*This is the one-hundred and thirty-second post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
1) How many different beers?
12 on tap.
2) How long operational?
Founded in 1852, operational until 1972. Reopened in 2008 as a non-profit.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Founded as a small-town brewer, re-opened to revive the town and brewing history.
Most national markets.
5) What sets you apart?
Non-profit; all profits to charity.
6) How did you get your name?
Town in which it resides.
The tiny Potosi Creek trickles through its namesake town and down a picturesque ravine, winding its way steadily towards the mighty Mississippi River. For a brief span, the creek passes inconspicuously beneath a collection of 19th century buildings, where for the past 160 years its flowing waters have sidetracked to the Potosi Brewing Company brewing kettles and fermentation tanks.
Potosi Brewing Company has always slugged out of its weight-class; though located in a town of only 675 folks, the original brewery eventually became the 5th largest in Wisconsin before hitting tough times in the ’70s and closing shop. Through a series of fortunate happenstance, Potosi reopened in 2008 with ambitions as high as they had been the previous centuries:
Step 1: Form a non-profit organization to revive the classic brand and refurbish the historic campus, with 100% of the beer profits going to charity. Check.
Step 3: Become a stop along the Mississippi as a Great River Road Interpretive Center and supplement that with its own Beer Transportation Museum. Check.
Step 4: Upgrade the brewing capability to a state-of-the-art 40 barrel brewhouse next door. Check.
After exploring the historic campus, we sat down for a few brews:
Good Old Potosi Golden Ale
Sharp bubbles, but mellowed with a woody, almost creamy golden taste.
Nosey, with a bitter butteriness. Would mate well with an pub grub.
Grapefruit Hefe-Kettle Sour Wheat Ale with Fruit
Intense citrus, with overwhelming tartness but inviting levels of sour.
Heavy on the hop taste, but balanced with a lingering malt sweetness.
Irish Hooley Ale
A throwback, with old-growth wood tones and caramel malt.
Candy-sweet alcohol levels, but a friendly copper malt palate.
Shot Tower Espresso Stout
A serious jolt of espresso, with a not-unpleasant gritty coffee bean impression.
It’s almost inconceivable that so much can be contained between the two towering hills flanking little Potosi Creek, whose water can still be seen flowing underfoot as you walk into the on-site brewpub. But Potosi Brewing Company embodies small-town Wisconsinites perfectly: traditional, dedicated, and with way more to offer than expected.
As a not-so-aside, this part of Wisconsin is jaw-dropping gorgeous. Before even stepping foot inside Potosi Brewing, we spent some time walking around the grounds. It was breathtaking: all Wisconsinites should make a visit to this corner of the state (not just for beer-related reasons).