A dozen people at once crowded into American Family Insurance to sample New Glarus beer from Wisconsin during Main Street Mt. Pleasant’s Saving of the Green Beer Walk on Thursday, March 14.
Mark Hamilton, with American Family Insurance, drove a little over two hours one way last weekend to cross the border into Wisconsin just to pick up at least 20 different kinds of New Glarus beer for the beer walk.
“It’s a tradition,” Hamilton said.
The insurance agent was first introduced to New Glarus eight years ago when he was served some New Glarus Spotted Cow on tap. His son used to work only 40 minutes from New Glarus Brewing, so they decided to take a tour. Since then, it’s become his — and possibly Mt. Pleasant residents’ — favorite brand of beer.
“The first time we brought it in, everyone liked it,” Hamilton said. “A lot of people come back (to the beer walk) knowing we have New Glarus. We added a few new flavors and have all three seasonal ales: Raspberry, Serendipity and a Belgian red ale.”
The 15 other businesses participating in the beer walk Thursday had just as unique options.
Maribel Raurez served Mexican beers at Little Mexico. Even though it was their first time participating in the event, the Mexican restaurant was a revolving door as people squeezed limes into their tasting glasses.
Chris LaMore, owner of Big Dog Tattoos, was serving some local brews as well.
“We wanted something other than Bush Lite, the national beer of Iowa,” he said.
The beer walk and other Main Street events bring people in to Big Dog who otherwise may never walk through the door, LaMore said.
Penny Rauenbuehler was serving beer from Bent River Brewing and beer brats and bubble bread that she made for the event at Your Dream Home.
“We need to participate and want Mt. Pleasant to succeed,” Rauenbuehler said, adding it invites new people into the store.
Your Dream Home had hidden a leprechaun during the beer walk. Anyone who found it would get half off an item, said Heather Leichty, owner.
“I think everybody is so tired of ice and snow,” Leichty said. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the community.
Samantha Alexander was serving beer from local breweries at Keo’s Bar and Grill. She said the beer walk is a good way for people to introduce themselves to something they haven’t tried before.
Sam Riepe, at the Vintage Raven, served Northwoods Lager, Angry Orchard hard cider and Fat Tire amber ale. Riepe said Main Street events are always a fun way to get people out and downtown. He has people drop by the store who say they didn’t know the Vintage Raven was there. Although it’s “more of a goodwill thing than about sales,” it’s always nice to see those customers return, Riepe said.
Julia Schaefer, who was serving samples at AnyWear Apparel, said she volunteers to work any Main Street event she can. “I just really like how it draws out new people, and it’s really social.”
Patti Roth sampled Jalapeno Pepper beer at AnyWear Apparel. Roth, along with Amanda Clark and BreAnne Gnann, said they come out to all of the Main Street events.
“It’s fun to go around and visit with people, go places you don’t usually go into,” Clark said.
Hoby Fewler was writing down every beer he tried. Fewler, of New London, said he hadn’t been to downtown Mt. Pleasant since 2005, and it has changed a lot.
“I am surprised so many things have changed. I can’t believe it. It’s so much different,” Fewler said.
Fewler is a “bit of a beer connoisseur,” he said. “I prefer my beer warm, so you can taste it better. You can Google that,” he said.