Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beer Run: The Tap Room at Central Waters Brewery

Fifty-Five minutes north of Oshkosh, the small town of Amherst is home to one of the best breweries in the United States where on Friday and Saturday evenings you can take a seat in the heart of their brew house and drink all the beer you care to.

The Central Waters Tap Room is a beer bar like no other. When you first walk in you get the sense that things have gone out of whack. The Tap Room is seated in the midst of a production brewery. So unlike the brewpubs we’re all familiar with, the brewing equipment doesn’t appear as an afterthought to an elaborate dining room or bar. At Central Waters, that scenario has been inverted. Here the simple bar is dwarfed by the breweries out-sized mash tuns and fermentors. Having a few pints amidst all that gear as the crowd rolls in, the atmosphere takes on the unique feel of a brewery tour turned beer bash. And there’s a distinct vibe that comes with drinking the brewery’s beer while standing in the heart of its production area. It’s as if the brew is coming straight off the teat. I like Central Waters’ beer anyway, but it just seems to taste better here.

The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting and the beer, all Central Waters of course, is excellent. The bar area is causally decorated with recycled, beer-related knickknacks that are easy not to notice in such a big space. The one drawback, is that the bar area does tend to fill up fast and you sometimes have to be patient when getting your next brew.

People watching here is great as the crowd is an odd mix of beer geeks and locals looking to whet their whistle after work. And the pride these regulars take in having the brewery in their town of just over 1,000 people is unmistakeable. They’ve got a right to be proud. Most towns this size are lucky to have some dive with a couple taps of macro-bland swill. The Tap Room at Central Waters stands as proof that you can find a crowd for good beer where ever you pour it.

Central Water is located at 351 Allen St. Amherst, Wisconsin. Hours are Fridays 4-9pm & Saturdays 3-9pm. Here’s a Link.

And here's our lo-fi, 30-second tour of the joint.

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