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July 15, 2009

Midwest Trip Part 3: Woodman's Food Market, New Glarus and Founders Brewing Company

We left Minnesota Sunday afternoon with an end-goal of getting to Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI by midnight. We very much wanted to make a stop at Woodman's Food Market in Madison, WI, based on excellent BeerAdvocate reviews and the fact that they claimed to have a wide array of New Glarus beers that aren't available outside of Wisconsin.

I've already posted about it, but Woodman's is HUGE. Huuuuuuuuuuge. With limited time, we had to quickly peruse through the vast selection to find the best beers we wouldn't be able to get at Founders or Bell's, which unfortunately made us skip over the Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock which wasn't available at the Bell's General Store. Either way, we purchased a large amount of New Glarus including 12oz bottles of Dancing Man Wheat, Fat Squirrel Ale, Unplugged Bohemian Lager, Unplugged Imperial Saison, and 750ml bottles of Wisconsin Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. That's a lot of beer! We were immediately concerned about how we were going to be able to fit Bell's and Founders into the car too. But we pressed on.

We arrived at Founders just after midnight. As much as we loved Three Floyds, Founders was an even cooler place. First of all, it's gigantic. It has to easily be 10 times the size of FFF, with a huge bar, outdoor seating and a stage for bands to play on. Unfortunately (I feel like I've had to use that word quite a few times in this series), we got there after the kitchen closed, so we were not able to partake in the supposedly awesome pub food. But what a great space Founders is. It definitely made me want to move to Grand Rapids. Oh, did I mention they have insanely awesome beer? Check out their tap list while we were there (click to embiggen):

Kentucky Breakfast Stout!? Quite possibly my favorite beer of all time. CANADIAN Breakfast Stout?! Crazy. Having either of these beers on tap is pretty much once in a lifetime opportunity for an east coaster.

I started with the Canadian Breakfast Stout, which was A+ (BeerAdvocate users seem to agree) and then had the Sweet Darkness and the Maple Mountain Brown. I also shared with Jeff, who had the Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aged Red's Rye. The only real problem we had with this wonderful experience was that our palates were blown out by the second beer. That doesn't mean they weren't great though.

I think we left sometime around 1:30 or so, and it felt like we were the only people left in there. We got some Double Trouble and Porter to go, mainly because the other beers they had to-go are usually able to be found in NJ. We crashed for the night at the Radisson in Grand Rapids and geared up for one more day of driving and one last beer destination: Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.

Midwest Trip Part 4 coming soon!

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