There is still so much exploration to be done for my husband and I in the city of Green Bay, but we have always been explorers of breweries first and foremost when we land in a fresh place. Now that we are able to do that again on the back of Wisconsin’s reopening, we found ourselves at Copper State Brewing downtown by the river. We saw the menu online and immediately felt a kinship to the place.
We’ve been to a lot of brewpubs with burgers and pizzas on the menu, and those places have historically been among our favorites in each town that we have lived in since we left college. The call of a good beer and a good slice of pizza is hard for us to resist, even amidst COVID-19 concerns. So we got in the car, we drove, and we arrived.
Before the stay at home order went into effect in Wisconsin, I was vaguely aware of Zambaldi’s Brewery opening up nearby. I saw it on facebook, made a mental note of it to visit soon, and then the world went to shit. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a post come across my facebook showing that they were now open and hosting food trucks many days of the week in their parking lot.
The day we decided to venture out, they hosted the Gourmet Corn Food truck that featured gourmet corn on the cob and hispanic fair such as cochinita pibil to go along with it. We arrived very excited for this, but we forgot to bring cash. We unfortunately missed out on this chance to eat at the Gourmet Corn Food truck, but they are part of the Zambaldi’s rotation.
Thankfully, the taproom is not cash only. We were able to go inside and have a few beers in very safe circumstances. The outdoor seating was completely full, or we would have sat ourselves under their big, striped umbrellas to enjoy a beer the way its meant to be in Wisconsin. The bar itself maintained social distancing by placing X markers at chairs in order to enforce distance between parties, the first of this tactic I saw anywhere.Their wait staff followed all of the standard precautions I’ve seen so far when going out to eat in Wisconsin. They wore masks and gloves, cleaned up tables at regular intervals, and maintained the bar diligently.
We got a seat an appropriate distance from any other tables, and we treated ourselves to some weekday beers. The selection available is wide, but my husband and I turned to two varieties that we felt would be safe at a new brewery we were unfamiliar with. The first, and our favorite of the two, was their Arnie Brau Blonde-- crisp, flavorful, and apparently able to be turned into a shandy if you request it at the bar. We had it straight, and it was a nice sipping beer to just sit and talk.
The wheat from home was a light and gentle wheat beer that I did not find particularly ground breaking, but if you’re someone who is afraid of risking it with new breweries, its a good choice. You won’t be disappointed, and it will comfort you as you ease yourself into a new location.
If you visit Zambaldi’s on a day where there are no food trucks, have no fear if you need a snack with your beer. They do offer soft pretzels with beer cheese to snack on while you enjoy a cold one. The beer cheese is presented cool, but that didn’t hinder its flavor. It held my husband and I over until we could get home for me to cook dinner since we forgot cash for the food truck.
We learned a lesson with the food truck for later, but the visit was well worth it. Knowing that a quality brewery is so close to our home makes it a little easier to risk venturing out to feel like we’re part of the world again.