*This is the sixtieth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
Sand Creek Brewing Company
320 Pierce St
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Visit date: 06/24/16
1) How many different beers?
9 of their own plus 2 hard lemonades on tap, ~30 varieties at a given time.
2) How long operational?
1999 in Sand Creek area, 2004 in Black River Falls.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Farmer/homebrewer started in Downing, combined with Pioneer Brewing in Black River Falls. Concerning why they’re a contract brewery: “there’s a lot of pride in helping breweries get started.” –
9000 bbls to MN, WI, IL, OH in bottles & kegs.
5) What sets you apart?
One of the first to contract brew in the state.
6) How did you get your name?
Started near Sand Creek.
A large chunk of the craft beer you drink in Wisconsin comes out of a single, 150+ year old building down an old back road in a small west-central town.
Sand Creek Brewing Company is one of the original and more prolific contract brewers in the state, handling the actual brewing for a number of highly-regarded local outfits in addition to putting out their own established lineup.
From the moment you walk in the door, you know this place is focused on the brewing as much as the tasting: your entire first impression is of (some of) the brewing space, followed by a game room and an area to hang out and watch the process.
Deeper into the building, though, we found the cozy and raucous tap room. On a Friday night, this is obviously the place to be in Black River Falls. It felt like you were in the bar in a friend’s basement.
We grabbed a sampler of 8 of their own that night and mozied back into the brewing area.
First taste is buttery, taking your nose to the free popcorn nearby.
Wild Ride IPA
Let this one linger; starts as your standard IPA, but transitions to a rye-forward finish.
Double Rye’d IPA
Strong, with a bold, almost whiskey burn.
English Special Ale
Your local pub beer: the easy-drinking ale you finish six of with friends.
Bugler Brown Ale
Similar to above, but smoother and maltier.
Black River Red
Difficult to pin down between its obvious hop-bite but mellow roast.
An eyebrow-raiser: caramel and smooth.
Like drinking a coffee cake, in the best possible way.
If you can make it up there by 3:30 on a Friday, you can snag a tour of the space. It’s amazing the volume of beer that comes out of such a small space.
As Mel, our bartender and helpful guide, told us,
“We’ve got a farmer’s mindset: we make do.”
Based on our visit, Sand Creek is doing more than simply “making do”; they’re excelling at this whole brewing business.