You might have seen her in the local establishments. You may have even been tempted to try her approachable variety, guaranteed to satisfy any palette. You might know her as Lucette.
On a sunny afternoon I visited the place where she is brewed—in Menomonie, Wis. at the Lucette Brewing Company.
Lucette co-founders include, Tim Schletty, a University of Wisconsin-Stout graudate, who oversees operations; Mike Wilson, who manages sales and distribution; and Jon Christiansen, the head brewer and a Siebel Institute graduate.
It was early in 2009 that the team envisioned a brewery. It took roughly 18 months to work through regulations and permits to get the brewery built and operating. The building stands on the west side of town, alongside the Red Cedar River. It houses stainless steel brewing equipment that can produce about 2,000 barrels a year.
I poked my head into the brewery and saw a man who was busy pressure-washing the floors, and he kindly turned off the equipment to say hello. It was the head-brewer Jon, and he told me that I could catch Tim running around out back.
Tim was carrying full barrels from the brew house to the storage area. When we met, he removed his work gloves and I shook a sweaty hand that must have been hard at work moving many barrels. I learned later that Mike was out making sales. These guys are serious workers.
Jon poured beer from a keg for Tim and I and we sat on the porch and enjoyed a Farmer’s Daughter—their most popular beer. Jon called it a gateway beer because it’s a good introduction to craft beers for the beer drinker. I couldn’t agree more, as I’m a novice craft drinker myself. From the first drink, I felt the spicy aroma hit my nose and awaken my taste buds. The after-taste was crisp and romantic. It’s a drink to appreciate.
The Farmer’s Daughter is one of the four unique beers that Lucette brews. Slow Hand stout is the darkest of Lucette’s beers and has flavors of coffee, chocolate, caramel and fire-roasted nut. Easy Rider pale ale has flavors of a hint of caramel, hops and malt with a unique floral aroma. Shining Dawn golden Belgian style ale presents spice, citrus and a malty sweetness.
“We brew beers that are simple and approachable,” said Schletty. “We focus on our four beers and we are happy with them. People get our purpose by enjoying our beer.”
The northwest coast of the country is the farthest that an ingredient has to travel to get to Lucette’s brew kettle. The yeast and hops come from Oregon and Washington. Local ingredients include grain and malt from Chilton, Wis. and some ingredients for special brews are purchased from local businesses. One of the most important ingredients in beer making is the quality of water. Lucette uses local Menomonie tap water.
“Because we use the same water, the beer is consistent and has the same finishing effect,” said Schletty. “The water [in Menomonie] is cold out of the ground, which makes a difference. It also has a high mineral content.”
Lucette beer is available for purchase on tap in establishments in Menomonie and the surrounding area. Six-pack 16-ounce cans will be made available starting in early July. Lucette is strictly manufacturing, meaning that they have no tap room and only sell out to wholesalers.
“We won’t sell a beer out of our brewery because that would be taking business away from local businesses,” said Schletty. “We’re happy and humble that local places have put us on. We appreciate everyone supporting us.”
The passion and motivation, and the direct mission of brewing good beer will carry Lucette Brewing Company far. To keep in touch with Lucette Brewing Company visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LucetteBrewingCompany.
Now that you’ve been introduced to Lucette, don’t be shy the next time you see her. Give her a taste.
When: First and third Saturday of each month at 2 p.m.
Where: 910 Hudson Rd., Menomonie, WI
Details: Visit Lucette’s Facebook page to verify tour dates.
Find Lucette on tap at these local businesses
Jakes Super Club
The Stout Ale House
Cancun Mexican Grill
Fuzzy’s Bar and Grill