We’ve created quite a few itineraries over the years to visit each of the breweries on the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. While you can certainly use our handy-dandy GWBT Google Map (found here) to chart your own path, we thought we’d share the details of a route we used while visiting the quality members of the recently-created Central Wisconsin Craft Collective to help you craft a perfect Wisconsin fall getaway weekend.
Co-founded by the owners of O’so Brewing Company, and currently spearheaded by the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, a total of 4 breweries, 1 distillery, and 1 winery come together today to form the Collective. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Melissa and Lyn (of SPACVB and Pilch & Barnet) to learn more about how these Stevens Point-area businesses are fostering a “destination for craft beverages, authentic experiences, real people, and a connection to this lively & community-focused part of Wisconsin.”
Leave Milwaukee and drive (2.5 hours) to Sunset Point Winery for a Friday-night ‘wine-down’. This is the only stop we haven’t visited yet ourselves, but based on the samples we’ve tried and the images we’ve seen, we expect big things from this big-family run business when we visit.
Grab some dinner at any of the wonderful dining choices in Stevens Point (some suggestions here). As Melissa told us, the Craft Collective members themselves have helped “influence other parts of the community including restaurants, lifting all boats and all levels of quality along with their own.”
As for where to stay overnight: there are a plethora of hotel, camping, and bed & breakfast options. Mention that you’re in town to visit all of the Central Wisconsin Craft Collective members and you may get a special discount!
Wake up early to peruse the Portage County goods at the Stevens Point Farmers Market, Wisconsin’s oldest. This is a perfect opportunity to stroll around the historic and beautifully-maintained Mathias Mitchell Public Square. While you eat your fresh-baked breakfast from the market, the nearby Pfiffner Pioneer Park along the Wisconsin River is a great place to walk off the calories before you drink more down.
Drive to the historic Stevens Point Brewery. You can read about our recap of this historic brewery from our GWBT visit here. Make sure you call and make reservations for one of their five Saturday tours in advance: they never have space for walk-ins. We hopped on the first of the day, 11:00 AM.
A short jaunt down to Plover lands you at the O’so Brewing Company tap room, though they’re in the process of a large expansion, so your visit may look different than our own did. Regardless, expect more Wisconsin-beer options than you could ever indulge in (please, don’t try).
Drink some water. We have a long afternoon ahead.
Across the parking lot you’ll walk into the chic and inviting Great Northern Distillery. Whether you hop on a tour (1, 2, or 3 PM) or just belly up to the bar, you’re in for a treat. For sipping straight, I highly recommend their Rye Whiskey. But don’t miss ordering a cocktail from their mixologist bartenders, who put on a show crafting each unique concoction.
Out in the Amherst country, residing in a deceivingly large, modern barn-like building, is the trail blazing Central Waters Brewing Company. Our own GWBT recap showed the delicious danger of their barrel aged beer program: DDs recommended.
The final Central Wisconsin Craft Collective stop on this packed Saturday is a few miles north in tiny Rosholt: Kozy Yak Brewery. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior; this converted home packs a lot of handmade goodness into a small space. Wisconsin’s first winery/brewery, Rich Kosiec and his wife are a tag team not to be missed.
Head back to downtown Stevens Point, and if you have any room left for some more local liquid libations, pull up to the historic Elbow Room bar. Check for the specials, and always finish with a Point Special.
Drive home, happier than when you left and with a new appreciation for central Wisconsin’s collection of craft beverage makers.
Note: We were gifted samples of the above CWCC members from the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in exchange for writing this article. However, we visited and wrote about all of the breweries of our own volition prior to being approached by SPACVB, and highly encourage you to do so as well!