Welcome back to FTW’s Beverage of the Week series. Previously, we’ve folded these in to our betting guides, whether that’s been for the NFL slate or a bizarrely successful run through the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Here, we mostly chronicle and review beers, but happily expand that scope to any beverage that pairs well with sports. Yes, even cookie dough whiskey.
Hubbleton Brewing Company’s unofficial motto is along the lines of “it’s only hard to find the first time.” This is untrue. It’s hard to find the second, third and fourth times.
But it’s worth it.
The space between Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin is filled with lots of things, but nothing more frequent than farmland. I haven’t been to all of them, but I’m reasonably sure Hubbleton is the only one with a working brewery, tap room and beer garden.
I first visited Hubbleton four years ago, in the middle of winter, to find a three-table bar, about eight beers on tap and a very good brewery dog who stole my gloves each time they hit the floor. In the time since, it has expanded considerably.
The gravel parking lot out front became a pavilion with outdoor tap lines, picnic tables, tailgate games and a live stage for music. Walk past the brew kettles inside and an expansive bar awaits with room for maybe 100 people and enough pub games to keep even the most jittery patrons occupied.
The staff — primarily founder Dan Schey and his son Mike — have always been friendly and helpful. Everyone in the beer garden, whether they’re driving west from Milwaukee or just riding over from their nearby farm in an ATV, is pleasant and welcoming.
The tap list has expanded as well. Notably, I’ve never had a bad beer there.
The sum of these parts is an authentic, communal experience. Hubbleton is best experienced in person and, given the modest reach of their current distribution, possibly the easiest option for any beer lovers rolling through the midwest.
There’s going to be something you like there. You may not organically find yourself six miles east of Waterloo, WI in a town whose Wikipedia page runs exactly two sentences long, but you’ll soon realize the extra mileage was worthwhile.
Hubbleton continues to grow without losing the identity that makes it special. So how are the beers?
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