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About Our Rating System

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Wine Tasting Room

Crusin’ Rating:

This rating can be summed up succinctly as the overall vibe of an establishment. Factors we take into account here are cleanliness, décor, outdoor space (weather providing), people behind the bar/counter, the owner (if we met them), the location of the establishment, the drive out to said establishment, and, on a more abstract note, just how a place makes you feel. Do you feel welcomed as you enter? Are you content spending an hour or two just relaxing? Maybe it’s a place you’ll want to go back to several times or even a place you wish you never had to leave.

This rating is equal parts tangible and abstract. Your mileage may vary, but we hope that those places which earn a high rating in this category will find their way to your list of destinations.

It goes without saying that places with mid to high ratings in either category are worth a stop if you’re in the area and places with high ratings in both categories are fully worth a day trip to visit!

Wine glasses clinking together as a toast amongst friends

Booze Rating:

This one is pretty self-explanatory. It’s our impression of the alcohol itself. Even though straightforward, this grade is anything but simple.

Our booze rating takes several key factors into account just like all the pros. Now, we are not wine snobs, we are not hipster beer nerds nor are we master distillers, however, that doesn’t mean we are authoring this blog with zero knowledge.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We are anything but layman when it comes to our knowledge of imbibements that can only come from years of doing this. We’ve both worked at establishments for a few years, slinging drinks, ciders, beers, and crafting cocktails. We’ve assisted a mead master get his business off the ground from just a few glass carboys to a thriving four hundred gallon tanks. We’ve been to over a hundred establishments on this journey and we take every opportunity both out in the field, and sometimes even the classroom to learn all we can about the various beverages we are tasting.

Are we experts? That depends. We can’t sit here and tell you every bit of science behind why things work or maybe some of the finer points exactly what this yeast does versus that but rest assured you are in competent hands.

Back to the Booze rating. This is going to change based on the drink we are sipping. Here’s what it all entails:

Wine: Body, Bouquet, Sweetness, Acidity, Tannins, Alcohol,

Beer: Appearance, Taste, Aroma, Mouthfeel

Cider: Sweetness, Acidity, Bouquet, Tannins, Alcohol

Mead: Appearance, Aroma, Mouthfeel, Flavor

Spirits: Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Finish

These are all classic characteristics we are looking at but we aren’t here to make this tedious and give you a bunch of numbers and stars that you need to add together. We try so many different items at each place we are looking for an overall rating to tell you if this is a place worth visiting.

The last factor, and one that is near and dear to our hearts is how local they are in their sourcing of ingredients. That means we are looking at where hops are sourced fort hose IPAs. We are going to ask how responsibly that honey is gathered and which apiary it comes from. You can bet we will quiz owners on where juice is pressed and where the viens are located. It’s going to be a common theme that really grinds our gears to walk into a Wisconsin winery only to find out that all of their grapes or even worse, grape juice, are sourced from California or New York.

While we understand not everything can come from Wisconsin (looking at you Cabernet grapes) we will always give preference to the businesses that want to showcase Wisconsin! After all, this blog is meant to guide you to all that Wisconsin has to offer in terms of imbibements.

Although the Booze rating is an overall snapshot of the quality of beverages at a specific place, read through each post to find some in depth descriptions of a few of our favorites!

Until next time, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’.

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