Chippewa Valley Craft Brewers Talk About What's Next in Local Beer

Max Martinson, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Modicum Brewing taproom
Modicum Brewing taproom

A little healthy competition benefits all of us, but support seems to be the secret ingredient in the Chippewa Valley brewing community’s success. Each new brewery benefits when one brewer succeeds at opening people up to craft beer, and we have growing support surrounding craft beer. That’s thanks to the presence of some fine brewers here in the Chippewa Valley. We’ve spoken with a few of those craft brewers and gotten their take on the Valley’s beer scene, what they are working on next, and which local beers they enjoy most. The love of beer is part of our culture in Wisconsin, and nowhere does that love run deeper than in the Chippewa Valley. Beer is as ubiquitous as cheese around here, and thanks to the skilled hands of these local brewers, we have growing access to a variety of quality brews.

Will Glass • The Brewing Projekt, Eau Claire

What is your favorite beer made by a different local brewery?

Modicum’s The Heavens.

What styles of beer are you working on next?

We’re always working on new hop-forward ales. Right now we’re working on a single-hop pale ale called “flow” that we hope to bring out in a few weeks, a zero IBU IPA using a new form of hops called “cryo hops” which will produce an extremely smooth beer with very low bitterness but huge hop aroma and flavor, as well as some new stouts we’ve never done before.

Why is it an exciting time to be brewing beer in the Chippewa Valley?

In my opinion the more craft breweries the merrier. The culture has changed so much, and we’re bringing people out to drink beer in our taprooms who’ve never had any interest in “going out.” It’s fun to have all this variety going on in one relatively small area. You can get whatever you’re looking for in terms of beer right here in the Chippewa Valley.

Eric Rykal • Modicum, Altoona

What is your favorite beer made by a different local brewery?

Geoff from Real Deal Brewing in Menomonie. Ryan (Verdon) is probably the best brewer in the area making really well-thought-out, balanced beers. Geoff is his somewhat hoppy rye ale. The rye is pretty intense but the whole beer is incredibly drinkable.

What styles of beer are you working on next?

We’re always working on new stuff at Modicum. We’ll continue to focus on European-influenced farmhouse ales and unfiltered lagers. We also continue to source as many ingredients locally as possible (including growing our own hops) to cultivate a sense of regional terroir in our beers.

Why is it an exciting time to be brewing beer in the Chippewa Valley?

It’s an exciting time to be brewing beer anywhere, but around here we have such a diverse beer scene. Everyone is brewing such a wide range of beers while at the same time staying true to their own style. We’ve all found a niche.

Theresa Frank • Lazy Monk, Eau Claire

What is your favorite beer made by a different local brewery?

There are a lot of talented brewers in western Wisconsin. … All have their own unique beers, and it is difficult to say which is a favorite. We enjoy the the passion and creativity of all our fellow brewers

What styles of beer are you working on next?

While we will continue to brew traditional European biers, we are also expanding our taps. We will have our traditional Lagers, Ales, Bocks, Sours, and Stouts tap lines but are now introducing a limited edition line which will include higher-alcohol and more robust biers. We have been inspired by the traditional biers but also are excited to brew premium recipes.

Why is it an exciting time to be brewing beer in the Chippewa Valley?

Generally people are moving away from the big breweries and discovering the craft bier market. Eau Claire has four excitingly different breweries to attract not only the local population but visitors who bring themselves specifically to Eau Claire and the surrounding areas because of the craft beer market. We are able to spotlight not only our local talented brewers but our beautiful city as well.

Lon Blaser • K Point, Eau Claire

What is your favorite beer made by a different local brewery?

The brewers at K Point like to visit our fellow Chippewa Valley craft brewers and sample their products and offerings on a regular basis. There is an amazing array of quality craft beers available in the Chippewa Valley. It would be impossible to say which is my favorite. It depends on the day, my mood, and what I am eating.

What styles of beer are you working on next?

At K Point, we have been experimenting with SMaSH beers: Single Malt and Single Hop beers. This technique allows us to showcase the flavor and aroma characteristics of the many hop varieties available to today’s craft brewers.

Why is it an exciting time to be brewing beer in the Chippewa Valley?

The beer drinkers and lovers in the Chippewa Valley are looking for flavorful beers. It’s not just the beer, it’s the overall experience. As an independent craft brewer, we welcome the challenge to provide both great beer and a satisfying encounter with our products.

Chippewa Valley Beer & Cheese is sponsored by:

Leinie Lodge
124 E Elm St.
Chippewa Falls