Chippewa Falls on a cold winter’s night leaves you with only a few options. That’s why we’d found ourselves on a brisk walk along the Chippewa River. Our plans were to end the night at a local bas, a wish we would grant for someone’s 60th birthday. But before a local dive, we wanted a trendier option. We would soon spot the blue and yellow signs of the Chippewa River Distillery & Brewster Bros. Brewing Co.
The city of Chippewa Falls is rich in brewing history. They boast one of the oldest breweries in America: the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. So it stands to reason that they’d be on top of the newest trend of craft breweries. In spring of 2016 Brewster Bros opened their doors to bring a different look at beer, this time with ales instead of lagers. It’s a little confusing, but there is actually both a distillery and a brewery operating at the same facility. This isn’t an entirely unique concept and I’d been to at least one before, but it is the only one I can remember where there are two different signs above the door.
Immediately upon entry I spotted a small corner of their building devoted to their distilling equipment. It’s surrounded by glass windows with shiny copper distillers and stacks of barrels. Taking photographs naturally leaves me to be the last one to arrive, so when I entered I spotted my group already anchored at the bar looking at their tap list. With one side devoted to craft beer and the other to cocktails that feature their spirits, there is a wealth of choice for anyone that wishes to partake. My plan was to stick with the beers, and get a taste of some of the cocktails from the others. A common ritual for many of the people I go to breweries with is to sit down, take a couple of sips, and then start passing the drinks around to others so they can have a taste. It might be bad for germs but it’s great for the taste buds!
We weren’t going to spend a lot of time at Brewster Bros so I was resigned to ordering just a flight of four beers. It came on a very unassuming square flight board, yet it had a very nice feature. The bottom of it had rubber pegs which meant that it was almost unmovable! I’m not sure why this is so remarkable to me, but I’m easy to please. My choices: Rumble Bridge Cream Ale, Woodtick Pale Ale, Portersville Porter, and West River Lager. The Rumble Bridge was easily my favorite. I’ve got a soft spot for cream ales and this one hits the malty, sweet, and creamy notes that I so desire. This beer’s namesake wasn’t something I was able to see while in Chippewa Falls. It’s from a bridge in Irvine Park where the original boards were only nailed at alternating ends which made a rumbling sound when driven over.
When I went up to pay for our drinks I noticed they were giving away an experimental beer as long as you would take a short survey. I couldn’t turn down a free beer! While I don’t remember the specifics (my tasting notes were given to them), this is a really great concept that I’ve already seen on one other occasion. This could be an good way to test new recipes without much risk, or even give away some less than stellar beer and ask your patrons on how it could be improved. It’s better than dumping it down the drain. Another intriguing reason to return would be for their rooftop patio. It was far too cold for us to enjoy, but being able to gaze out on at the dam during a warm summer day would be a great way to enjoy a couple of cold craft beers.