Traveling across Iowa and Wisconsin, I tried a fair amount of local craft beer… and a lot of meat and potatoes and ice cream (along with one fancier excellent meal at Forequarter in Madison). A few memories:
The West O (West Okoboji) lager was nicely crisp and well done. I finally had the all-the-rage New Glarus Spotted Cow and a few others from New Glarus and they were solid, good beers but didn’t blow me away.
At a traveling Iowa Craft Beer tent with a rotating cast of 10-15 beers, the Lions Bridge “Workmans Comp” rye was a real standout I’d order anywhere, a little peppery and quite malty. The Backpocket Gold Coin was also a solid, fresh lager.
Some good cheese-curds-and-gravy poutine at The Cooper’s Tavern in Madison and a heavily malty, slightly peaty Founders Dirty Bastard, another good beer.
Ale Asylum and Karben4 in Madison both had some decent beers and friendly people, and to my surprise the Fantasy Factory IPA was my favorite from either (I haven’t even been in an IPA mood for a while).
Eating a whole pork chop as a roadside snack during a bike ride (smoked over corn cobs, so it was flavorful and firm but not falling-apart fatty):
A little bit of Cornwall in the old lead mining town of Mineral Point, Wisconsin: pasty is a pastry filled with ground beef, onions, and rutabaga (an idea I’ll have to remember for my next shepherd’s pie), though this one was a bit dry:
I tried several slices of pie across Iowa, and while I liked the novelty of ground cherry, the best was a slice of apple pie a la mode (with the ice cream being churned right in front of me) by an Amish family, sold out of a roadside horse trailer. Though the creamy, silky ice cream I had all across Wisconsin blew this away.
Finally, what trip to an Iowa fairground would be complete without a “walking taco” a.k.a. “taco in a bag”. Two excited kids were chanting a sales pitch for their stand so I gave in to the pile of ground beef, cheese, and salsa poured into a foil bag of Fritos.