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Good For What Ales You

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Café Hollander on State Street in the middle of downtown Wauwatosa is a grand café in the style of those found throughout the Low Countries, especially the “Benelux” region - otherwise known as Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. European grand cafes are comfortable places where neighbors can meet over a cup of espresso, a snack, a meal or a strong ale. Café Hollander is all about the Benelux region’s rich culture – especially a love for Belgian bier. 

As I embark on a new year of beer-related blogging, I thought I’d give all an end-of-year test on our favorite subject. So, best of luck on your New Year’s quiz to test your love of beer, Café Hollander-style!

How do real beer lovers spell beer?

A. Most of them cannot spell
B. Most of them do not like to spell
C. Bier or beer
D. Makes no nevermind when you’re ordering one

All of the above seem to fit and it tastes just as good no matter your answer. Next question!

100 bottles of beer on the wall is:

A. A lot of beer
B. Not enough beer
C. 34 short of Café Hollander’s menu
D. Your favorite song

Again, A through D could be correct. One thing is sure, Café Hollander’s 24 tap biers and 110 via bottle are always good for what ales you. (I resolve NOT to use that pun again in 2012.)

Ename Cuvee, Chimay White, W’Ice Chouffe and Wittekerke are best know as:

A. European rappers
B. Soon-to-be replacements for the Zumba craze
C. Winter Olympic stars
D. Must-have winter ales at Café Hollander

As much as I’d like to see a new Euro rap star emerge, the answer is D. From boozy sweetness (W’Ice) to malty sweetness (Cuvee), abbey tripel (Chimay) to a big winter wit (Wittekerke), there’s nothing like cozying up to a fire in the winter – as long as there’s a winter ale next to said fire. And, if you’re feeling especially cheerful, sample Lakefront Brewery’s Holiday Spice Lager and its 11% alcohol by volume - a bargain at less than $6 a bottle!

If the world ends in 2012, the last place I want to be is:

A. At home watching the ball drop in Times Square.
B. In my basement with plenty of water and batteries
C. With someone I love….or really, really like.
D. Café Hollander’s New Year’s Eve party

Watch the ball drop on your smart phone next to someone you love/like at Café Hollander. If you resolve to do one thing better this new year, I say be better at enjoying time with friends and family. After all, when our time is up and we look back on each year, we’re probably not going to gleam and remember that stellar PowerPoint or rockin’ business lunch, or that shiny new car or trendy watch that made us so happy. We’re going to remember: laughing with friends; laughing at friends; holding a friend’s hand; lending a friend a hand. We’re going to fondly recall sipping beer with an uncle; sharing a sandwich with a soul mate; watching a smile form on the face of the person across from you at Café Hollander.

Here’s to 2011. And many, many smiles in 2012.

Café Hollander
7677 W. State Street, Wauwatosa



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The Bus That Keeps on Giving

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

As we near the end of an incredible Green Bay Packers season, one in which they hopefully go 18-1 (OMGreen they were sooooo close to 19-0! Er, actually they weren’t, we all just thought too far ahead) and claim another Super Bowl crown, it’s time we take this helpful TRUE/FALSE quiz to get us through the last two games (vs. Duh Bears on Christmas, then Suh Lions on New Year’s Day) of the season.

For clarification and ease of use, true means true and false means false. And, the commentary after each statement can be construed as such. Got it? Good. Here goes:

True or False: The Bears still suck.

True, even more so, if that’s possible.

True or False: The Lions are overrated?

True, even more so since they barely squeezed by the lowly Raiders in week 14…and the Packers crushed the silver and black in week 13. You do the math.

True or False: Lamers busses are the only way to get to Lambeau Field from Milwaukee?

Technically, both. It’s FALSE, because, of course, you could drive yourself, but why drive when you don’t have to? So, it’s TRUE because who wouldn’t want to sit on a roomy tour bus with pals (pals who bring coolers of beer are best) and let your friendly Lamers Bus Lines driver see you safely to the frozen tundra? It’s also extremely true because the ride back after a Packers game can be brutal. But, who knew on our bus? We were all comfortably catching Zs after another Packers win.

True or False: Raiders fans are crazy.

TRUE. Two words: Raider Vaders.

True or False:  The all-you-can-eat-and-drink tailgate package offered by Lamers and Packer Fan Tours is worth every penny.

ALL-YOU-CAN-CHEW-TRUE. Our modest caravan of two Lamers buses rolled into the parking lot at Brett Favre’s Steakhouse at exactly 11:58. The all-you-can-eat-and-drink tailgate starts at noon. We were tailgating (with Raider Vaders, sans their lightsabers) at 12:01. Endless rows and rows and rows of Bloody Marys and Miller products – all lined up ready to be consumed. Mr. Favre should get some pearly gates for his fine establishment.

True or False: Steaming jambalaya (all you can eat jambalaya!), brats and burgers are delicious, especially when it’s 30 degrees outside.

As true as the Force is strong with Aaron Rodgers.

True or False: Wins 14 and 15 are not important.

FALSE! Since when is winning not important? Since when is losing to the Bears and Lions acceptable? Since when is riding to the greatest stadium (have yet to travel to the Roman Colosseum, but unless the Packers have an away game there, I’m not interested) on earth for Christmas and New Year’s not a must-do event? In fact, these last two games are even more important than ever. When is the next time you’ll get to see your Pack crush division opponents at Lambeau Field on Christmas AND New Year’s?

True or False: You’re calling Lamers right now.

True. And, you’re buying that certain someone who’s impossible to shop for a unique and unforgettable (how many Christmases can you say you got someone a bus?!) Christmas gift. And, soon you’ll be boarding the bus at SPiN Milwaukee (perfect spot for a Bloody Mary before boarding and game of ping pong after unloading) next Sunday and the Sunday after to take part in Packers history.

True or False: The Packers will give us two more wins for the holidays

True. But don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself.

Lamers Bus Lines
Packer Fan Tours Tailgate Party
SPiN Milwaukee


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Old World Wisconsin Holidays

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Most of us know the story of “A Christmas Carol.” It’s been done on stage, on screen, via Muppets and no doubt by puppets. Scrooge snarls, Marley clanks. Tiny Tim enters stage left. The music and singing begin. Clapping and holiday joy ensues. Well, for all of us feeling a little been-there-done-that, thank Christmas for Old World Wisconsin’s production of “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol,” a four-character, uncharacteristic version of the classic Dickens tale told through the eyes of Jacob Marley.

No elaborate costumes. No fake snow. No clanking chains. Just four actors in a one-room hall older than Scrooge (the date – 1874 – is painted on the Farmers Club Hall building where performances are held) perfecting their craft. Turns out Marley wasn’t such a good guy (well, we kinda figured that already) and we find out exactly why setting Scrooge straight is no humbug – for Scrooge or Marley.

Marley’s tale, however, was only one act of a must-do holiday production at Old World Wisconsin including an optional dinner theater (it’s more dinner followed by stroll to theater) in the Clausing Barn loft – the perfect setting for a holiday feast. We opted for the matinee, so it was lunch theater, and if you’ve ever done dinner and a movie, this is better because it’s sooner (I have patience issues - I can’t wait for Christmas!). Complimentary mulled wine or cider is followed by a holiday buffet (Tiny Tim’s roasted turkey, Cratchit’s cranberry relish, Marley’s mince pies among others) that would make old Scrooge blow a gasket.

Act two helps work off the stuffing and mashed potatoes from act one as you stroll through the Crossroads Village and enjoy “The Spirit of Christmas Past,” a deck-the-halls-and-all-other-buildings celebration featuring carols, bonfires and Saturday sleigh rides – if it ever snows!

The final act finds you back in the Clausing Barn loft, this time with Father Christmas himself (it’s actually him!). Breakfast with Father Christmas (adults $17, children 5-12 - $9, children 4 and under are free) includes an array of delectable offerings including scrambled eggs, garden quiche, cheesy hash browns and carving and pastry stations. Oh man do I love the holidays.

And did we ever love our visit to Old World Wisconsin – just a blink outside Eagle on highway 67. It’s a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. And, a good break from the everyday holiday things (malls, strip malls, outlet malls) to simply enjoy Christmas through the eyes of Old World Wisconsin. And, of course, Jacob Marley.

Old World Wisconsin
W372 S9727 Hwy 67
Eagle, WI 53119

“Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” – through December 18
The Spirit of Christmas Past – December 10-11
Breakfast with Father Christmas – December 17


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MOTOR in to a Classic

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Imagine stepping out your door, then five minutes later you’re strutting your stuff on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. How about taking a 10-minute cab ride to stroll through the Guggenheim Museum? A nice 15-minute bike ride to ascend to the top of the Space Needle would be pretty cool, hey?

Bike or no bike (motorbike would be fitting), you can get to the Harley-Davidson Museum in about 20 minutes from just about anywhere in the Milwaukee area. An American classic, as classic as Americana gets, is right here in our backyard and it’s jam packed with exhibits, archives, over 450 motorcycles and thousands of artifacts. And, it’s parked on a 20-acre campus along the Menomonee River – just a paddle from Milwaukee’s lakefront.

That in itself should be reason enough to visit, but there’s MOre (you had to know there’d be more). This classic, one-of-a-kind museum also boasts a classic restaurant and bar – MOTOR. I know, I know, a museum restaurant? Nuked burgers and soggy fries that cost $10 each, right? Wrong. A company who conceived and continues to give birth to the best motorcycle the planet has ever seen (and heard) didn’t skimp on their museum’s restaurant. It’s an extension of the museum (bikes, engines and photos are everywhere) with the perk of awesome food and drinks.

We were revved for an awesome Friday night and MOTOR did not stall. First gear: drinks. I filled up with a pint of Sprecher Gasoline (at $3.50 per fill-up during Happy Hour, I’m ecstatic to pull up to the pump) and my wife ordered a bottle of Sprecher Cherry Cola. MOTOR prides itself on providing local brews and beverages from the likes of Sprecher and Lakefront Brewery (mmm, Lakefront Motor Oil) so visitors get a taste of not just Harley-Davidson, but other Milwaukee classics.

Second gear: appetizer. Big and Twisted Pretzels served with mustard sauce and cheese dip. They were big, they were twisted and they were delicious.

Third gear: dinner. Mac ‘N Cheese (and my son thought he wouldn’t have fun dining out with old people), a MOTOR burger (this one should’ve come with its own bike trailer) and the world-famous Milwaukee tradition: all-you-can-eat-beer-battered Friday fish fry. This was by far one of the best fish fries I have ever had (and I’ve filled my tank quite a few times). The fish was perfectly fried – crispy on the outside and oh-so tender on the inside – and included a sidecar of fries, creamy coleslaw, cornbread (oh man, just like your grandma would make) and tartar sauce.

And just when I thought we’d throttle down, a cookie sundae skillet arrived. That’s right, cookie sundae skillet. It’s a chocolate chunk cookie served with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate and caramel sauce in a piping-hot skillet. It topped off our tanks and our night to perfection.

It took us exactly 22 minutes to get back to our home in Pewaukee and as we drove, I thought of all the people going to and fro on the highway around us and wondered: how many of them know they’re just minutes away from a museum and restaurant you can’t find anywhere else in the world? Minutes away from a museum people travel days and thousands of miles to see? I hope many of them do realize how close and special it is, because our little world here in Milwaukee is pretty darn cool. Especially when you see it on two wheels.

MOTOR Bar and Restaurant
401 West Canal Street


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