After the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub we drove about 20 minutes to the New Glarus Brewing Co. In my opinion this is the best brewery in Wisconsin (and it seems the only one open for tours on the sabbath). While once you could buy New Glarus in Illinois (and I imagine the surrounding states) they have reverted back to their original decision to only sell in Wisconsin. Therefore, we stocked up.
We walked in to the store front and immediately partook in a tasting. $3.50 for about 7 oz. of three different beers and a nice glass to take home. Quite a deal. We then took the self-guided tour which is free and includes a headset with a recorded tour guide. You can wander around fairly freely. I regret that we had to go on a Sunday when people weren't actually working the brewery/bottlery, but it was still neat.
The first room has two large onion shaped stuctures. In one I believe the wort is made and in the other it ferments. (I like this picture because you can see Molly and I in the reflection.)
The grains are pumped outside to be recycled after they are they are used in the wort (correct me if I am messing this up anyone). The grains can then be used as livestock feed.
We then walked past the chemistry and microbiology labs and into a room with these two huge, gorgeous barrels, which I presume are for frementing (perhaps their lambics?). I didn't get the best picture because of the ceiling lights and the window between me and the room, but I thought they were very impressive.
Finally we walked through the areas where kegging and bottling occur. This portion took up more space then the rest of the brewery combined. Quite an operation. After our tour it was nearing closing time, but we decided we should go for another tasting round, which we did. We asked how many people have two tastings and the nice, but slightly unamused young woman replied, "It hasn't happened before." At that we purchased lots of beer and a few gift shop items and took our delinquent selves home. (Go to their website to learn more about their various beers).
Here is the birthday boy. I think we all had a really great time exploring Wisconsin. I also think John was happy to find himself stuffed with beer and mustard rather than abandoned in a rural Wisconsin field, as was his first guess concerning our surprise destinations.