What does a Jew do for Christmas? Well this Jew travels to cold weather (which we lack around the Bay) and enjoys the holiday in the company of his non-Jewish relations. I actually did some of the cooking for Christmas dinner this year. I made a roast turkey, gravy from turkey fat, and a Bailey’s Irish cream cheese cake.
But, how could I journey to the heartland of America, Wisconsin and not talk about beer. Now, California has a great beer culture with dozens of small craft brewers offering their wares at Whole Foods and Bev Mo. But during a quick two day run from Racine to Lone Rock took us past several small breweries, all worth the trip.
Most of these places don’t even Pasteurize their beer. This means it cannot not be stored at room temperature and therefore generally doesn’t get shipped more than an hour’s drive away. But if you ever get out to Madison, then point the car west and make a beer and cheese run.
There are at least three Breweries whose beer is worth collecting.
Furthermore, of Spring Green WI. I had two of their offerings. One was an incredibly hoppy mix called Makewieght. Which was like drinking a mix of Belgian Ale and a double IPA. The other was Three Feet Deep, which is made with peat toasted barley malt. It has an distinct flavor that is reminiscent of Isley Scotch whiskey.
Esser, which is based in Cross Plains WI and while I did not have a chance to try the beer, they do have a pretty good story. It seems that the original brewery was founded by George Esser back in 1863. The family stayed in the business ever since and spent prohibition distributing near beer for the larger breweries (Old Style, Blatz, etc) and making their own beer for local consumption. You can find the whole story on their website.