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Top Spots of 2022



Last year, we released our 2021 Year in Review to Great acclaim. It was incredible to look back on all of the spots we had checked out throughout the year, in the surreal world of shutdowns and COVID-19, featuring beer, wine, hangout spots and best staff of the year. We are releasing our year in review again for 2022!

Favorite Beer

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Wine Beer Distillery Blogger- One Barrel Brewing

Whoo boy. Looking back on this year, we were heavily tilted toward breweries and in my own look back it was really tough to pick a single beer, and even tougher to pick a single brewery. If you held my back to the wall and I needed to pick a single beer, and one that I keep stocked in my fridge a good deal of the time, it’s going to be One Barrel’s Commuter Kolsch. To me, it’s a quintessential Kolsch that hits all the sweet spots, an easily drinkable, and fantastic beer to keep around consistently, and that can’t be understated. It’s consistently that good and available year round. There were some specialty beers I tried, but there’s a good chance they won’t be available again. Which doesn’t necessarily take them out of the running, but as much as I may crave them, I may never catch them again.

Some honorable mentions in this category

Favorite Liquor or Other Imbibement

We didn’t hit up too many distilleries, really only two that I can remember. One in the Northwoods, Northern Waters and the other, Dancing Goat. I suppose we visited Stable Rock Winery, who creates their own whiskey and vodka, but for me, it really came down to Dancing Goat and Northern Waters. We loved our trip to Northern Waters, weird hail-weather aside and even more so getting to do a review with the Residents of Cabin 8. We brought back some Dandelion Liqueur to experiment with and some bacon-jalapeno vodka for some bloodies. Again though, I’m going back to the rye I keep stocked in our home bar, and that’s going to be Dancing Goat, the winner in this category. While I don’t love everything they make there, their rye is really my go-to for my Sazerac’s I make at home and when I’m feeling a little frisky while stirring up a Boulevardier. I haven't found a rye made here that I enjoy more, but I am always keeping my eyes peeled!

Favorite Outdoor Space

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Hop Garden

This category had strong competition with the fantastic patio and stage setup at Duesterbeck’s Brewing Company, Rebellion’s riverside patio and Sawmill’s campground-like space but this win, in the end, goes to a place with an outdoor area so good, you don’t mind if the beer isn’t quite up-to-par. No huge surprise here that we are going with the Hop Garden in Paoli. Second to none this year Hop Garden’s private park, free music, and little village of shops near a river really stand out!

Favorite Food

If you followed along with our post on the Brewpub Paradox - you’ll already know the answer to this one is, again, One Barrel! Although it was a tight race, One-Barrel’s barbecue is fantastic for a brewery and a place we’ve eaten several times. Coupled with their strong beer offerings, including my favorite of the year, it was tough for us to pick a better spot to sip and munch away! We even debated heading there to opine and debate our year-in-review. For other suggestions, check out the Brewpub Paradox!

Most Unique

Sawmill Brewing Company wins this one! Previously used as a DNR building housing fire fighting equipment, the space feels the most Northernwoods of any place we have visited. When you pull up, it feels like you are pulling into a camp site: huge pine trees, hidden off the road, and cozy inside. A must check out for any of our followers

Best of the Northwoods

If you’ve been following along with us this year, you know we took an extended Booze Cruise to the Northwoods and we hit a TON of places while up there. We checked out a winery, a distillery, and 5 breweries in the span of just three days. I know that may not seem like a ton, but trust me, to review that many places in such a short amount of time is not only hazardous to our waistlines, but it’s just a lot of traveling over one weekend!

Tribute Brewing Company takes the win here. We really enjoyed Sawmill a lot on this trip but we did not feel it was quite deserving of the title best of the Northwoods, which, before you throw stones, was corroborated by a local resident of Merrill. Tribute was a sweet little spot for beer. It also stands out as the Thirsty Badger’s first official review with us and while we really enjoyed our day with the residents of Cabin 8, the breweries we hit with them were not our favorite. Tribute is serving up the best beer we had in the Northwoods, was using some local ingredients, and had some great staff. It was a true Crusin’ for Booze spot that may be unassuming from the outside, but was Wisconsin through and through once inside.

Most Viewed Blog Post

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Mecan River Brewing

A pick from the readers! You decided that Mecan River Brewing was your favorite post. A post that maybe wasn't our most positive post, you ate it up. Can't wait to see what you all like in 2023!

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

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