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Minhas Craft Brewery

Minhas Craft Brewery is the oldest brewery in Wisconsin. It’s also the second oldest in the nation and yet still one of the ten largest breweries in the country. Minhas originally opened as the Monroe Brewing Company way back in 1845. Ownership changes led to name changes; by 1906 it was the Blumer Brewing Company, and in 1947 it became the Joseph Huber Brewing Company. As Huber, the brewery produced popular Midwestern beer brands including Berghoff (which included a relationship with the famous Chicago restaurant), Huber, and Augsburger. It stayed as Huber until 2006.

Some tumult with ownership resulted in changes to the brands and then massive contract brewing arrangements. That led to the brewery producing and exporting a large volume of beer to Canadian markets for Ravinder and Manjit Minhas, who purchased and re-named the brewery in 2006. Under their direction, the brewery has expanded further and some original brands were brought back, along with a line of flavored malt beverages and sodas.

Beers brewed in Monroe by Minhas still include Huber Premium and Bock. They brew a line of Boxer beers and Mountain Crest, a big brand in Canada. Others include Lazy Mutt Farmhouse Ale, 1845 Pils, a Swiss Amber (saluting Monroe as “Swisstown”), and several malt beverages. Minhas also produces a line of specialty sodas named after its era as Blumer’s from back in the day. They’ve also contracted with old-school brands like Rhinelander.

Tours begin and end at the Lazy Mutt Lounge; they last 45-60 minutes and are available seven days a week, always at 1pm and then also 11am and 3pm on select days. The $10 tour includes a take-home pack of four beers, a soda, and a branded sampler glass.

The brewery’s lower level features the Herb and Helen Haydock World of Beer Memorabilia Museum. It is the largest museum of its kind, featuring hundreds of brewery advertisements from the past, Lithographs and prints from the mid 1800-era. The museum also holds a collection of tap handles, growlers, model cars, trucks and trains from all around the world.

You’ll find the Minhas Craft Brewery is just southwest of Monroe’s downtown square, with Highways 11, 59, 69, and 81 all nearby.

A State Trunk Tour-recommended pairing with the Minhas Brewery Tour is Monroe’s town square. Just a few blocks north, you can admire the beautiful Green County Courthouse and check out Baumgartner’s, a longtime local favorite cheese shop and tavern. There, sandwiches from salami & brick to limburger are devoured regularly along with a variety of craft beer favorites.

Minhas Craft Brewery Address:

1208 14th Avenue
Monroe, WI 53566
(800) 233-7205

New Glarus Brewing Company

New Glarus is now known for Spotted Cow as much as its Swiss heritage. The New Glarus Brewery opened in 1993 along Highway 69 just north of the village center; by 2010, a newer, larger facility opened on a hilltop just south of the village center, also along Highway 69. The original brewery is still there and easily spotted, although closed to the general public; the newer brewery – called the Hilltop, creatively enough – features tours, a large gift shop, and a patio overlooking the town as you imbibe in their creations.

newglarusbrewtopNew Glarus Brewing Company is best known for their flagship beer, Spotted Cow.  While only legally allowed to be sold in Wisconsin, it’s been smuggled all over the country; a bar in Manhattan was once busted for selling it. Other popular New Glarus brands include Moon Man, Totally Naked, Moon Man, Two Woman, Cabin Fever, Raspberry Tart, and Wisconsin Belgian Red, which is made with Door County cherries. Additional seasonal and specialty beers are made throughout the year.

Tours are available seven days a week from 10am-4pm; self-guided tours are free. More involved “hard hat” tours runs Fridays at 1pm; they cost $30, run three hours and include both breweries plus a private beer and cheese pairing afterward.  The Gift Shop and Tasting Room are open all week from 10am-4pm.

2400 State Highway 69
New Glarus, WI 53574
(608) 527-5850