Yesterday on our way to the Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine & Cheese Festival in La Crosse, we took the opportunity to stop at Wellington’s Backwater Brewing Company in Winona. While this place is not new, we haven’t heard much about it, have never seen them at any festival and honestly, had pretty low expectations for the place.
Wellington’s is located just off of Hwy 61 but you’d better have a sharp eye and other people in the vehicle with you or you’ll likely miss your turn onto the frontage road to get to it. Luckily we had both and made it there without having to whip any U-ies or other such not quite legal traffic maneuvers.
The exterior is less than inspiring and upon walking in it seems like the brewery part of the equation might be more of an afterthought rather than the main attraction. No windows to allow you to peer into the brewing operation and a short list of only four house made brews.
That being said, our young waitress was attentive and even before taking our orders, came to the table bearing a basket of popcorn from the popcorn machine greeting folks at the entrance. Make no mistake about it, ANY place that has a popcorn machine spewing that lovely salty, buttery goodness gets extra points in my book.
With only four of their beers available it was an easy choice to order one of each and the four of us would do our own sampling and tasting from there. (It should be noted, however, that our waitress did offer to see about a sampler of their beers even though they don’t officially have one.) Of the four, Steamboat Stout, Rivertown Nut Brown, Cat Tail Pale Ale and Wing Dam Wheat, I think it’s safe to say that all of us agreed the Wing Dam Wheat was the best. It wasn’t your typical wheat in terms of flavor, being both sweeter and maltier than expected, but very pleasant none the less and kept truer to style with it’s blond color and lack of filtering.
The other three offerings all had that similar combination of some expected characteristics for their style as well as some unexpected ones. Certainly none were undrinkable and should I be in that neck of the woods again, I’d stop by for a couple of pints with the grub that, although was typical of bar style food, was tasty and very reasonably priced.