The Last Gasp of Summer
And a review of Hinterland Brewery
We welcomed 70 degree weather in Green Bay the weekend of November 7th, 2020. It was election day part 4. The sun shined pleasantly and a gentle breeze carried cool air in through the windows. It was the last gasp of summer, and in it, many people went out into the world to enjoy what they could before the cold settled in again. This was a perfect day for me in every regard: the weather was perfect, and I felt good. I can’t remember the last time those two things came together in perfect harmony.
My husband and I took advantage of the day as much as we could, doing shopping that we had been putting off for months and sitting down for a snack at Hinterland Brewery when we went to the West Side of town for the first time in awhile together. Their outdoor seating has a great view of Lambeau and the whole of Titletown, so sitting out there in the sun and the breeze, enjoying a beer over a plate of hummus and pita bread, felt like the most right thing to do in the world.
--While most of the pictures below are from Copper State, the latter portion of this post is a review of what I love most about Hinterland. We had a lovely day at both!
We were not the only people taking part in exactly this celebration of the weather. Small families were gathered at spaced out tables, sunning themselves and having the exact same conversation as my husband and I. We could not believe the weather. Yes, it was record breaking and a clear sign of climate change, but we all needed a little bit of warmth in the face of the pandemic as it raged through our communities. Eating outside is the only relatively safe way for us to support these businesses face to face, and that opportunity is going to be gone before we know it.
I like to think that this is why, everywhere we went, we found just about every outdoor and socially distant table almost completely full. We stopped at Zambaldi Beer to pick up their community supported brewery box-- every outdoor seat was full. Inside, with the garage doors open to the air, almost completely full. We decided to move on and find somewhere else a little less crowded to eat dinner and landed at a favorite, Copper State Brewing, where there we open tables outside and fewer people at them.
The sun set. The wait staff turned out the outdoor heaters, and we basked in what may as well be the last chance to enjoy our town face to face before the winter is over. Safety in the pandemic will ask a lot of us, mostly staying away from public gatherings and eating indoors at restaurants, which is hard to imagine when you’re enjoying a beer under twinkling overhead lights while a gentle breeze goes by. We’ll have to let it go, but not before savoring every bite of food and every drop of beer.
I have been to Hinterland before and yet never given them a proper review, which is on me. In some ways, this little ode to our nice weather will be that review. Whenever we had company during the summer, we took them to Hinterland to see Lambeau and get a good meal at the same time. The location can’t be beat, and the food is something special. Like every currently surviving establishment in town, they have adapted to the pandemic to continue to do business. With winter coming, they’ll lose the asset that was their very appealing outdoor seating.
On that beautiful morning, the sun and the breeze on Titletown couldn’t be beat. We had to weigh down our menus with our cell phones, but that didn’t stop the breeze from feeling good. We planned to stop in originally just to pick up a case of the Voyageurs Sourdough collab beer, Liquid Provisions, before it ran out. The weather lured us out for a snack and a drink however. It was a chance to try Liquid Provisions before we bought a case to take home.
On past trips we have ordered one of their pizzas, had cheese curds and even their fried brussels sprouts, but neither of us were so hungry that we wanted a full meal. We ordered their lemon-garlic hummus with pita breads and crudite. When the plate arrived, my husband admitted to me that he did not know what crudite was until he saw a bunch of cut vegetables on the table with our appetizer. Poor guy.
He isn’t much of a veggie eater, so I tried my best to eat most of the veggies and let him get more than his ‘share’ of the pita breads. The smooth hummus was one of the best I’ve had at a restaurant in a long time, carrying enough acid from the lemon they added to balance against the garlicky, warm pita on the plate. Neutral veggies like carrots let the dip itself sing. Our little snack alongside our beers became another feather in the cap of Hinterland’s kitchen staff as far as I’m concerned. I have never been disappointed by anything we’ve eaten there.
I most fondly remember their cheese curds and the kimchi ketchup that they serve alongside them. It’s been months since I had them, but I still remember that zippy taste fondly as I was the only person at the table who’d eat the ketchup. My husband’s distaste of tomato runs the whole gambit from raw to sauce, so he’ll never quite understand how special that little ketchup was to me at the time. I did take the side home. I did eat it with Lays Original potato chips later, like a weirdo. Don’t judge me.
The good news for Hinterland is that their carryout family menu looks freakin’ amazing. Until visiting, I was not aware that Hinterland was also doing family style meals for carryout or delivery. The good news is that you can check this out on their website when you order for yourself as the weather cools down and outdoor seating has to close again. The tools will be out there to continue supporting local businesses as winter robs them of a strong revenue source. These family meals will likely rotate each week just like the individual daily specials that the restaurant does every week.
Hinterland will always be at the top of my list as a place to take newcomers to when they want to visit Lambeau-- especially if they’re beer people. The sports bars on every side of Lambeau are special in their own right, but the kitchen program at Hinterland has so many wonderful offerings that I can’t let people go without tasting what they’re doing in there for themselves. Follow them on facebook for news about what’s going on at the brewery, including specials and new beers. Their website has an online ordering option available.
If you’re reading this the day it’s posted, please do your best to safely support local businesses during the last few days of warm weather we’re going to have in Northeast Wisconsin. Every dollar counts if you can part with it. These folks are going to need us to get through what’s looking to be a fan-free Lambeau Winter and a pandemic.
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