In 2022 we had plans to visit our friend’s house on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, but ended up cancelling. Determined to visit, we re-scheduled for August 2023, first flying into Chicago and renting a car, then driving the 3.5 hours into Wisconsin to visit for three days, before returning to the Chicago suburbs for a weekend with family.
Friends that used to live in Chicago (thanks Kerri and Dave!) tipped us off to the Brat Stop, just off the interstate a few miles into Wisconsin, so we stopped there for a late lunch. The parking lot was huge! So was the inside, with lots of tables plus a small stage. We split a two-brat platter, selecting the smoked (Eric) and a cheese (Leandra), plus tots and sauerkraut (excellent), and paired those with a New Glarus raspberry tart and Edmund Fitzgerald porter for Leandra. Overall really good, definitley worth a stop.
Across the street was a massive Woodman’s Market, so we stopped in for a few items and found out they only take cash, debit, or Discover cards!
Two hours of driving later we arrived at our friend’s lake house. The views were gorgeous.
We also got to see Leandra’s father’s dog Al, who was quite happy to see us!
The rest of the evening was spent catching up, including a short sunset cruise and our first taste of a Wisconsin Brandy Sweet.
For breakfast we went to Mud Creek Coffee. I got the baked oatmeal (not much raspberry) and Leandra ordered an egg wrap. We got lucky and scored an outdoor table which let us enjoy the nice morning air.
During breakfast we decided to check out Green Bay, only a 45 min drive away. After a quick drive around Lambeau Field we stopped at Titletown, checking out the new park they’ve built across the street from the stadium.
Hinterland Brewing is part of the Titletown complex, so we grabbed a table outside and tried some of their offerings. I tried both sours – the standard Kettle Sour was too oaky, while the Wiscransin had a nice cranberry note, though not very sour. Leandra tried a sample size of the Dubbel Decker Bus and a full pour of the Weizenbock (both were fine though she found the dubbel a bit too sweet).
Further into Green Bay is Titletown Brewing – it’s a little weird, but Titletown Brewing isn’t in Titletown. Anyway, the roof patio was closed, but inside was open so we grabbed stools at the bar. This time it was a blueberry lemon sour for me, and the cocoa loco for Leandra, both better than Hinterland. The bartender was super friendly and we had the place mostly to ourselves.
By happenstance the weekly farmer’s market was just opening one block away, so we explored the surprisingly large street market which featured lots of flowers and vegetables, plus an array of food trucks. Leandra found a pair of earrings, plus a raw buttermilk blue cheese. I’m surprised she didn’t get one of the many bouquets of flowers available!
That evening we tried Roepke’s Village Inn, a traditional Wisconsin supper club, in Chilton. We started in the bar with a Wisconsin brandy sour for me, and a Scotch sweet for Leandra. A few minutes later we were seated. The salad bar was a nice start, followed by Wiener Schnitzel with roasted potatoes for me, and Tenderloin Tips a la Deutsch for Leandra. Everything was delicious, and a fun local experience.
After a morning spent lounging by the lake, we piled into the car and checked out several breweries around Lake Winnebago.
First up was Lion’s Tail Brewing Co., in Neenah. I had the Pucker Patch which had so much fruit that it drank like a smoothie, very nice. Leandra got the Moo-waukee, a tasty milk stout. We also tried Dot’s pretzels, found in most of the breweries on our trip.
Next we tried Fifth Ward brewing, in Oshkosh – Unfortunately for me they were out of two sours, and I didn’t like the one on draft. However, they did have Cherry Limefeld in a can – props to the Seinfeld styling – and it was quite tasty. Leandra got a 6oz pour one of the three 15% barrel aged stouts on draft, strong but delicious. The shaded back of the brewhouse had lots of seating options too.
Our last brewery of the day was McFleshman’s Brewing Co., in Appleton. The interior is styled like an English pub, with dark wood and small snugs. Outside they have a concrete patio with multiple seating options. The Waltzing Cherries Kriek beer immediately called to me, while Leandra (surprisingly) opted for the Leizy Hazy IPA with coconut and pineapple.
Needing dinner we walked down the street to Victoria’s Italian Cuisine – this restaurant serves truly enormous portions, each plate has to be at least 3-4 servings! My baked rigatoni was quite nice, but Leandra’s pistachio gnocchi was great, lots of pistachio flavor. We each brought at least 2/3 home. Since the next day was Leandra’s birthday we also got a free slice of carrot cake.
On Friday morning we headed back to Chicago, stopping at Woodman’s again for cheaper gas and to grab a kringle, a famous Wisconsin pastry, on our way!