Brew for Thought: Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA

When crossing into Illinois on I90 I noticed the Badger State Bridge emphatically reads “Thanks for Visiting!” To the Illinoisian in me, this makes sense. We’re all tourists using Wisconsin as a place to escape the whole “Illinois” thing we have going on. To the Badger in me, it hurts to think people just sort of pass through Wisconsin.

Roads in Wisconsin aren’t just for driving, but for those willing to wind through the history of a state. Sure the history is quirky, I once stopped at every “historical site” between Madison and Roche-a-Cri State Park only to find corn fields, but it’s still the history of a particular group of people and their often ignored take on reality. Perhaps the most traveled road in all of Wisconsin is the Glacial State Trail that follows the path of the frozen behemoths that terra-formed Wisconsin.

More than 12,000 years ago, one glacier did all the damage that we now recognize as Wisconsin. The one beer that sums up this entire experience? Central Waters’ Glacial Trail IPA. This beer doesn’t identify well with the ice age part, the flavor grows and pronounces itself as it gets warmer, but it captures the essence.

The thing that makes Central Waters such a Wisconsin fixture is its unassuming presentation. We all expect a lot from big city brews with nice designs and packaging. Central Waters beer focuses on the whole story of Wisconsin, the sum of the parts. A strong beer, flavorful and wise, the IPA benefits from every one of the Glacial Trail’s 1200 miles.

Unfortunately, Central Waters doesn’t offer cans, otherwise I’d know my companion for hiking the trail.

Best enjoyed: Any season of the year on one of Wisconsin’s state hiking trails.

Best paired with: An appetite for adventure, or a longing for a great state.

Find it: Luckily for me, Illinois. But mostly just Wisconsin. And apparently Philadelphia?

Hiked the Ice Age Trail? Tell us about it! We’re on Twitter (@midwestbeer), Facebook or just send some electronic snail-mail to


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