As I’ve discovered, when it comes to alcohol, women and men have different palates. Here in Wisconsin, guys love their beer. Women, on the other hand, want something a little sweeter and lighter-maybe a good wine for instance. So, when date night arrives, who wins that argument when choosing where to hang out? Will it be a trendy brewery or a refreshing winery? Believe it or not, situated in the Northeastern Wisconsin countryside, I found a place where both partners win. It’s a place known as the Gnarly Cedar Brewery and Ledgestone Vineyards.
What I found cool, and I think Northeastern Wisconsin visitors would love, happens to be the drive towards this alcoholic destination. The place is set near the miniature town of Greenleaf, Wisconsin. And for miles, agrarian landscape states why Wisconsin owns the nickname ‘America’s Dairyland’. Yes, Gnarly Cedar Brewery and Ledgestone Vineyards are placed perfectly amongst Wisconsin farmland.
And upon arrival, as the destination’s barnlike structure resides near a gravel bicycle trail, the vineyards, serving as a lush green backdrop, satiate the need for peace and restful activities. Those leisurely endeavors, today, would happen to be sipping on a choice alcoholic beverage. Though this barn has modern touches, much of it, like the weather vane perched atop a steel roof, allow strong hints of rustic agricultural charm.
Inside, the sight of stained wood flashes fashionable class. When I enter, I discover that Gnarly Cedar Brewery, for the time being, is a nano-brewery. And right now, they offer only one beverage that has been brewed on site. However, there is quite a selection of guest taps to order. At this moment, this nano brewery has only one tank. Their plans include a seven tank beer factory. Construction is already underway.
On the other side, flights of wine are available for tasting. I’m not a wine drinker. I’ll indulge when I’m with Heidi, but, right this minute, I’m ordering a pint of Gnarly Cedar’s Brown Ale for $5. Yet, even though I’m not a wine drinker, I’ll give you a little info: so you know what to expect. Ledgestone Vineyards offers 10 vintages, available in bottles or glasses. Prices vary, glasses range from $8-$10 and bottles fall in the range of $20-$32. The winery also offers four pour tastings for $8 and four pour three ounce flights for $16. If you’re wondering about the selections, the typical varieties are here; Cabernet, Blanc, Merlot and Chardonnay all have a spot on this wine list. And there’s others you’re probably familiar with also.
When the bartender pours my beer, I’m heading out to this establishment’s expansive lawn. It comes complete with fashionable Adirondack seats and basic picnic tables. Like I’ve mentioned before, beyond the lawn, the vineyards are in full view. Today, starting at three, there will be a folksy acoustic musical performance. And with the crowd that has already gathered, it is sure to be an uplifting setting.
I should also mention, as I’m enjoying the setting via a picnic table, that a food truck pulls up near the area. And you wouldn’t have to wait for a food truck to arrive, that is if you’re hungry. Ledgestone Vineyards and Gnarly Cedar Brewery offer some flatbreads, cheeses and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany their beverages. If you choose to bask in the countryside, they’ll bring the order to your spot on the patio or lawn.
Today, I’m only here to scout this place out. But I’m sure, some day, I’ll return and sip under the afternoon sun for hours. I leave with a high….not a buzz per say, but a natural high.
Food, entertainment, beer and wine, who could ask for anything more? Oh, yes, I forgot the gently rolling Wisconsin countryside, offering solace from the calamitous rigors of life. This is a place both partner’s can agree upon. What’s more, the prices are competitive and the refreshingly casual ambiance endows a sense of freedom and relaxation. Next time I venture towards Ledgestone Vineyards and Gnarly Cedar Brewery, I’ll make sure Heidi is with me. I know she’ll love it!