Please join us as we venture off the grid for something different (from a random Friday night recommendation at Dubuque Food & Wine). We made a surprise day trip drive to New Glarus, Wisconsin to enjoy a Top Ten brewery and authentic Swiss cooking.
New Glarus wisconsin – beer and swiss food
For our third and final day at the beloved Annual Dubuque Food and Wine Festival, we decided to venture off the map and do something different (based on a random Friday night recommendation): drive to New Glarus, WI to visit the brewery and eat an authentic Swiss dinner!
“Deborah Carey is recognized as being the first woman in the United States to found and operate a brewery: New Glarus Brewing Company.”
Good Morning, Hotel Julien
Waking up in our wonderful room at the Hotel Julien, I switched on the T.V. – only to once again feel bombarded with the wall-to-wall presidential election coverage of Donald J. Trump vs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. That alone confirmed that it was time for us to get away and leave the rest of the world to the chatter, speculation, and buzz. (Especially after all that wonderful food and wine tasting), it was time for us to hit the road and create our own adventure!
Caroline’s Restaurant – Breakfast Of Champions
As we walked into the Hotel Julien elevator and pressed the ‘going down’ button to go to Caroline’s Restaurant, I was already super excited to repeat order their “Hearty Classic” Main Street Platter – fresh buttermilk biscuits smothered in thick homemade sausage gravy, a heap of crispy hash browns, topped with a giant helping of eggs cooked any style and hot dripping cheddar cheese sauce. It’s breakfast heaven!
Van’s Liquor Store “Just Over The Bridge”
After every wine tasting comes wine buying – and the place to make that happen is at Van’s Liquor Store. Last year we made the mistake of not checking out the discounts and deals being offered by the event distributor (plus complimentary mimosas), but this year we did it right. Not only does Van’s Liquor Store stock an incredible selection of wine, liquor, and spirits at great prices, but the owner that runs the place is super cool; Meet Jeff Jansen, and his wife, Megan.
Right as we walked in we were greeted and recognized as Dubuque Food & Wine attendees. First, Megan asked if we preferred “Mimosa or Bloody Mary.” I simply said, “Yes.” Then, Jeff offered me a healthy sip of locally distilled Blaum Bros. Hellfyre vodka. Oh, wow, that jalapeno infusion is hot! Next, they asked if we like Wisconsin Cheese Curds. We didn’t know, and we were already considering a day trip to Wisconsin – but after snacking on some that incredible “squeaky cheese,” it was official. We finished our shopping, thanked Jeff and Megan, loaded the car, and charted a course for New Glarus, Wisconsin.
New Glarus, Wisconsin – Famous Swiss Village
When you look at the map from Dubuque to New Glarus, it really doesn’t look that far, because you might assume much of it would be interstate or at least divided two-lane highway. While it’s certainly a beautiful drive through wooded fields and Wisconsin countryside, it is far – and takes considerable time to get there. I’d estimate over 50 miles of it (Highways 151 and 39) is single lane curvy farm road – which is important to keep in mind so you can plan accordingly. Needless to say, when we got there, we were ready to taste some world-renowned beer!
New Glarus Brewing Company – “Drink Indigenous”
It is a rare treat to find a location as unique and special as New Glarus Brewing Company. Not only is the beer fantastic, the property and views amazing, but the story of the co-owners (and husband and wife team) Dan and Deborah Carey will leave you wanting to learn more about brewing, drink local beer more often, and become a New Glarus fan for life.
There are plenty of opportunities for taking great photos while casually strolling the grounds of New Glarus Brewing Company – while cradling a souvenir glass of finely crafted beer. Spotted Cow is definitely “fun, fruity and satisfying” while Moon Man offers “a bright bold blend of five hops.” Unfortunately, we were unable to fit in a tour of the brewery on this trip because we didn’t budget correctly for the long drive, but some day we certainly hope to return. New Glarus Brewing Company is the kind of place you could spend a whole afternoon wondering why you didn’t go to college to become a brewmaster.
Glarner Stube – Best Authentic Swiss Dinner
After sipping handcrafted beer in the fresh Wisconsin breeze, it was time to head back to town for an authentic Swiss dinner. Upon great recommendation, we were seated at a table inside of the New Glarus restaurant Glarner Stube (the German word “stube” means “room” in English).
We began our feast with Fried Cheese Curds – beer battered, deep fried and melted in the center – served with two dipping sauces: catsup and onion cream sauce. For our entrees, we ordered their famous Sauerbraten (tender flank stank with brown gravy) and Schnitzel (veal cutlets, breaded and pan fried). We also ordered their traditional side dish, Roesti (Swiss fried potatoes with baked in Swiss cheese) as well as a full side of Sauerkraut (served with onion cream sauce).
I don’t know where to start, but first let me say that Glarner Stube’s sauerkraut with onion cream sauce is literally the best sauerkraut either of us had ever eaten in our whole lives! (I can’t imagine why Sauerkraut isn’t served in onion cream sauce everywhere). The sauerbraten was so tender and with a dollop of the sauerkraut, it was heaven. The schnitzel was classic fantastic and the roesti made me feel like I was traveling overseas. With all that food, I could hardly finish my beer. What an amazing Swiss banquet!
Another Tasting Adventure For The Books
By the time we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, the sun had dropped down behind the thick Wisconsin treeline. We drove back to the tunes of Micheal Buble covering hits like “Fever,” “Moondance,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” We saw tractors with their high beam headlights as they worked the farm land in the darkness. We saw some deer along the side of the road, and we drove through the sleepy center of town at Mineral Point.
We knew we would soon see the lights of the city, of the hotel, and of our TV. That’s what makes getting off the grid for the afternoon such a treat. To see, taste, smell, hear and touch some of the wonderful hidden secrets of Wisconsin reminded me of how lucky we are to enjoy this large amazing country of ours. Another incredible trip in the books…