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Mecan River Brewing Company

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Coloma, WI


Crusin’ Rating: F

Booze Rating: C-


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Alcohol Wine Beer Blogger- Mecan River Brewing- Extierior
Photo Credit: Mecan River Facebook Page

Neither Hannah nor I were looking forward to putting out two bummer reviews back to back. However, we really thought that this review hits on some important themes that we haven’t really come across yet. Often, we have stressed that even if the beer and space aren’t amazing, it can be turned around by excellent people. However, this week’s article is going to delve into the inverse of that, wherein the people took away from what would have been a nice space and decent beer. Had it not been for meeting a fellow beer hobbyist while there, this would have been one cloud without a silver lining! This is Mecan River Brewing Company.

If you want to skip right to that silver lining go straight to the bottom since it’s not going to be our usual fun ride. However, I’d ask that you read along and see if you agree with us that one individual can really turn what would be a pleasant trip upside down by how they represent their establishment.

Mecan River Brewing Company was a stop we made coming right off of last week’s article. If you didn’t read it, it was a quick stop wherein we weren’t really feeling a welcoming vibe, just that we were in the way of other local customers. Beset by flies, tasting some not-so-great beer, hungry and trying to rush, we were not in the best of spirits making our way to Mecan River Brewing Company. It was a twenty minute drive, which is usually plenty of time for us to complete a review.

We arrived at about 7:21 PM. It was a small, squat building sporting a glass front and a little well-kept patio with hanging lights. Looking around Coloma, WI, there were a few sparse businesses that were long-closed and a tavern or two. The brewery was the only building that gave an impression of life, really. No worries, we’ve been to quiet towns before, some of them a little bleak looking as well. It felt welcoming walking into the space, full of laughs and trivia going on. This was another one of those breweries that felt more like a winery. Chalkboard wall behind the bar, colorful and careful written menus, some greenery, trendy lighting. It had the hallmark touches of something out of HGTV, a cute, rustic aesthetic. With beers named Creamsicle in orange chalk, Apple Graft written in green, and a hand-written menu we were quite excited. While they had food and we had not yet eaten, we were being wary of the time and I never liked tending bar and putting a food order into the kitchen in the last 30 minutes. Hannah agreed. We were all business. A solid half hour to do this review. I went up to the bar and started ordering a flight while Hannah diligently got to work taking photos.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Blogger- Mecan River Brewing- Outdoor Patio

I struck up a conversation with a fellow that took a bit longer than I anticipated, but, in truth, that was the highlight of this particular spot (more on him later). Ordering a flight, I quickly left the tab open and went back to the table. I took detailed notes on the flight, and then, at the new acquaintance’s suggestion, Hannah offered to use our Reel Pass to go up and buy one get one. Mind you, it’s about 7:40 currently, with trivia still going.

This is where it really started to go downhill. Now, this may be our impression, but with only 4 people at the bar, Hannah is waiting up there for quite some time (in reality 10-12 minutes). Mind you, there has been no last call. I didn’t see hours posted, and there is still a woman who has put a food order in. Google says the brewery is open until 8, but like so many spots, usually the good times kind of roll or a last call is issued.

Hannah, understandably is a little irritated as am I. I’m hearing great things about a stout that I want to sip on. And I’m ready to jot down my notes and take off as soon as they close.

Not only does Hannah not get served until 7:55, but she is then denied getting the buy one get one she had been waiting patiently for. In the meantime, our new acquaintance bought some crowlers, the trivia guy is given a beer, an older woman puts in a to-go food order, and several tables close their tabs. Hannah is simply skipped over until the end, and I’m not being petty here, she was up there clearly waiting with the Real Pass and cash in hand before several others. Then, when the bartender feels that Hannah can be served, she tells Hannah that the buy one-get-one can only be used by one person, and the two beers can’t be shared.


I overhear this and walk up, offer one of our other books for the beer (we get so many coupons, we have trouble getting through them all). Can we just talk about that a second? A buy one-get one coupon, but the beers can only be drank by one individual? Can someone help us understand why in the hell it matters who gets the second beer? If the first beer is paid for, and the second one is free, why does it matter at all? Also, had Hannah been served by either of the two folks in the 15 minutes she stood up there, they wouldn’t be closed.

I am not sorry about this one. I’ve tended long enough to know when someone is intentionally skipped over. I used to use that trick for those who snapped their fingers at me to get my attention (if you’ve tended bar you know just how bad that is). I was just dumbfounded. Listen, I get it, your hours are listed online, it’s a Friday night, and for some odd reason your brewery closes at 8 PM -instead of 9 PM like every other brewery license in the state - and you want to get out of there. Coming from two who have worked the industry at drinking establishments, you know you’re not getting people out right when you close even when you give them multiple warnings, it’s just not how it works.

At the same time, though, we weren’t in there trying to be jerks and demand service at 8:00 PM. Hannah was waiting for a good chunk of time, and then, when addressed finally, she was told she couldn’t use a coupon. Fine. We tried another. Denied. Fine. We then asked to just straight up buy the last beer. Denied. How about a crowler? Denied. The person serving, who we assume to be an owner, needed us completely out of the bar before their closing of 8:00pm. No beer, food, or to go beer, would be served after 7:50pm- unless of course you are a local. Then feel free to order to go food at 8:00pm. If she didn't want to honor the coupons- that the brewery itself put out there- that's fine, we are able and willing to pay full price. But not serving paying customers because you want to go home? Unacceptable.

I’m not here to get up on a soapbox and give you a Karen-themed sermon. Our business is reviewing places and this was the first time we encountered someone genuinely rude. It left such a poor taste in our mouths and we felt so defeated that we thought about not reviewing this place at all.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Blogger- Mecan River Brewing- Beer Flight

But then, that wouldn’t make for a great article. Here's the beer we were allowed to try:

Orange Creamsicle (6.0% ABV) - How could I not try a beer that’s supposed to taste like an orange creamsicle?

Full disclaimer, I think orange creamsicles are one of the worst frozen treats you could possibly order and I never had one that I enjoyed. Hannah likes them, though!

This beer had medium-low clarity but I wouldn’t say it was cloudy. It was pleasant enough to drink and smelled of sweet cream with some orange oil in it, almost as if you had expressed the peel over a cocktail. Hannah and I both agreed on the cream aspect but neither of us really tasted that orangey flavor, natural or otherwise. It sort of had an overall fruity aspect to the taste, but we couldn’t really pin down orange as a standout characteristic.

Apple Graf Hybrid (6.7%) - With a light gold color and high clarity, this hybrid beer

- in this instance I take “hyrbid” to mean part beer, part something else, since “graf” is usually apple juice mixed with beer wort, although “hybrid” can have several meanings when speaking of beer styles- walked a fine line between cider and beer. In truth, most grafs I’ve tried, all fall into that category. “Graf” has a loose set of parameters from what I can tell, and if you were to ask me, it compromises what could be good beer and what could be good cider and makes this sweet, slightly hoppy apple juice that always leaves me thinking of Angry Orchard and gut rot. There was no exception here. If you’re looking for apple beer, I suppose this one is as good as any.

Gateway (5.3% ABV) - This sweet, corn smelling beer of standard lager gold is aptly named as a “gateway” beer into the craft world. I thought this was clever marketing for what amounted to a home-made attempt at replicating essentially Miller Light and I suppose I could understand the appeal for the crowd who wants nothing to do with craft beer. I’d personally just keep Miller cans for those occasions, but really, do people walk into breweries expecting to get canned beer? I’d say this is a bit of a niche application to be on tap, but it did taste like a standard American Lager.

10 Hazy Day IPA (6.5% ABV) - This low-clarity, orange-gold IPA had a surprising lack of it’s namesake’s haziness. I picked up notes of amarillo and citra hops, maybe some nelson if my nose was accurate. Hannah smelled mango and pine. I noted distinct sappy sweetness, tropical floral notes and a little bit of spice when tasting. It was not a standout compared to the others on the flight.

I mentioned earlier the silver lining, and I think, for now, we will test out the moniker Badger Dad. Let me know what you think. Of all places to run into someone from Madison, and on top of that, a beer enthusiast who takes his beer seriously, takes notes, and brings his daughter out to explore new spots, Coloma was the last place I’d expect to run into them. Badger Dad gave us cheerful tips on beers to try and skip, asked about the work we do, and expressed interest in becoming one of our guest reviewers! You know, if not for his friendliness and some halfway decent beer, this would have been a total loss of a Friday. So, while one individual nearly turned this review into a dumpster fire, a kind stranger gave us something to look forward to.

***Update since posting***

After posting this article we had a team of local beer drinkers, Team Coloma (?), reach out about this establishment. They, unfortunately, have had the same rude service all twelve times they have visited. So it seems we were incorrect about locals getting better treatment. All guests receive the same rude service. Which is good to know we got the authentic experience but a shame that the local brewery isn't welcoming to anyone. Thank you to Team Coloma for reaching out and sharing your experiences!

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

To learn more about Mecan River Brewing Company please visit their website at: or on Facebook: Mecan River Brewing Company or on Instagram: @MecanRiverBrewingCo

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