Stevens Point Day 3!
I woke up surprisingly sad to leave Stevens Point. This trip was a relaxing oasis that I didn’t know I needed. While most of the breweries are closed on Sunday, there was still enough to do before departing. I started my morning at Emy J’s coffee shop. Central Waters uses Emy J’s coffee in some of their stouts. Because I love their coffee stouts so much, I figured it would be interesting to try the coffee before it is added to the beer. The interior of Emy J’s is cozy and has a great small-town feel, but the coffee has big time flavor. I’m not going to pretend to be a coffee expert, but I can tell you it was delicious!
After you’ve had your morning coffee, I’d recommend heading next door to Main Grain bakery for some sweets for breakfast! All of their sweets looked so delicious, I had a hard time choosing just one. I ended up getting a chocolate raspberry scone and a chocolate chip cookie to go. Prices are super reasonable for such large sweets. If I were to go back, I think I would also get a loaf of bread to go; there is nothing better than a loaf of fresh baked bread!
I decided to take the Milwaukee route back to Chicago so that I could stop at Central Waters on my way home. I had heard of Central Waters long before my trip to Stevens Point. They are pretty widely known for their barrel aging program, but I was really excited to take in their whole range of beers. One thing I really love about Central Waters is their commitment to keeping their production environmentally friendly. From using solar power to heat the hot liquor tank to using recycled bottles and cardboard holders, they have their bases covered! The tour that they run on Saturdays is very informative and its free! It doesn’t include any beer samples, but their menu is so reasonably priced that it’s not a big deal to grab a beer to take on the tour (and maybe a few after). Let’s get into the beers I tried!
Brewhouse Coffee Stout 7.4% ABV- Here’s where Emy J’s coffee comes in! This beer was brewed with coffee specially roasted for them by they lovely people at Emy J’s. The addition of quality coffee into a stout really makes all the difference. I’ve had some coffee beers that have a metallic taste which can really ruin a beer. This beer has none of that, just smooth roasty coffee flavors. You can never go wrong with a coffee stout from Central Waters.
Unsettled New England IPA 6.7% ABV- I was really excited to try a New England style from a brewery that is so well known for dark, high ABV stouts. I was very pleasantly surprised; they nailed the new England style. It has the signature citrus front with a nice bitter finish. My number one critique of NE is when they are too sweet. This one struck a nice balance between sweet and bitter. In even better news, this beer in available in cans, so you can bring it home to share with your buds.
Sweet Release Strong Ale 7.25% ABV- This was such an interesting brew. I had never had a strong ale that had such complex citrus characteristics. With citra and mosaic hops, it almost tastes more like a semi sweet IPA. It’s a little thick and a lot smooth, I really enjoyed this strange mix of the two styles.
XX Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 13.5% ABV- I saved the best for last! This beer was incredible! It was brewed for their 20th anniversary and aged for a minimum of 2 years in bourbon barrels. It is thick and rich with great fudge and vanilla flavors. Because it had been aged for a bit, it wasn’t too hot at all, it was extremely smooth. I’d let it warm up a bit to really get the flavors to come out. I’ll be really excited to see what they come out with for their 21st anniversary in a couple of weeks!
Speaking of barrel aged beers, if you like barrels you have to take the Saturday tour. They end the tour in the barrel house and it is incredible! I loved seeing the barrel aging process on a more medium size scale. I’ve seen barrel rooms from numbers of barrels to thousands to just two. This was a perfect intermediate. Central Waters is very proud of the fact that all of their beers are aged a minimum of one year. This really gives the beer time to soak up the bourbon flavors and it shows in the quality of their BBA brews.
You don’t have to be done with Stevens Point after you leave Central Waters, stop by the Point Burger Bar in Milwaukee! It was a perfect stop to grab a delicious burger and get more of those Point beers that you can’t get outside of the tasting room and burger bars. I really enjoyed the build your own burger feature on their menu. I’m pretty picky so to be able to add anything I wanted was pretty fun!
I hope you enjoyed learning about Stevens Point with me! I had such a great trip that it would be a shame not to share it with you! Next, I’d love to go back in the summer when I could ride my bike between the breweries!
This trip was sponsored by Wisconsin Travel Best Bets and Stevens Point Area. As usual, all opinions are solely my own.