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BEER: RARE, DOMESTIC
The Place: New Glarus, Wisconsin
The Poison: American microbrews such as raspberry ales, Wisconsin malts, and Belgian reds, all inspired by German brewing traditions
The Buzz: New Gla-where? Trust us: This bucolic retreat of rolling hills, Norman Rockwell–worthy farms, and pasturelands is also known as Swiss Town, with architecture, food, and chocolate all taking their cues from the Alps. But beer lovers are more interested in another European influence here: the German one. This is the home of the very small, very personal, very wonderful New Glarus Brewing Company, which handcrafts its beers in homage to the German brewers who first brought beer to Wisconsin.
Down the Hatch: Consider this the best beer in a state built on beer ("Schlemiel, schlemazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"). New Glarus owners Dan and Deb Carey use local fruits and barleys in their seasonal beers, and they're not afraid to get a bit out there, putting coffee into stout or a bit of corn into a farmhouse ale called Spotted Cow. Not surprisingly, they've made loads of true converts, and locals are mad for the stuff. Sadly, distribution doesn't extend beyond state lines—that's what happens when the operation is so small. But you can buy plenty at the brewery, and also take a self-guided tour.
Sleep It Off: You'll want a quiet place with a porch for enjoying those New Glarus brews. Little Sugar River Farm is a pitched-roof guest house with an expansive feeling of rural ease nestled among 2,000 acres of wildlife refuge. You can cook for yourself or have the owners whip up something with local cheeses—and microbrews, of course. And so you don't feel too out of touch, the Farm is equipped with Wi-Fi, and The New Yorker and Sunday New York Times are delivered weekly.
Drink at Home: Sorry, but for those New Glarus brews, you really will have to visit Wisconsin. Almost every state has its own standouts, though. It's worth looking out for Oregon's sublime Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale, available in 12 Western states, and Pennsylvania's Victory Prima Pils, a delicious pilsner, sold throughout much of the East.
New Glarus Brewing Co.
Tel: 608 527 5850
Little Sugar River Farm
Tel: 608 862 2212
$200 per couple (two night minimum)