Field Trips: Hinterland Brewery

All photos by Kevin Gibson.  Previously housed in a cozy space in downtown Green Bay, Hinterland took a mighty step this past football offseason. It is now one of the anchors of the $130 million Titletown District development adjacent to historic Lambeau Field, the home, of course, of the Green Bay Packers. The good news is, the new space still has a cozy feel to it. The better news is the beer is still good.

I visited with my girlfriend Cynthia during a training camp visit, and one of the first thing I noticed when I walked in – aside from the brewhouse situated behind a glass wall – was all the preserved wildlife. It’s almost a full-on moose theme, no doubt a nod to Green Bay’s love of hunting and game meat. Centerpieces on the beer garden-style tables have antlers to accent the stuffed moose heads and even full taxidermized wildlife. The mouth-watering menu even features a few choices beyond the usual steak and chicken, such as a goat entrée, ocean trout, and grilled duck.

Otherwise, it’s a modern-looking brewery with concrete floors, fireplaces, brick accents, and a full view of the kitchen from the bar. When you enter, a neon façade faces the stadium from across South Ridge Road, as a giant “H” logo stares down Lambeau and grain silo stands watch by the brewery.

We sat at the bar, surrounded by fellow Packers fans (no surprise there), when we noticed a group of serious-looking men in suits enter. I paid little notice as they passed by, other than to wonder why that party would come to a brewery to hang out.

And then a green-and-gold-clad woman next to us said, “That’s Jeff Sessions.” Cynthia and I craned to see, and sure enough, it was the U.S. Attorney General along with a posse of Secret Service and assistants. (We later learned he was in town to make a speech.)

The woman next to us then said, “He’s basically the devil.” And she didn’t give up on repeatedly bashing Sessions, who was seated at a table about 30 or 40 feet away. At that point, we did our best to concentrate on the beer and the brewery, lest the Secret Service open fire on the fired-up woman, putting us in harm’s way.

Beers at Hinterland are available in short pours for building flights, as with most breweries, but I was pleased to find they also are sold in liters and half liters, German beer garden-style. Nice touch.

I started with a half-liter of nitro IPA, which is just a nitrogenated version of the signature IPA. It was good, but I’ve never been a fan of nitro IPAs – which is why I’m not sure why I tried it. But I’d had the Hinterland IPA previously and knew I liked it, so why not try something different, right?

I also tried a seasonal Falconers Gold, a summertime treasure that was moderately bitter and eminently approachable – a basic, tasty blond with a leaning toward and American APA. What I tried next was, indeed, an APA brewed with Citra hops, and it was easily my favorite of the night, with its tropical aroma and finish, balanced nicely with just a touch of bitterness.

Another Hinterland beer I highly recommend is the delicious Luna coffee stout, brewed with local coffee for a rich, warming experience. It doesn’t play quite as well in August, but in December or January in Green Bay? It has to be a staple.

Anyway, after enough half-liters, I decided to buy a six-pack of Hinterland IPA to take home with me. It didn’t last long in my fridge – I now wish I’d bought more. There’s always next season.

When in Green Bay, you’ll find Hinterland Brewery at 1001 Lombardi Ave. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.