*This is a reflection by editor, Katie, about the on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
“We’re trying to go to every brewery in the state of Wisconsin over the next few years”
This is a phrase Joe and I use to start the conversation at every GWBT visit, it’s been said to most friends and nearly all acquaintances. We generally get one of the following responses:
- Doubt & Uncertainty. We get a look that says something along the lines of ‘there’s a lot of breweries.. I’d be shocked if they could do it’ or ‘man, these two drink way more than I thought…’
- Respect. This is usually a head nod, followed by “Wow, that’s awesome” or “Man, that’s a rough job!”
The GWBT has been a defining hobby for Joe and I for nearly two years – and for the past 11 months, we’ve averaged one brewery per week. At this point, I can’t remember whose idea it was, but I consider us lucky to have a common interest that has fueled such a fun hobby.
We’ve learned A LOT about brewing, beer history, and the beer industry along the GWBT. Our take-away lessons:
- We appreciate well-made beer, even if it doesn’t cater to our palate. We’ve tried over 300 different beers, so I promise we can distinguish well-made beers from those that are still maturing.
- We don’t have any expectations when we walk into a place. We’ve been to a self-proclaimed “dive bar brewery“, a garage that has been turned into a brewery, a brewery in an old water mill, a brewery that turns into a nightclub, the big-daddy-of-them-all – you get the idea. Even though beer is the common theme, each location has a unique atmosphere: Wisconsin’s brewing industry is incredibly diverse.
- Meeting and talking with people is our favorite part. We’ve met so many friendly, passionate people who have been willing to share their knowledge, experiences, and love for beer with us.
Lastly, the responses to a few of our frequently asked questions:
- Are you home brewers?
No. We enjoy trying the beers everyone else makes, and frankly it keeps us pretty busy! At this point in our lives, we’d rather leave it up to the experts.
- Is The Squeaky Curd your full-time job?
No. I work full-time as an Occupational Therapist and Joe is a full-time engineer specializing in project management. We started The Squeaky Curd and the GWBT as a hobby.
- How many breweries are there?
Check out our Wisconsin Brewery Map; there are currently over 150, but we include contract breweries, some of which do not have locations we can visit.
- How do you visit all these breweries?!
We live in Milwaukee and generally take day or weekend trips to different parts of the state; we try to visit 2-4 breweries when we dedicate a night or day for a GWBT trip. Luckily we have lots of friends who like to join us on our brewery treks, so it fits well into our social calendar!
- Do you tour every brewery?
No. We’ve got a pretty good understanding of the brewing process, so we generally visit to try the beer and talk to the staff. We usually split a sampler of all the house brews, and always have a DD.
- What’s your favorite brewery?
That’s like asking us to choose a favorite child. We each have a list of memorable ones that stick out to us or that we go out of our way to mention to people. Mine includes (in no particular order): Door County Brewing Company, Biloba Brewing Company, Knuth Brewing Company, Raised Grain, & MKE Brewing Company.
More questions for us? Ask them here.
[Note that this article was edited by Joe and is not an accurate reflection of the superb editing capabilities of The Squeaky Curd staff (i.e. Katie).]