It doesn’t take a wayward stranger in an unfamiliar city saying, “Wait… Wisconsin?.. Beer & Cheese, right?” For locals to know, Wisconsin loves beer. According to our states historical society, ” German immigrants brought a heritage of beer making to Wisconsin.” And we’ve been tipping them back ever since. You’ve heard that we hold 6 of the 10 drunkest cities in America? In Northeast Wisconsin there seems to be a beer trend re circling that we haven’t seen since the mid 1800s. The trend is “neighborhood breweries” popping up in communities all around Northeast Wisconsin.
“Neighborhood brewery” means smaller scale breweries that are mainly focused on selling their beer in their taproom and in nearby, local establishments. To get into what a neighborhood brewery is I will let Lee Reiherzer explain. Reiherzer runs the Oshkosh Beer Blog, and has spent countless hours researching beer history in Oshkosh.
[[You can hear a conversation I had with Lee on my live show "But Why Not?" by clicking this link. Lee has written two books on the subject of Oshkosh Beer, going to lengths of reading old newspapers and court document tirelessly studying beer history in the Oshkosh/Winnebago area. His explanation of the neighborhood brewery is below.]]
Reiherzer explains, “Prior to the Civil War, American beer was not a mass-produced, commoditized product. The typical brewery was small; comparable in size to the most recent wave of craft breweries that have opened. And they operated in much the same way.” The new wave of craft breweries that have opened in the past two or three years in Northeast Wisconsin have a decidedly grassroots approach. “We want to be the neighborhood brewery in this area.” Fifth Ward co-owner Ian Wenger told me last year while discussing Fifth Wards business approach. “We want to be a solid spot for people to come into the taproom and enjoy a few great beers.”
Neenah’s newest brewery, Barrel 41, had a similar sentiment. Co-owner Matt Stubing said of his brewery, “We’re a relaxed brewery where you will see one of the owners behind the bar.” You’d be hard-pressed to see the owner of Goose Island or even some of Wisconsin’s larger craft breweries in their taproom. Barrel 41 is cozy brewery with a, “northwoodsy vibe,” as Stubing describes it. They just added canning capabilities after a year in business, and are focused on, “growing with Neenah.”
Back to neighborhood brewery history, Reiherzer tells us, “Their beer was made in small batches with most of the work of brewing being done by hand. Bottled beer was rare. Their beer went into kegs and was usually served either in their brewery taprooms or in local saloons. Few of these early breweries distributed their beer much beyond their immediate vicinity.” This describes these small neighborhood breweries to a T. So what is causing us beer consumers to slowly cascade away from mass production back to our home town taprooms? Perhaps history repeats itself? Maybe the internet has brought us back to community roots through opened communication?
One thing is certain, craft beer exploded in the past decade. In 2009 there were 1,600 craft breweries in America. The number of craft breweries rose to 6,300 by 2017. Craft beer now has 24.1% of the dollar share of the US beer market. These numbers are nothing to shake a stick at. It’s almost as if the market has woken up sick after noticing that they slept on their left arm funny, and it’s been feeding them watered down, flavorless beer for decades. The desire for a novel beer flavor experience and for connection to the beer you’re drinking seems to be keeping neighborhood breweries watered and fed.
McFleshman’s is the newest brewery in Appleton. Their focus, taproom manager Layla Cowper tells me, “Well we’re a public house. That’s why the Wi-Fi password is up there on that teeny-tiny plaque up by the door.” McFleshman’s also has no TVs, and their goal is create a brewing school to be a hub for homebrewers and small breweries to learn, practice, and network. Not surprising as the principal owners, Allison and Bobby Fleshman, have both served as professors at Lawrence University in Appleton.
The phenomenon has even made it’s way to Door County, where local brands and businesses often struggle to focus on the localized community in favor of thick-wallet-wielding-tourists. Underneath Sonny’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria is the early stages of Bridge Up Brewing Company. Head brewer Trent Snyder told me, “We want to be a neighborhood brewery where you can come in, talk to the head brewer, and learn about what you’re drinking.” The taproom is beginning construction in 2020. Not even open yet, Snyder wants the approach to be, “ego-less.” Their website even says it’s a craft brewery, “for the people of Door County.” Their beer can currently only be found at the bar inside Sonny’s .
It seems history has come full circle. A brewery in nearly each neighborhood used to be the situation in 1870, there were 11 breweries in Winnebago County, six in Oshkosh alone. There are currently 4(ish) breweries in Oshkosh. Maybe the neighborhood breweries don’t have as many neighborhoods covered as they did 150 years ago, but the movement has the same energy. To really bring the historical comparison together, Reiherzer explains that even “growlers,” those glass bottles you thought only hipsters and your hip, beer-fanatic uncle Mike purchase, emerged as a trend at the 1800s neighborhood breweries. He says, “People who lived nearby the brewery would often come in and have “growlers” (essentially a bucket) filled with beer to take home with them.”
I guess people never change. Wisconsin still loves beer, and we can still get it by the bucket right from the people who fermented it. I recommend checking out the neighborhood breweries around Northeast Wisconsin. One thing that has changed in the past 150 years is our ability to travel to these local breweries very quickly. Where is your favorite brewery? Do you think that what we’re seeing is the same pattern of the neighborhood breweries of the mid 1800s? Let me know in the comments.
December is hitting us like a ton of bricks! … or, like a ton of snow. We are still in the “super pretty” stages of winter snow cover. We can now queue in the holiday lights, hot chocolate, jingle bells, and the holiday parties. Just in case you didn’t have enough going on in December, we have compiled some of the most interesting events in Northeast Wisconsin. Check it out before the snow turns you into a winter hermit!
Pancakes on the Polar Express
When? Thursday December 5, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Where? Appleton YMCA
Mmmm, pancakes for dinner! It gets better – Santa will be making a pit stop this evening to take some pictures with kids (adults too, if you want), pajamas are highly encouraged and there will be plenty of hot chocolate to warm the whole family up. Register by calling 920.954.7636 or emailing at email@example.com
Luminary Walk at Heritage Hill
When? Friday December 6, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Where? Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay
Cost? $7.00 per person
A one and a half mile hike spanning over 56 acres surrounded by luminaries, toasty drinks and tasty snacks. So many of us love the outdoors but find it difficult to get out in the winter time since the sun sets so early and the temperatures are less than appealing. This is the perfect opportunity to combat the winter blues and enjoy what nature has to offer. Heritage Hill on its own has so much to offer – this event will only bring it to life. And don’t leave your four legged friend at home! Pets on leashes are welcome.
Winter Wine & Beer Walk
When? Friday December 6, 13, and 20, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Where? Broadway District, Green Bay
Cost? $20 in advance, $25 on the night of the event.
Here is your opportunity to sample all different businesses on Broadway. There are 26 participating businesses each offering samples.These samples are from local wineries, breweries and amazing local eateries. Grab your significant other, or maybe make it a girls night. No matter what you do, you will leave the event satisfied and maybe with a new favorite wine!
Saturday Morning Cartoons
When? Saturday December 7, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Where? Player 2 in Appleton
Cost? Dependent on games played
On this day, you will not have to force your kids to walk past Player 2 downtown – they can go in with you. During this event, no alcohol will be served at Player 2. This is a family friendly opportunity where families can enjoy some of those amazing classic games together. Enjoy water, juice and milk. The event goes until noon, and your kids will thank you!
Living Ornament Class
When? Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 6:00 PM
Where? Vines & Rushes Winery in Ripon
Cost? $30 a person
Succulents are the cutest little things to decorate with and they are so easy to take care of! So, why not add some more life to your Christmas tree? That is what Vines & Rushes will be helping you do. The price of your ticket includes all of the necessary materials and a glass of wine (or cider, or beer). You can purchase additional drinks if you desire!
Mile of Music Presents: Rhythms & Brews
When? Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Where? Stone Arch at Riverview Gardens
Cost? FREE entrance and music
Our community loves Mile of Music so much, why not enjoy it to a much smaller scale all winter and spring, too? Join Good Morning Bedlan with Gunn & The Girl for a super fun night of live music. If you didn’t have dinner plans, enjoy a dish from Stone Arch. Also, have a beer. You won’t regret it.
ACE’s Christmas Pub Crawl
When? Saturday December 14, 2019 at 3:00 PM
Where? Downtown Appleton
Cost? $15 per person or 4 for $50
The cost of the ticket gets you a wristband, drink specials and a mug. If you are one of the first 200 guests, you will also receive a Santa hat. Guests are encouraged to wear your best holiday get up. The uglier, the better! Tickets are on sale now at appletoncharityevent.com. And guess what? All proceeds from the tickets go to the Fox Valley Humane Association. There are pups and kitties basically begging you to get your drink on!!
New Year’s Eve Encore
When? You guessed it, New Year’s Eve! Tuesday December 31, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Where? Red Lion Paper Valley Hotel
Cost? $30 now, $35 at the door
This event is sure to make for a memorable new year’s eve! Four bands, music pop ups, door prizes, Coffee and Chocolate Lounge, a champagne toast and ball drop – it really does sound like the perfect celebration! If you don’t have plans yet, you may want to call some friends and get your tickets now. Or, cancel your plans that are more than likely not as cool. Make it a full experience and check out the Red Lion’s Room Package Specials for this event!
Cherry Drop & New Year’s Eve Celebration
When? December 31, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Where? Sister Bay Sports Complex
This is probably one of the most unique New Year’s Eve celebrations that we have seen and totally worth the drive. Who says fireworks are for summer only? Sister Bay blows all the surrounding towns out of the water, with a fireworks show, ice skating, and a bonfire. The fun doesn’t stop there though – instead of an average ball drop, a 300 pound cherry can be found 150 feet in the air above Husby’s where it will patiently await midnight. What a neat experience in one of Wisconsin’s most beautiful areas!
I love the idea of the candle light walks, but I have yet to attend one! I also love a good party, and when New Years Eve parties are on the list you can’t not get excited about them. The event I think looks the most interesting has got to be the cherry drop. 10/10 for creativity, and it’s free! We hope you get to enjoy an event or two this month. Even with the snow, there’s still plenty of fun and memories to be made!
The title says it all – calling all of you wine-o’s to draw your attention to four places that are killing the wine game in Appleton, WI. Occasionally people say, “There is nowhere with higher-end wine around here.” Or, “You can’t find good wine in Wisconsin”. False, my friends. I went on a solo hunt for some of the best places to grab a glass of wine in Appleton, and I was extremely successful. My journey consisted of four unique wine bars in or near Appleton.
Beginning in the little town called Fox Crossing, we discovered Xe54. Only a little over a year old with a very “boujee” feel to it. The interior is filled with popping colors – blue walls, large gold lettering, purple velvet couches, quirky art on the walls – and has a very “New York” vibe to it for being located in a small Wisconsin suburb. Overall, very sleek and elegant interior.
The important part – what wine selection do the offer? First off, Xe54 uses tap wines. It’s one of their main attractions. Which means they have kegs (yes, entire kegs) full of wine. They have eight total wines on tap – four reds and four whites. Essentially, this helps to keep the wine at the perfect serving temperature and provides a fresh glass with every pour. Beyond the tap wines, they have about 12-15 wine options that they provide from the bottle. Each glass on average runs between $8-$10. They also provide a retail section which guests can either take a bottle home for enjoying, or drink in the bar for a corking fee. As for regions of wines that they offer, they just began selling international wines alongside their domestic options. For a smaller menu and retail section, they have a very wide range of grapes and regions.
Beyond the Wine Options
Beyond their wine list, Xe54 also offers a build-your-own cheese board menu. Allowing you to check mark which cheeses, meats, and extras (crackers, olives, etc.) you may be looking to snack on while drinking your wine. They also have extensive options for liquor, beer, craft cocktails, and live music on Saturday evenings around 7-10 PM. They have a plethora of events including wine tastings and pairings. Xe offers a happy hour from 3-6 offering $1 off all drinks (wine, cocktails, and beer).
From the Staff: Candice – Wine Events Coordinator
I spoke with Candice from Xe54, who is the wine events coordinator. She runs tastings and events that help to showcase new wines the Xe54 has to offer. From speaking with her, she wants the general public to know:
“We want a broad enough spectrum of wine to fit different people’s tastes and pallets while also bringing in different varietals to help others try new things. We pick wines that can cover any occasion, birthday party or graduation, we’ve got wine for you at an affordable price.”
To really give you all a look into what Xe54 has to offer, I tried four different wines that all range in different taste, acidity, depth, etc.
Essence Riesling – a sweeter white with fruit notes to it. I tasted notes of more green apple, a little touch of sour notes coming through but balanced well with the sweet. (Mosel, Germany)
Misty Cove Sauvignon Blanc – which had more of a tart and citrus taste to it with nice acidity. This taste test was my favorite that Xe54 had to show me, very tasty. When I drank it, I immediately thought of a seafood dinner for pairing. Dee-Lish. (Marlborough, New Zealand)
Diablo Dark Red Blend – this was a blend of Syrah and Malbec wine which gave the blend a nice, lingering finish. Notes of darker berries like cherries and raspberries. (Chile)
MWC Shiraz Mourvedre – a spicier, drier wine with notes of blackberry. A very bold wine with great flavor! (Victoria, Australia)
My second stop was in downtown Neenah at Uncorked Wine & Bistro. Along with the rest of the downtown area, Uncorked has beautiful brick walls (inside and out) with dim and intimate lighting. There are retail options covering two full walls with plenty of options to look at, and the bar has a darker marble finish to it. While I was visiting, it was decorated for the Halloween/Fall season and was done beautifully. A very inviting setting really focusing on the socialization and intimate aspect of wine drinking.
Uncorked has an insane selection for wines – both retail and by the glass. They have a rotating wine menu that’s categorized into two sections: Sweet, crisp, aromatic, and rich (whites) and fruity, spicy, earthy, and bold (reds). Beyond that, they offer 11 different flight options or BYO. Within the 11 flights there is also a Port Wine flight option. Uncorked offers over 300 options for retail which guests can either drink at home or in house for a corking fee. They offer 32 wines by the glass and carry both international and domestic. They also provide a list of their “bubbly” options for guests – which are all fresh.
Beyond the Wine Options
Uncorked offers a wine club where you can choose between all white or all red wines, a mixture of both at two different price ranges occur once a month. They offer wines from many different regions and very diverse options for varietals and countries. Uncorked offers beer, liquor, and cocktails with options in abundance for those looking for other options. As for food, they have a pretty large range of options. From crostini’s and pita pizzas to cheese platters, desserts, salads, meatballs, salmon, and daily specials. It’s a really extensive food menu for the size of the location. They also have a happy hour from 3-6 where they offer two white and two reds for $5 a glass. There is live music every other Saturday and they do occasional wine tastings.
From the Staff: Kris – Manager
At Uncorked I met with the Manager, Kris. She has been management for Uncorked for 10 years now and knows the establishment like the back of her hand. She wants the general public to know:
“We listen to customers for what they’re looking for. We love helping them find the perfect fit for where the night is leading to and what they enjoy in a wine. We try our best to do a read on them and let them try new things they have never had. We enjoy doing new wines on happy hour to teach others about different varietals that people don’t typically ask for. We try pushing them from comfort zone and helping them.”
Spätlese Riesling – A sweeter wine that had a light and fresh taste to it. A very balanced and vibrant wine. (Germany)
La Plage Rosé Du Var – Drier for a rose, yet still holding the lighter fruit flavors all the way through, very refreshing. Cool thing is, Uncorked serves this wine year round for you Rose lovers that can’t seem to find one in the depths of the winter. (Profanse, France)
Shooting Star Blue Franc – This was my personal first time ever trying a blue franc, and I was delighted by the flavors. It was a medium bodied red that reminds me of the kind of red wine you actually enjoy drinking during the summer. Subtle hints of darker berries. Very flavorful but drier on the back end. (Washington)
Freakshow Red Blend – A familiar label for most people, darker fruit notes, tastes higher end than it actually is, drier, with chocolate aromas and subtle tastes. (Lodi, California)
Third on the list was Mondo! Wine Bar in downtown Appleton. The aesthetic of Mondo! is very simplistic with most of the color coming from the menu and the wine bottles along the walls. They have very lively music playing within the bar and has a heart of the city feel to it. The owner, David, is also a bartender at Mondo! which was awesome to see from a customer standpoint. A charismatic little place.
To start, the owner of Mondo is very smart when it comes to wine. He really knew his stuff. Not that all of the places before didn’t, he just surprised me with how much knowledge he had about the wines he served. He considers his bar “unique to the world” due to the way he has his wine organized. He composed a period table of wine that helps each wine-o find exactly what they’re looking for. At Mondo!, the menu is organized with the lighter wines at the top of the menu and they get darker, richer and deeper as you move left to right and down the menu. He used this method to help his customers experiment with new varietals based off of wines the customer already knows they enjoy. It is also color-coded to make finding your type of wine even easier, with an icon to match every wine. Although their “by the glass” menu is a bit more limited, Mondo! has a pretty large array of wines for retail purchasing.
Beyond the Wine Options
Mondo! offers educational tastings, free tastings once a month, and in the summer they do a wine camp one Saturday every month. Alongside wine, they also offer beer, liquor, non-alcoholic options, and food. For food, they have items such as cheese platters, pizza that is made in house, and ala carte options like nuts and olives. Their location is also right by the Performing Arts Center in Appleton making it a great stop before or after a show in Appleton.
From the Staff: David – Owner
David is the owner and creator of the unique wine bar, Mondo!. The idea of the periodic table concept was created by him and he is usually at Mondo! every day. He wants the public to know that:
“We expose people to wine and things they have not seen or heard of before. We have uniqueness of organization, and we want things to be fun for people. We want to stray away from the idea of being “stuffy”, so we go to great lengths to keep things light and fun. We love getting to know our clientele, we compare ourselves almost to ‘cheers’ – that neighborhood bar that just happens to serve wine. We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated to come in.”
Tres Ojos Old Vines Garnacha – a bright wine, flavor packed, showcases a lot of fruit, has a little bit of spice mixed with sour. (Spain)
Black’s Station Cabernet Sauvignon – untypical for a cabernet, tasteful and not as dry as expected, divine, fruitful but also has minor bitterness. (California)
Domaine De Pouy – very vibrant and bright, has good notes of acidity, with notes of fruit. (France)
Long Little Dog White Blend – softer acidity, more fruity mostly pear flavors/armoas. (France)
EXTRA Sangue di Giuda Sweet Red – chilled, reminded me of a breakfast meal or the smells of a bright morning. Not too sweet but has the perfect balance of sweet while combining what one expects from a red. Smells close to a buttery scent. (Italy)
Last on our wine tour through the Fox Valley is a relatively new option to the area – Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar. After being immediately greeted by not only the owner himself but also the earthy, aesthetic, home-y interior of the bar itself, you are overwhelmed with the beautiful chaos that is Tandem Wine Bar. It’s complicated yet also intriguing and even though it’s only in the process of being complete it feels as though the interior is a vision you’ve been searching for a long while for a casual place to have a good glass of wine. A very intimate setting with dim lighting and wooden accents everywhere you look – Tandem focuses on the less stuffy side of wine and the more freeing side.
Tandem has a wine menu that fluctuates every couple of weeks with their options by the glass. They do offer both retail and by the glass for their customers; with an average glass costing about $8.00-$9.00. Their wine options include both international and domestic, carrying many different flavor varietals for customers. Included in their “by the glass” options are about 13 options ranging between sweet whites and dry reds.
Beyond the Wine Options
Beside their copious amounts of retail wine options placed along the beautiful brick walls, Tandem also offers many other bar-like amenities. They have begun dipping their toe into the food world and offer a cheese board currently for $18. Although it’s only one option, the cheese board is extensive and offers something for guests to nibble on while they sip. They also offer an extensive selection of bourbons, scotch, and whiskeys. There is a cooler in the bar filled with craft beer by the bottle along with 3 beer options on tap. Moving past food and drink – Tandem offers live music and specials throughout the week.
From the Staff: George – Owner
“We’re a wine, beer, and spirits store with a nice lounging atmosphere. We refer to ourselves as a wine lounge rather than a wine bar. We don’t really do bar hours, typically closed by 10 PM. People enjoy the simple aesthetic and authentic space. Tandem was a swan dive into a vision.”
Bouza Tannat Reserve 2015 – Big and bold, showcases flavors of darker fruits including plum and blackberry, deep and rich, could be paired with any kind of “hardy” meal like stews, roasts, steak. Velvety finish. (Montevideo, Uruguay)
Very interesting and delicious try – was informed not many people are familiar with the varietal.
Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet – Racey, bold, a little sweeter on the tongue. Intense and powerful red. Strong flavor of cherry and dark berry. (Napa, California)
Chateau Ferrande Graves 2015 – Very subtle, light flavoring. Soft and earthy with bright notes to it. Nice alternative to a super sweet and fruity white. (Graves, France)
If you’re like me and love a good, rich, and flavorful glass of wine mixed with an environment to match your mood – one of these four places is bound to be the perfect match. They are all so different and so unique in their own way, allowing for each place to have an entirely different experience. Which place are you visiting first? Let us know in the comments below – and thank you so much for reading!
The local music scene is on the rise in Northeast Wisconsin. Many attribute this to the growth of large music based events for original music like Mile of Music. It seems like the roots of a music scene already existed, and have now been getting the attention necessary to grow. Cory Chisel, co founder of Mile of Music even said in an interview back in 2014 that Mile of Music was building on what is here, “which is a great local music scene.” As the scene grows and adds new talent, we’ve decided we’d find 2019’s NEW music and deliver it to your phone. Also, there’s a Wisconsin Original playlist already put together on Spotify.
Albums and Eps
7000Apart: [Debut Album] We Are More
7000Apart is a Green Bay based duo and husband and wife. The couple met at Bay Port high school in music theory class where Amelie was a foreign exchange student from Sweden. The couple started 7000Apart as a YouTube project to stay together, and really launched their music career this year with their debut album “We Are More.” It’s a 10 song album and the most popular song Blank Check has over 32,000 streams on Spotify. The duo has over 1,200 monthly listeners on Spotify, and they’ve been touring in Wisconsin, Europe, and with a St Luis based duo around the Midwest.
Christopher Gold is a Kentucky born musician who has lived and performed in Appleton for over a decade. Gold’s Ep is a short, folky set of 4songs. The most storytelling-centric song being “Plane Crash Dream Song.” Gold also released a string of 17 singles on Spotify in 2019 under his group’s account “Christopher Hold & the New Old Things.”
From Door County, Heyward released a 5 Song Ep titled the “The River.”
“The River” is the Eps Title Track and opening track. Heyward just got back from a tour in Norway and Sweden, which is interesting because 7000Apart’s Amelie is from Sweden. Maybe Wisconsin is more connected to Sweden than we think?
Substyle: [Ep] Letters
Wausau based Substyle is releasing an Ep titled “Letters” on December 14th. At this point we kind of have to leave it at that. Don’t miss it.
Kyle Megna: Taking You Back
Megna has been recording for the better part of a decade. He’s produced 12 albums in his career. The Kaukauna born artist just opened up a craft cocktail lounge in his hometown called 313 Dodge. He also released a single titled “Taking You Back.”
A Green Bay native, now living in Ripon. Tae has been making waves as an up and comer playing tons of live shows, and now there’s rumors she’s ready to release an album. Currently she has released a single “I’m Through.”
Franki Moscato: Aware
Oshkosh native, Franki Moscato was on the most recent season of American Idol and made it to Hollywood. This year she’s release two singles, “Aware” and “Tightrope.”
Originating in Oshkosh, Dead Horses is possibly the most successful active group to come out of Northeast Wisconsin in terms of listens, views, and numbers in general. They’re now based in Milwaukee, and we’re still proud of them. Dead Horses released 3 singles in 2019. Their most recent is “Birds Can Write the Chorus.” The other two are titled “Family Tapes” and “Mighty Storm.”
Unity the Band – House is on Fire
Unity the Band is very active in Northeast Wisconsin. They’ve been together and around playing in the region for years. They currently play big and small shows all around. They just released their first single in a while, (at least on Spotify in a while,) called House is on Fire. Unity the Band has a fun, Reggae style.
Feed The Dog: Tenderloin [2018 Album]
Feed the Dog is currently on fire in Northeast Wisconsin. With a very strong fan base, and consistently fantastic performances, Feed the Dog is currently working on another album completely self funded.
Horace Greene: The Diamond Engine [2018 Album]
Horace Greene originated in Oshkosh, and have garnered a good online following through Spotify. They currently have 1,800 monthly listeners, and their most popular single “Sunflower Silo” earned 44,000+ streams on Spotify. Horace Greene regularly plays around the Fox Valley.
Dead Horses: My Mother the Moon [2018 Album]
Released last year, My Mother the Moon is a 10 Song album with leading track “Turntable” garnering 18 million streams on Spotify.
The Wisconsin Original Playlist
Band members of Horace Greene have spent the time to curate the best music from original artists all across Wisconsin on a Spotify playlist here. You should follow the playlist, and stumble upon more creators across our great state.
It’s been amazing to see the original music scene grow in Northeast Wisconsin. Local businesses and event promoters have been extremely supportive to artists who are successfully making a living in the area. Events like Mile of Music, Oshkosh Main Street Music Festival, Rhythm & Brews, Steele Bridge Fest, and even Bazaar After Dark have been great systematic ways to bring local music to a new level. Here are some of Northeast Wisconsin’s new music in 2019. We hope you’re able to explore some of the artists, and find some tunes that you like. Did we miss any music? Let us know in the comments.
November is a rollercoaster of a month. It’s cold outside, but tolerable. We turn our clocks back and say goodbye to the sunshine we love so much. It kicks off the holiday season, but you’ll never really know what holiday each retail store will be preparing for. We celebrate Thanksgiving by eating way more food than we need to (not complaining!) and then we stay up all night to buy another TV we likely don’t need. But hey, a deal’s a deal. Here at Venture Wisconsin we are bringing you a round up of all the unique things to do in the Fox Cities during the month of November – get out there and enjoy!
HOLIDAY MAKE & TAKE
When? November 9, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Where? Aurora’s Apothecary in Appleton
Cost? Dependent on what you make
Have you been eyeing up Pinterest all year, hoping to be a DIY queen by the time the holidays around? Try out your skills with custom body products and home sprays through the one and only, Aurora at Aurora’s Apothecary. You will be able to make anything from perfume, lotions, massage oils and so much more. Think about it, you could potentially get all of your stocking stuffers done in one day! Worth it.
ROCK, BLUES AND FUNK AT FIFTH WARD
When? November 9th, 2019 at 4:00 PM
Where? Fifth Ward Brewing Company in Oshkosh
Cost? FREE admission
A heated tent, local Oshkosh, WI beer, food trucks and music. What more could you actually ask for? Celebrate Fifth Ward’s two year anniversary by doing what no two year old should ever do – drinking beer!
SMASH BROS ULTIMATE TOURNAMENT
When? Sunday November 10th, 1:30 PM
Where? Player 2 Arcade Bar, Appleton
Cost? $5 Admission
As if we really need another reason to be a child at heart, right? Well, now you can play your favorite video games with a cocktail in hand at Player 2. Players are encouraged to bring their own Switch, Switch Controller, Gamecube Adapter or Gamecube controller. The $5 entry buy – in will go into a prize pool where the top three players will split the earnings in a 60 – 30 – 10 basis. This tournament will be single matches in a double elimination bracket. Come on out and show your competition what you’re made of!
ALE ASYLUM BEER TASTING
When? Tuesday November 12, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Where? Bazil’s Pub, Appleton
We all know Wisconsin has some amazing beer to offer. And no, that’s not a typo… the beer tastings are free! Head over to Bazil’s to hear Chris from Ale Asylum Brewery talk about new and current beers offered by Ale Asylum. Are you really going to turn down the classic “Keep ‘er Movin’ Light Lager”? I didn’t think so.
DOWNTOWN OSHKOSH HOLIDAY PARADE
When? November 14, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Where? Downtown Oshkosh
Kick off the holiday season nice and early in Oshkosh! Get into the spirit with music in Opera Square starting at 5 PM. The tree lighting ceremony will be at 6 PM, and the parade will promptly begin at 6:15 PM. Get yourself a cup of your favorite local hot chocolate and enjoy this beautiful event in the community!
BRENT THE MUSICAL
When? November 14 – 17, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Where? Backstage at Mayer Theatre in Green Bay
This is a dinner format theatre show. How neat is that! You have some awesome dinner options to go along with this classic hit show. Let Me Be Frank Productions puts on some amazing must see shows – you don’t want to miss out!
CARTOON HAPPY HOUR
When? November 16, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Where? Mr Brews Taphouse in Appleton
What is it with us reverting to our childhood with a beer in hand? Actually, who cares. Moral of the story is that yes, you read that correctly. Wear your pajamas to Mr Brews on November 16th and you will even get $1 off of your flight. Your beer isn’t just paired with some old television classics, but also with some amazing doughnuts from Hill Top Bakery.
GREENE’S POURHOUSE RIBBON CUTTING
When? November 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM
Where? 44 W Sixth Avenue, Oshkosh
Cost? FREE admission
Alright Oshkosh, another good spot to add to your list of lunch venues to suggest to the coworkers. Join Greene’s as they excitedly debut their second location in Northeast Wisconsin. After the ribbon cutting, enjoy some amazing lunch. It will be hard to turn it down!
DOWNTOWN APPLETON CHRISTMAS PARADE
When? November 26, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Where? College Avenue
A holiday classic! You will really be in the holiday spirit when you check out the 49th Annual Christmas Parade. They anticipate the parade to have about 80 units in it, which is pretty impressive.
We were a little late getting the events blog out this month. There’s always something to do around Northeast Wisconsin! Do you have any floats you look forward to seeing yearly? Let us know in the comments!
Breakfast is always something I often miss due to my habit of sleeping in or sometimes simply just not having an appetite right away in the AM. However – whenever I know I’m doing a breakfast episode for Camille’s Choice I get extremely giddy until the day comes. For my last episode of Camille’s Choice, I brought my good friend Morgan with me to Rico’s Family Restaurant in Kaukauna for the worlds biggest brunch.
First off it was the perfect day to grab a nice warm meal in the cozy environment that Rico’s has to offer. It was raining and so gloomy outside that all I wanted was a nice cup of coffee and something to warm my belly. Sure enough, the coffee was delicious and a great start. Not only that, but the Rico’s staff are so friendly and welcoming that their presence warms you up as well. As soon as you walk in the door the feeling of “I would totally come here with my family for a Sunday morning brunch” fills your heart and you feel at home.
Our experience continued with an awesome server. He gave us the low-down on what was good, and what was to die for. So naturally, we took his best recommendations and rolled with it. His face lit up every-time he talked about the food and the flavors that they all provided with their dishes – it was so obvious that he loved his job.
For our first dish – an appetizer of course. Because even though it was nine in the morning, courses are still important when you’re getting to know a new spot. We ordered their quesadillas, plain. Sounds typical, I know, but they were very tasty. The cheese was melty – not too little where it wasn’t gooey, but also not so much that it’s like drinking nacho cheese. And all of the spices and veggies on the side made them tasty for Morgan and I to enjoy all four pieces (oops).
Our entree’s were a mixture of breakfast and lunch – and we did happen to get three entrees for the two of us to share (oops, again). We started with their Mexican omelet that Morgan could not get enough of. With the omelet, they gave us a potato pancake for Morgan to try for the first time. I told her she had to pair it with applesauce because… duh! She did say the texture was different but the flavor was definitely great – and she loved the applesauce with it. My taste test agrees – yummy and obviously homemade.
Next we both got a “lunch” item. So yes, we had three dishes each. My lunch entree was their JT burger which essentially is every burger lovers go-to. It had “the works” and more. For starters it was 1/3 pound patty with bacon, cheese, onions, mayo, lettuce, mushrooms, and pickles – basically you name it and it was on that burger. So good and tasty, the bun was crispy from being on the grill for a bit and the mayo tied everything together. Probably one of the only good burgers I’ve ever had at 9 in the morning. Morgan got their chicken avocado wrap – which is basically exactly what the name states. However there was some bacon and secret sauce on their to spice up the wrap. She said it perfectly – “They don’t mess around with portions at Rico’s!” The wrap and burger were both huge and it was so great how you could taste each little spice and flavor the wrap had to offer. Avocado was a friendly familiar face I was happy made a visit.
If you can’t already tell, Rico’s is a must. The environment is so cozy and welcoming for a breakfast date or a family meal on a Sunday afternoon. Good coffee, big portions, and great flavors were experienced throughout our entire time. Thank you so much to Rico’s for having us for Camille’s Choice, and we can’t wait to come back and try your amazing ice cream which we’ve already gotten a lot of comments on!
Have y’all ever been to Rico’s in Kaukauna or any of their other two locations? If so – what did you order? Comment below so we have an idea for which dish to try next!
The art scene in the Fox Valley is booming the last few years, and we noticed a lot of cool opportunities for you, dates, lovers, friends, and kids to learn different skills.
Step 1: Basic Hand Lettering Class – Preparation for Calligraphy
When? September 6th
Where? Letter Create
A prerequisite for all Letter Create Workshops is the Basics Hand Lettering Class.
This class translates into all forms of writing techniques including brush lettering, calligraphy, modern flourish script, paint lettering, to name a few. It is a pencil and paper penmanship class. They recommend you take a Step 2 class if you would like to learn calligraphy, brush lettering, or flourish calligraphy. Tickets/Sign Up
Water & Skies Landscapes Watercolor Class
When? September 11
Where? : Mud & Prints
Channel your inner Bob Ross OR your inner Lee Mothes!
This is a three week class and you meet two hours each Wednesday to really develop your skills over time. Wednesday September 11th, 18th, and 25th from 6pm-8pm.
Participants are in charge of every step of making a claymation. Develop a story, create clay characters, build set design, select music, and learn the basics of video movement in this fun beginner class. Students will have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials as they plan, produce, and assemble their videos. Working in teams of 2-3, students will use a stop motion app on an iPad to record their clay animations.
Make your own rug in this workshop. You can bring additional fabric (any type) to this workshop to create a more interesting depth to your rug. We will have a limited variety of fabrics to choose from. Cotton is the best fabric to use. T-shirts make a great option as well.
Everyone will go home with a 2×3 foot rug. If you do not finish your rug during the workshop you will take home the instructions and be able to finish your rug at home.
That crisp fall air couldn’t wait to make an appearance this year! While we all hate to see summer go so quickly, we can find comfort in the fact that fall brings a whole lot to look forward to – and it isn’t just a pumpkin spice drink!
Rooftop Yoga (& Pizza)
When? September 6th
Where? 100 N Main Building Downtown Oshkosh
Hosted by Dr. Stephanie Matulle. Experience serene, invigorating yoga above the hustle and bustle of the city with the sky wide open above!
Afterwards head down to Cranky Pats for unlimited pizza.
Friday : September 6 : 5:30-6:30pm YOGA ONLY : $10 in advance : $12 at the door YOGA + PIZZA : $17 in advance : $20 at the door
Email Stephanie to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
When? September 6 & 7, 2019
Where? Titletown Brewing Company – Green Bay
A neat event in Green Bay featuring diverse and talented artists for 2 days of nonstop talent. Starting Friday at 5 PM, come out to see Cory Chisel, DJ Ross Grizzly, and many other performers that you don’t want to miss! This awesome event is FREE to get in to.
BANDS ON THE BEACH
When? September 8, 2019
Where? Neshotah Park – Two Rivers
Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds! Enjoy the crisp fall day on the beach while listening to the beautiful sounds of “Unity the Band”. The fun begins at 4 PM. Think about it… this may be your last beach experience for 2019!
When? September 12, 2019
Where? Bare Bones Brewery – Oshkosh
Beer, comedy, and a good time! Enjoy some amazing craft beer and 3 comedians, it really doesn’t get much better than that. Grab a friend and make sure to get your tickets early as this event is known to sell out! $10 now, $15 at the door. This is an event you don’t want to miss!
When? September 13 & 14, 2019
Where? 8th Street Ale Haus – Sheboygan
Two days of Oktoberfest. The Mayor of Sheboygan will be tapping the Oktoberfest Keg at noon on Saturday. Sheboygan knows how to party! The fun begins on Friday at 7 PM with live music and kicks off again at 11 AM Saturday. Sheboygan won’t disappoint us – they will even be serving authentic Eisbein, Schnitzel, Rollbraten, Haus-made Bratwurst, Rueben Wraps, Kraut and German Potato Salad all day. See y’all there!
When? September 14, 2019
Where? Downtown Kaukauna
Here’s a fun twist to the usual Farmer’s Market! Kaukauna is stepping up their game this day – they will be extending the hours for the marker to be from 7:30 AM to 1 PM. During this time you will have the opportunity to shop from some amazing small vendors, enjoy live music, participate in kids’ activities and the option to help out with a fundraiser. What a perfect way to end the outdoor Farmers Market season!
BEATS AND BIKES BREWERY TOUR
When? September 14, 2019
Where? Fox River Brewing Co. – Oshkosh
Get your Saturday started off right with a bike ride and a beer! Visit all 3 awesome breweries in Oshkosh with a 12 mile bike ride. Ride leisurely with the group or head off on your own – the choice is yours. You will get $1 off every beer you purchase, you will participate in a raffle, you will take home a pint glass AND a mixed 6 pack from the participating breweries. Beer lovers… does it get any better than this?
Still feeling thirsty after the Beats and Bikes Brewery Tour? Green Bay’s got you covered. Head up to the Botanical Garden to experience some amazing local beer. Samples will be provided from different microbreweries. There will be plenty of amazing food and drinks for purchase as well. Once you’re fed and have a drink in your hand, enjoy the live music by the bonfires. This may seriously be the perfect way to kick off the fall.
When? September 21, 2019
Where? Vande Hey Company – Appleton
Vande Hey Company is throwing us their annual Fall Festival and it will be as awesome as you can imagine! Live music, activities for kids, hay rides, food, a chili cook off and yes….. a beer garden! The perfect combination for fun for all ages. Best of all? It’s free. The event begins at 11 AM and runs until 5 PM.
When? September 28, 2019
Where? Downtown Appleton
That time of year again to shut down College Ave and do some day drinking! You know the drill – 9 AM to 6 PM. There will be more food options than you can wrap your head around, enough beer to keep you warm and a good time to be had.
When? September 29th
Where? The Fox Club (At Timber Rattlers Stadium)
Flourish is a vendor driven wellness event, meant to help the Fox Valley make genuine connections with wellness providers and to learn about wellness services and products available locally.
The Event is from 10am-3pm. Tickets are $7 ahead of time. $10 at the door.
We’re seriously bummed that we can’t go to all of these events, but we hope you decide to check out a few of them. Fall season in Wisconsin is the best! Make the most of it. Which event looks the most fun to you?
Do you ever feel like sitting in the warm sand with toes in the water of a beautiful beach – but just don’t have a clue where a decent beach is located in Wisconsin? This list will help that change with the snap of a finger. Today we’re bringing you a list of 32 beaches in Northeast Wisconsin alone so you never have to question again where to enjoy your day-cation.
Note: No man made swim lakes are included in this list. Sand beaches only.
1. Point Beach State Forest
Two Rivers, WI
2. Neshotah Park
Two Rivers, WI
3. Manitowoc Silver Creek Park
4. Kohler-Andrae State Park
Note: Paid Entry
5. Deland Park
6. King Park
Note: Includes Blue Harbor Beach.
7. South Shore Beach
8. Fireman’s Park & Swimming Beach
Elkhart Lake, WI
Notes: Paid Entry.
9. Egg Harbor Beach
Egg Harbor, WI
Notes: Watersport Rentals Available.
10. Fish Creek Public Beach
Fish Creek, WI
11.Sister Bay Beach
Sister Bay, WI
12. Haines Beach
Sturgeon Bay, WI
13.Newport State Park (Europe Bay Beach)
Ellison Bay, WI
Notes: Two separate beaches. Both technically in Newport State Park. Europe Bay is free parking, Newport is paid.
14. Nicolet Beach
Fish Creek, WI
15. Bailey’s Harbor Ridges Park
Bailey’s Harbor, WI
16. Beach Front Stage
Sister Bay, WI
17. Whitefish Dunes State Park
Notes: Paid Entry
18. Clark Lake
19. Portage Park
Sturgeon Bay, WI
20. South Park Beach
21. Little Silver Beach
Wild Rose, WI
Note: Paid Entry.
22. Hartman’s Creek Beach at Hartman Creek State Park
Note: Paid Entry. Watersport Rentals.
23. Shawano Lake County Park
24. Bay Shore Park
New Franken, WI
25. Oughton Park
(We couldn’t find a photo with the sand/beach in it – if you have any, send ’em our way!)
26. Oconto Falls East Side Beach
Oconto Falls, WI
27. Little Newton Lake Beach
28. Red Arrow Park
29. City Park
30. Crescent Beach & Boardwalk
Fond Du Lac County
31. Mauthe Lake Beach
32. Wolf Lake County Park
St. Cloud, WI
Which of these Wisconsin beaches have you tried out for yourself? More importantly – which one are you going to visit first? No time to waste – snow is just around the corner!
I’m going to go ahead and start this with my definition of a “Hole-in-the-Wall” restaurant. To me, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a place that is small with limited or no indoor seating. Typically a place where something about the restaurant is deceiving, AKA the food surpasses the expectations set by a usually lack-luster interior or exterior. A hole-in-the-wall to me has an infamous character, a place where not everyone within a 5 mile radius eats there, but everyone in a 5 mile radius HAS eaten there. Places that are either simply great quality, passionately patronized by droves of regulars, or carry a special history or reputation when discussed in conversation. I hope this list finds you well, and gives you a few spots to go next time you and you’re friends are on the road in an unfamiliar area, or you and your partner need a new spot in town to check out.
Al’s Hamburger Shop
Address: 131 S Washington St, Green Bay, WI 54301
Al’s is a Green Bay classic. In the heart of Downtown Green Bay and a few doors down from the Meyer Theater, Al’s has been serving up classic American fast food since 1934! That’s older than McDonald’s (Est. 1940)
Joe’s Texas BBQ
Address: 1800 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304
A quaint and long established eatery, Joe’s recently moved locations to be closer to Lambeau Field. They serve classic barbeque that surpasses the expectations of their small shop.
Taqueria Don Pancho
Address: 1807 N Irwin Ave, Green Bay, WI 54302
This “Hole in the Wall” is such a hidden gem, we haven’t heard from them online since 2016. Taqueria has very high reviews for their authentic Mexican Cuisine at very fair prices. Don’t be scared off by the exterior, the food gets high marks from their customers.
Address: 1513 N Richmond St, Appleton, WI 54911
Basil Café is on the line as a “Hole-in-the-Wall” The location isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to accommodate, but the exterior makes the real deal feel like a mirage. From the outside, Basil appears to be basic, but once you step foot inside, you’re transported into another world! The food lives up to the expectation set by the interior. Highly regarded in the Appleton community.
Home Burger Bar
Address: 205 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54911
Home Burger Bar is reminiscent of comfortable, delicious burger bars in larger cities like Madison and Milwaukee. Tucked in on College Ave Downtown Appleton, Home Burger Bar is clean, quirky, and delivers on their name sake, their burgers.
Address: 104 S Memorial Dr, Appleton, WI 54911
Mai’s Deli is an awesome food shop with an awesome history. For years local immigrants sold their stuffed chicken wings essentially egg rolls but instead of the roll, the insides are stuffed into a chicken wing. Eventually, the family opened Mai’s Deli, and they’ve been consistently packed ever since. Very small, quaint location on the corner of College Ave and Memorial Drive. Mai’s Deli is a great spot for a tasty bite.
Address: 1514 Oregon St. Oshkosh WI
Pete’s has become somewhat of an unstoppable force in Oshkosh. The place barely has a chance to breath it’s often packed with warm faces, and happy customers.
Address: 121 W Murdock Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Leon’s covers the Northside of Oshkosh for it’s tasty fast food, and amazing custard needs. In fact, a custard machine from Leon’s was purchased by the Culver family for their first location. I don’t have a source for this, but I heard Craig Culver say this to the owner of Leon’s at an entrepreneurship event at UW Oshkosh (Craig Culver’s alma mater).
Ardy & Ed’s
Address: 2413 S Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54902
Ardy & Ed’s on the flip side, covers the Southside of Oshkosh’s needs. Ardy and Ed’s still has car hops on roller skates that serve their customers.
Address: 1644 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081
Shulz’s has been around for DECADES! A truly classic American dining experience, and something that you have to see for yourself.
Address: 1504 Eastern Ave, Plymouth, WI 53073
Not exactly in Sheboygan, Chester’s is a classic drive in with delicious American fast food and ice cream. The drive-in is over 40 years old.
Address: 2504 Calumet Dr, Sheboygan
Harry’s Diner is a 1950 style diner open for breakfast and lunch. If you’re looking for a unique, quaint spot for breakfast in Sheboygan, Harry’s is a great place to start.
The Booyah Shed – Green Bay
Mr. Taco – Downtown – Appleton
My Lee’s Egg Roll House – Appleton
Rhapsodies – Oshkosh
Hole-in-the-wall restaurants are interesting because they are always changing. For example, Joe’s Texas BBQ, just moved locations. Plus, sometimes new joints emerge or old ones lose their consistency. As Venture Wisconsin grow, and we learn more about Northeast Wisconsin, we will share the knowledge with you! What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall? Do you agree with our definition? Let me know in the comments.