The Valley's Brewing Boom

Nick Meyer

It’s become quite clear there’s a local microbrewery revolution taking place in the Chippewa Valley. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest beer drinker in town, but the kinds of establishments that have popped up make for highly worthy destinations whether you’re big into beer or not. In this issue we profile the newly re-tooled and re-located Northwoods Brewpub that recently re-opened its brewery and restaurant in an amazing old brick building on the outer edge of Osseo – well worth the drive. But the past year also saw a number of high-profile moves in the brewing scene throughout the valley. Lazy Monk Brewing had a re-location and substantial expansion into their new Bavarian-themed bier hall downtown on Madison Street. Besides the beer they’ve got soft and hard pretzels, root beer on tap, and plenty of space to hang out, play games, sit on the deck, or by the fire. Plus right outside they feature food trucks a couple times a week. Just a couple blocks north, the rapidly growing Brewing Projekt has their base of operations in an old warehouse/garage with a hip little outdoor seating area that occasionally features live music. And they’ve got some big expansion plans for the not too distant future. Across town K Point Brewery recently opened a great space attached to the Coffee Grounds on Eau Claire’s south side. Their grand opening last week featured live music, food, and more. In Menomonie, Lucette Brewing Company has been rocking the beer scene for a while now, but just last summer they opened a gorgeous multi-level eatery and bar serving up wood-fired pizzas and more. And just this spring in Chippewa Falls, Brewster Bros. Brewing Company (along with the Chippewa River Distillery) put some massive work into an old downtown building opening an impressive tap room with an array of snacks, featured food trucks, and some live music as well. While Leinenkugel’s has been brewing high quality beers in the Chippewa Valley for nearly 150 years, this new explosion of six relatively new and diverse microbreweries puts the Chippewa Valley right on trend with markets much larger than our own. So let’s show these guys some support. If you’ve yet to check out any of ‘em, this summer might be the right time for a little road trip. And if you see me there, I’ll buy the first round.

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