A Couple of Cozy Spots for a Brew and Some Eats

I don’t know what Punxsutawney Phil predicted on his famous day, but this past week definitely provided a blast of winter weather. After this present snowfall is cleared, don’t let cabin fever set in. Find a hip place to devour some food, savor a beer and maybe listen to some invigorating live music.

In my searches, I found two attractive Restaurants that differed in ambiance and functionality. Yet, they both had a couple traits in common.  A shared aspect was a list of flavorsome micro brews, as one restaurant was set amongst its own microbrewery. Another common endowment was a list of classic Wisconsin eats, with a few twists to keep the menu interesting.

As I checked out these establishments, I was harassed by typical seasonal conditions . I don’t regret traversing some moderate Wisconsin winter weather. However, a better day would have been welcome. If your like me, you’ve seen snow before and, unless six inches is being hurled from the clouds, its a minor shrug and a continuation of the task before you.

It’s Tuesday night and thick snow is steadily riding the winds. My Dodge Dart is cutting through the precipitation easily, as I choose a comfortable speed for the accumulating snow. My destination is the Fox River Brewing Company.

We arrive at the Fox River Mall at around six o’clock. ‘A Mall?” you may ask, ‘Is it an extension of the food court?’   If indeed you are asking that, I’ll have to say that it is not. The Fox River Brewing Company is a stand alone Restaurant and Brewery, set at the entrance of the mall. This is one of two locations for the Fox River Brewing Company.

We enter and I’m Immediately intrigued. In a cooler, beer brewed in the confines of this unique establishment is available for carry out. The cost is $10 a six pack, not horrible. A beer cooler is all well and good, but I’m here to eat. So, we wait for a hostess.

Actually, before we are seated I spy a steel staircase and ascend it towards the fermentation tanks. The hostess chases me out, but not before I can snap a photo of the dining floor. The tanks can be viewed from the dining room, not your average d├ęcor.

The Kitchen is also visible from the tables. While these aspects lend a cool atmosphere to the dining room, it isn’t necessarily what I would call hip or classy, but nice.

We are seated and our waitress shows in no time. She hands us menus and beer lists. I’m quite impressed with the prices. While the alcohol content may be slightly lower than most craft beers, their house brews fall short of five dollars.

Most of their food choices are around ten dollars and include sides. Its pretty common stuff, you know, burgers, cheese curds and sandwiches. For those desiring healthy choices there are some wraps paired with fruit sides. I actually order that and am completely satisfied.

While we wait for our food, we enjoy a hockey game on a flat panel TV and, as a unique bonus, our table cloth is brown paper with a center piece of crayons. I make a futile attempt to draw the poop emoji. Yeah, that’s incredibly immature. It was the first thing that popped in my head.

I know many travel to the Fox River Mall for a day of shopping. So, if your hoping to eat in Appleton before returning home, you don’t have to leave the mall to enjoy a quality restaurant atmosphere.  

The following four days I have to work, so I stay close to home. Sunday is when I’m able to venture out and try another night out with Heidi. I discover an interesting place in Green Bay known as the Green Bay Distillery.

The weather this day is worse than Tuesday, as the snowfall maybe lighter but its been accumulating since last night. I drive the snow packed streets of Green Bay towards the shadows of Lambeau field. It’s there that I spot the distillery. My front tires are struggling for traction against the snow at the entrance of the parking lot. Finally I find a spot to situate the Dart. 

The ambiance appeals to me in its hip, bare bones appearance. You know, qualities like brick walls and visible heating ducts invoke that throw back allure.

There is more here than just a restaurant. A bar invites you to sip either a cocktail or a beer from their extensive lists. A small arcade is a great novelty to enhance any party you might want to throw.

My favorite facet of the business is a concert venue that holds 900 people. Thursday, which is Valentine’s Day, is there next scheduled event. The group Firehouse, whose tunes were great for slow dances in high school, will be playing for $20 for online purchases and $25 at the door.

There are other great bands that come to this small venue. I’m told tribute bands are quite a hit. Smells like Nirvana, a tribute band slated to play later this year, sounds incredibly interesting. I’m never going to witness the genuine article, so why not a good imitation?

I’ve mentioned so much, but our mission is beer an food. We try the cheese curds which are pretty tasty. I order a Maple Bach, which originates from the nearby Hinterland Brewery. It’s stellar. For the main dish, Heidi orders a sirloin burger and I choose the Wisconsin Jumbalaya.

Heidi’s satisfied with her choice, which is very thick and juicy, and I savor the Jambalaya. Seriously, what beats cold weather better than meaty, spicy soup. The prices were not horrible, the burger being ten dollars and mine at fifteen. We finish our meals and sample another beer at the bar, which are six dollars.

Both places are fun.  I guess it depends on where I am, during the day, that determines which to choose.  Since I live in Green Bay, I believe I’m more inclined to return to the Green Bay Distillery.  A live concert sounds like a blast.

Safe Travels! 

Author: Chris Karas

I am a 44 year old man living in Green Bay, Go Pack!! I love History, give me the origins of almost anything noteworthy and I'm all ears. I also love outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and camping. However, I don't mind a few days in fresh, bustling cities with interesting historic attractions.

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