Monroe, Wis.

27 Nov

Christopher and I met in Monroe, Wis., in 2006. He was a sports reporter and I was a news reporter for the Monroe Times, a small six-days-a-week paper in a small, rural town in southwestern Wisconsin. We left the area for bigger and better things and haven’t been back in quite a while.

Monroe is quintessential Wisconsin. Its lush, rolling countryside is dotted with dairy farms and cheese factories. Its signature festival, Cheese Days, which is held only in even-numbered years, is a celebration of all things Swiss, cheese and beer. It oozes gemütlichkeit.

On a whim, Christopher and I returned to our old stomping grounds this past weekend.

We started with a spin through the Christkindlmarkt, an old-world-style holiday marketplace, at Turner Hall, and bought an adorable Wisconsin-shaped cutting board.

IMG_20121124_201359

We walked around the downtown square and popped into Chocolate Temptation for coffees and chocolates.

20121124_140007

We took the tour at Minhas Craft Brewery, the second-oldest continually operating brewery in the country.

20121124_145721

The tour, which costs $10, starts in the Lazy Mutt Lounge, where we enjoyed a couple samples and some popcorn. We watched a 10-minutes video about the brewery, then we followed our tour guide through the brewery, from the brewhouse to the bottling, canning and packing building and back to the lounge.

Minhas

IMG_20121124_150628

The tour includes access to the Herb & Helen Heydock World of Beer Memorabilia Museum, too. We enjoyed looking through the three rooms of advertisements, coasters, growlers and steins, knick-knacks and other beer paraphernalia.

We left with our gift packs, which included four beers, a root beer and the glasses we used for tasting during the tour. Hell of a parting gift, eh?

We ended our trip with a stop at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern.

IMG_20121127_194725

The is tavern is a local legend, open since 1931. It’s famous for cheese sandwiches and locally brewed beer. It features Swiss-themed murals and sassy signage all over the walls; dollar bills dot the ceiling.

20121124_173403

Christopher was brave and ordered the limburger and soft salami sandwich, while I stuck with a favorite and got the hot pastrami and Swiss sandwich.

20121124_174736

20121124_174703

IMG_20121124_172406

Christopher and I had such a wonderful afternoon in Monroe. We saw many of our old haunts and even did something new. We aren’t going to let five years go by before we go back the next time.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: