Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Surprise: Woodman Brewery

When I travel Wisconsin, I enjoy to take the back roads.  Not only is the landscape more beautiful, but sometimes you'll find something unexpected and wonderful.  Case in point: Woodman Brewery.

I was driving from Prairie du Chein to Madison one day when I started to get a little peckish.  I knew I should've grabbed a muffin from the breakfast bar at the hotel, but I was in a rush.  As I drove down Highway 133, the Wisconsin River flowing to my left, the gentle forested hills of the Driftless to my right, I approach the hamlet of Woodman.  And there, right in the middle of town, as if to answer all my prayers is the Woodman Brewery.  I opened the screen door and walked in to an empty horseshoe bar.  At the other side of the room is the brewhouse--if you can call it that.  It was barely more than a walled-off kitchen with some large kettles on a stove.  This made One Barrel Brewing look like New Glarus.  Looking around, this is your typical small-down dive.  Electronic dart boards, pool table, big-screens for the Packers.  But the beer on draught was a step up.  Not a Michelob to be found.  Only the mad brews of a beer-frenzied mind.


Suddenly, I'm greeted by Dennis Erb, the owner/brewer/frenzied mind of the operation.  I sit down, he grills up a mighty tasty burger, and we start chatting about the beer.  Dennis is pushing for a more unusual line-up.  At Woodman, you'll find beers such as a red ale infused with rose pedals, a white stout, and a rye-based IPA.  A lot of his beer feature infused flavors: peanut butter porter, jalapeno blonde, molasses bock, French onion saison, and a teriyaki rice lager.  Some of these flavors were a bit awkward but the ones that worked, worked really well.    For a town of 132, this was a serious operation.  All-in-all, Dan has 16 available on draft.  I made sure to bring home a sixer.


Woodman Brewery might not be the most upscale brewpub in Wisconsin, but it sure was a welcome sight for a beer-loving, road-weary traveller looking for lunch.  It's good to know that small towns in Wisconsin are starting to go back to the old ways of supporting the local brewer.  After all, isn't variety the spice of life?








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