading outside on this beautiful Saturday morning, the beer garden included a large pergola, farm-house table, and a lounge-y fire pit beneath a canopy of huge trees. Tiki torches would illuminate the way had the sun not been already lighting and warming this far northern town.
Aqualand Ale House is known for having one of the best, fresh beer selections for many miles. Both their tap and bottled, national and import choices would be lauded in Milwaukee, let alone Vilas County.
But their selection is augmented by two featured house-brews. These two beers, along with the other few they’ve made over the years, are crafted in Reedsburg by a State Fair award-winner from Sauk City; they’re exclusive to Aqualand, only served here. We gladly handled a pint of each.
Musky Spit Brown Ale
Touches of roasted walnut, sweet malt, and warming alcohol. A dry, cider-like finish.
Cold Water Cream Ale
“Yum.” Perhaps the most delicious Cream Ale I’ve ever had. Heaping, sweet milkiness that doesn’t weigh you down on the back end. Whole-body satisfying.
Owners Dick and Susie Govier were married 35 years ago at the church literally across the street from Aqualand, and Susie’s grandfather helped start Boulder Junctions’ Chamber of Commerce. As Susie put it,
“We wanted to brew something to promote Boulder Junction. We have this ‘I Am Boulder Junction’ campaign sort of thing.”
The name came from Susie’s family’s old Aqualand Zoo, which was a family-fun feature in the north woods for decades. The idea for the pub, however, came from Dick’s tours in the Army.
“We (platoon) never passed up a Culver’s or a craft beer bar when we were back home.”
The food menu seems to be as big a draw as the tap list at Aqualand. We opted for a BLT pizza, whose fresh toppings and crunchy dough we inhaled. Susie noted,
“We wanted to do something a bit different than the traditional supper club, fish fry place, which our neighbors already do really well. We don’t even have a deep fryer here.”
Aqualand Ale House is a respite in the deep north woods of Wisconsin, complete with a craft-beer and fresh-food selection you’d expect to have left behind a few hundred miles south. After a visit, you too will proudly proclaim “I Am Boulder Junction.” (The beer may help with the inhibitions.)