Potential move to central WI

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by jswitzer3, Jan 11, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    I may be moving to central WI in the next couple of months, from Santa Rosa CA. I would be 30-60 minutes west/Northwest of Madison. How easy is it to get the Chicago and northern Illinois beers? Revolution, half acre, 3 Floyd's, 18th street and lagunitas are the ones I have had before and enjoyed. I have heard of New Glarus but not had. Any others that stand out in the area?

    Thanks in advance.
    NotHereForGold likes this.
  2. flat_lander

    flat_lander Pooh-Bah (2,374) May 11, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Yes on NG! Central Waters, especially anything from their Brewer's Reserve line. Karben4. In Chicago you'll want to check out Pipeworks. Not sure what Michigan distro hits WI, but Bell's, Founders, Dark Horse, New Holland.

    I'll save some of the fun for others...
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  3. Adub1980

    Adub1980 Initiate (0) Jun 7, 2016 Wisconsin

    Sounds like you would be somewhere Between Sauk City and Reedsburg. I recommend Viking Liquor in Reedsburg, great selection
    jswitzer3 and ebunk like this.
  4. RickBelgique

    RickBelgique Crusader (401) Jul 16, 2014 Illinois

    It's about a 3 hour drive from Madison to Chicago. Though, depending upon where in Chicago you're going, the time of day, and traffic, that 3 hours can be optimistic. So add 3 hours to your 30-60 minute time to Madison.

    As to other Wisconsin beers: Three Sheeps, out of Sheboygan makes some great stuff. There's Capital Brewery, whose Autumnal Fire is phenomenal. Yes, it's available only in the Autumn. Milwaukee Brewing makes some GREAT beers. And their brewery tour is well worth the $10 price. They also have brewpubs in Milwaukee and Grafton, which serve really good food. As well as filling growlers.

    I don't know about the availability of Chicago beers around Madison. There's a Chicago area chain of liquor stores, Binny's, which carry most Chicago beers, http://www.binnys.com/. The Algonquin and McHenry stores are closest to the border. Going there would save you a lot of time and traffic, as opposed to going all the way into Chicago. Having said that, I'm sure that there's some good liquor stores in Rockford, which is a short drive over the border. I don't know Rockford well enough to recommend any liquor stores.

    I second the recommendation of Pipeworks. They make some great stuff. If you can't get the aforementioned Bell's, Founders, Dark Horse, New Holland in Wisconsin, Binny's carries them.
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  5. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Toppling Goliath out of Iowa and Surly from Minnesota are quite popular as well.
    jswitzer3 and cl3 like this.
  6. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Pooh-Bah (2,569) May 3, 2016 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    It makes little sense to regularly drive to Chicago from Madison for beer. You will not be in a beer desert by any means. Wisconsin has an excellent beer game. They get distro of Toppling Goliath who produces the arguably the best IPAs coming out of the midwest. Didn't see Ale Asylum in Madison mentioned. They are very solid and the produce the most mainstream stuff in Wisconsin.

    Also, you'll want to keep an eye out for Great Taste of the Midwest which is an amazing beer fest in Madison.
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  7. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

  8. EROCK75

    EROCK75 Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2009 Illinois

    Having said that, I'm sure that there's some good liquor stores in Rockford, which is a short drive over the border. I don't know Rockford well enough to recommend any liquor stores.

    I am from the Rockford area. Chicago beers are getting distro here better now. We have Half Acre, Rev, Pipeworks, and many others. Floyds, 18th Street, Mikerphone, and Spiteful do NOT have distro around Rockford, yet, but I'm hopeful. :wink: I would check out Everetts in South Beloit, and Artales or Woodman's in Rockford. Madison is only about an hour drive, and you can get some of what your looking for without driving all the way into Chicago.
  9. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    @jswitzer3 - Specifically responding to the beers you mentioned:
    I know that you can get Rev in Madison and Lagaunitas and 3 Floyds see distro in Wisconsin. Half Acre and 18th St. do not distribute to Wisconsin, and 18th St. just started seeing limited distro in Chicago itself.

    Wisconsin has great beer that will be available to you as well - as others have mentioned, Central Waters, New Glarus, Toppling Goliath (Iowa) all are readily available in Wisconsin. I've also heard good things about Karben4 although I've not personally had anything from them. Wisconsin also gets stuff from Founders, Bells, Ballast Point, and other big names like that.

    If you want some of the Chicago stuff, a @RickBelgique said, Binnys will be your best bet. Depending on exactly where you are in WI, you're probably 2 to 2.5 hours from the nearest Binnys in IL. But if you are taking a trip in to the city for a beer run, I'd recommend stopping in at Binnys - Lincoln Park as they always have the biggest beer selection of any Binnys. Sure its a bit farther, but they'll most likely have anything you are looking to get.
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  10. spartan3186

    spartan3186 Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2016 Maryland

    Supposedly Wisconsin is going to start seeing Half Acre distribution by the end of the month, at least Milwaukee. Daisy Cutter and Gone Away as a starting point.
    jswitzer3, ebunk and FBarber like this.
  11. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    Thanks for the great information. I made one trip to the Chicago area a few months ago and the ones I listed were the highlights. Sounds like a lot of different breweries that would be new to me.

    How well are Firestone Walker and the bruery distributed out there? They would be the two big CA breweries I think I would miss. Particularly those Firestone Walker beers in a box.
  12. A_Rad

    A_Rad Initiate (0) May 8, 2015 Wisconsin

    Firestone is in IL not WI. The Bruery is everywhere. You aren't going to miss Russian River??
  13. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Chicago sees distro of both of those. The boxed FW releases do come here, but most sell out pretty quickly so it may be harder for you to get since you'd be traveling from a distance.
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  14. aep

    aep Aspirant (228) Nov 26, 2013 Wisconsin

    Oh hey, I made this move almost three years ago.WI beer is good and all but I definitely miss CA beers.

    For stuff like Pipeworks, Firestone, and others that get IL distribution but not WI there is Everette's in South Beloit. Its less than a mile across the border from WI, its great if you don't want to drive too far into IL.
    jswitzer3 and FBarber like this.
  15. BrewUrbanist

    BrewUrbanist Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Wisconsin

    I moved to Madison from Chicago 4 months ago. Chicago's beer scene is out of control awesome (there's almost TOO MUCH good beer), but things are really solid up here. Revolution, Metropolitan and I think Off Color are here already, as others have said. Once Half Acre starts up, the only thing I'll really miss is Pipeworks...at least as far as production breweries go.
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  16. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    Well, I know I am not getting them out there, so didn't ask about them specifically. It's sad, I live 3 miles from the brewery and maybe go once a month. 2-3 hour waits on the weekend to even get in. Standing room only during the week. 45 minute wait any time to get a growler filled. And if you do get a table you have to yell to be heard by the people your with. But the beer is the best in the world....
    A_Rad likes this.
  17. CityFarmer

    CityFarmer Zealot (661) Mar 19, 2015 Illinois

    Going from being thisclose to easy supplication access to soooooo faaaaarrrrrr......Cheers to you - I don't think i'd be able to do that, lol. Nothing else to add that hasn't already been said.......the Wisco beer scene is solid.
  18. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    I'm not a sour guy. I'll miss Pliny and blind pig the most. I could buy a case of the sours on the way out and have enough to last me a couple years.
    DIPALover likes this.
  19. EvilMidnightBomber

    EvilMidnightBomber Initiate (0) Feb 12, 2015 Wisconsin

    You will not lack for good beer in the Madison area. We can't compare with Chicago (every new distro in the midwest goes there first...), but for the population size we're boxing well above our weight as it were. Between national breweries expanding distro in the area and local breweries taking off, there's a lot going on.
    Besides the breweries already mentioned, keep an eye out for Tyranena (especially anything in the Brewers Gone Wild line), Black Husky, and O'so. If you will be in or near Sauk City/Prairie Du Sac, you'll be able to enjoy the new Vintage Brewing location that's opening there this year.
    jswitzer3 likes this.
  20. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Have fun exploring !
  21. bloatednemesis

    bloatednemesis Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2015 Wisconsin

    I don't think I saw Lakefront mentioned. Not sure if a Cali guy would appreciate their excellent lagers, but their hoppy is also quite good. Their My Turn Series is always fun and some have been excellent (shout out to My Turn: Josh!) and their recent brandy barrel beers have been spectacular (shout out to Brandy Barrel Aged Cherry Lager!), they were all over 13% this year. mmmmmmmm.

    3Sheeps, Tyranena, Karben4, MKE, Ale Asylum, One Barrel, Central Waters, Next Door, Lake Louie, and O'so all have very good beers, even if not every single one is great. O'So does super fun sours and Brett beers lately. Tyranena does drinkable/affordable blended barrel aged beers, they released a ton of them this past year, and some were quite good. Central Waters is the premier barrel aging brewery in the area. Their Brewer's Reserve line is pretty affordable and quite excellent (just check out their scores on here!) They also do some bombers of great beers (I personally love De Klein Dood.)

    New Glarus, though, is king. Almost everything they do is great for it's style. They aren't into super big high alcohol stout or hop bombs, but if you look up their schedule this year, there are a few gems, beyond the great reliable sessionable ales and lagers. Black Top, which is hop forward black IPA is one of my favorite beers ever and I will be getting cases of it later this year after going three years without it. Enigma comes out very soon, and is a fantastic Oud Bruin with cherries. They have something called their "Wild Fruit Cave" and do world class Belgian Style Sours. "Strawberry Rhubarb" is coming back in the more affordable 4 packs this year, and all the sour fans around here are drooling for it. And their Staghorn Oktoberfest every year is a massive hit and sells out fast.

  22. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    Nice, I remember Daisy cutter as a good one. Wasn't able to get cans in the suit case though.
  23. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    Right now looking at Sauk City and dodgeville as the two most likely place. Job would be in spring green.
  24. jswitzer3

    jswitzer3 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2015 California

    If I have time for one stop in Madison is there a tap room, bar or bottle shop that anyone recommends?
  25. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Riley's was always popular when our son was attending UW
  26. chazmcbro

    chazmcbro Initiate (0) Sep 7, 2010 Wisconsin

    Bottle Shop: Steve's Junction Rd.
    Bar: Brasserie V
    Tap Room: Karben4

    None of these are close to each other though, unfortunately.
  27. Adub1980

    Adub1980 Initiate (0) Jun 7, 2016 Wisconsin

    I grew up in the area, if you have any recommendations feel free to reach out
  28. HawkeyeBeerLover

    HawkeyeBeerLover Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2015 Wisconsin

    I agree 100%. Steve's on University I know has gotten some things that Junction hasn't but overall I think both of those Steve's are great. Haven't made it down to the southwest one yet.
  29. spartan3186

    spartan3186 Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2016 Maryland

    There's a job in Spring Green worth moving from California for?!?! My wife's mom lives just outside of Spring Green in Arena. Personally, I couldn't even fathom living there. If I where you, I'd look in western Madison/Middleton. It's really only adding 10 miles to the commute. If you're looking for something lower key and lower cost of living, Cross Plains would be a good option. Only 10-15 minutes from everything Madison has to offer. Just my two cents.
  30. MilwaukeeNintendo

    MilwaukeeNintendo Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2015 Wisconsin

    Welcome to Wisconsin! Be prepared for some terrible winter months, but spring/summer/fall are beautiful. Wisconsin is a pretty cool state, especially if you like being outdoors, eating good food (and cheese) and drinking good beer.

    Pretty much all of the best beers in Wisconsin have been mentioned above. Two of my current favorite WI beers are Black Husky Spruce and Ale Asylum Bedlam. Take a Saturday trip and do the Lakefront Brewery tour, it is the best tour in the state, IMO. The best craft beer selection in the state is probably Ray's Wine and Spirits in Wauwatosa.

    Cheers! Oh, and be prepared for a Culvers butter burger...
    EvilMidnightBomber and Redrover like this.
  31. scream

    scream Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    Don't forget Discount Liquor they have a great store.

    Get cheese curds w that burger !
  32. toolbrew

    toolbrew Pooh-Bah (1,550) Feb 26, 2008 Indiana
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Half Acre confirmed consistent but limited Wisconsin distribution today. You'll have to check their site to see exactly where.
  33. FBarber

    FBarber Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,989) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Super Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Hello Wisconsin.
    In a few weeks, a truck of Half Acre beer will cross the border into Wisconsin, beginning a new era of consistent but limited distribution. You'll be able to find it in the following counties:

    • Kenosha
    • Racine
    • Walworth
    • Waukesha
    • Milwaukee
    • Ozaukee
    • Washington
    • Dodge
    • Green Lake
    • Fond Du Lac
    • Sheboygan
    • Manitowoc
    • Calumet
    • Winnebago
    • Outagamie
    • Brown
    • Shawano
    • Oconto
    • Marinette
    • Door
    • Grant
    • Lafayette
    • Green
    • Rock
    • Jefferson
    • Dane
    • Iowa
    • Richland
    • Sauk
    • Adams
    • Columbia
    • Kewaunee
    We've had a handful of opportunities to hoist our beer in our neighbor state and it's always felt like a good place for it. We're stoked to offer our lineup to additional ease seekers. We're going to do some events, we'll announce when they're set.

    ~ HABC
    NotHereForGold likes this.
  34. HawkeyeBeerLover

    HawkeyeBeerLover Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2015 Wisconsin

    I'm curious as to what all they'll be bringing in. I actually wasn't the biggest Daisy Cutter fan but I'm still excited to try their other stuff.
  35. BrewUrbanist

    BrewUrbanist Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Wisconsin

    My guess would be just the core year-round cans to start: Daisy Cutter, Pony, LeadFeather, Akari, GoneAway and (hopefully) Navaja. Even in Chicago, the bottled stuff is a pretty limited distro in my experience. They also just started canning Space, their house IPA, so maybe that'll find its way to WI as well.
    FBarber likes this.
  36. EvilMidnightBomber

    EvilMidnightBomber Initiate (0) Feb 12, 2015 Wisconsin

    Steve's Junction is your best bet on the west side. Great selection, friendly staff, and they have a great singles selection (every shop in town does mixed 6ers, but Steve's is one of the few that does singles of limited\premium stuff, which I appreciate).
    I would the reccomend the Old Fashioned as a good bar to visit for someone new to town; it's at the very center of downtown, so a pain to get to, but they have a huge local tap list and pretty good food too.
    chazmcbro and HawkeyeBeerLover like this.
  37. Vav

    Vav Savant (1,013) Jul 27, 2008 Illinois

    Don't do it!
    chazmcbro likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.