The New Glarus Primrose Winery has been around since 1990, and was in the process of moving from its 1st Street building on Memorial Day weekend. I'm a serious wine drinker, but because I was driving the big rig, I couldn't consume any alcohol anyway. From the website, the grape wines appear to be mostly sweet and fruity styles, hopefully with a good Riesling varietal wine of the Germanic style production. Interestingly, the winery also specializes in non-grape wines made from Wisconsin grown cherries, apples, cranberries and rhubarb.
This substantial micro-brewery is located across the highway, just outside of downtown. It was closed on Memorial Day, but was well represented in the days local events. This brewery building size suggests a facility capable of production and export for specialized brew pubs and fine beer retailers throughout the USA.
In keeping with Swiss tradition, New Glarus has an excellent bakery downtown. Breads, cakes, scones, cookies, and a wide variety of other pastries are made daily. One can get a cup of coffee and pastry for breakfast and enjoy it on the street outside, where there are several benches. I watched the Memorial Day parade go past as I ate my maple bar and several other pastries. A notable common spice among the pastries was nutmeg. This place has a 100 year history.
The Glarner Stube is the rare restaurant that manages to be a near re-creation of its foreign counterpart but remains very much a US entity. There are many places in the US that are owned and run by people from other countries. You could go into one and almost feel uncomfortable speaking in English. We have many such places in our home area of South Florida, mostly ones where Spanish is the language de facto but also a few where German is the most common form of communication. No, the Glarner Stube was very much an American enterprise and it's possible that the owners did not even speak German though their ancestors likely did. So, the food and the feel of the place were very Germanic but it retained a sure Midwestern atmosphere. Lots of dark wood and low light made for a very cosy dining room and the waitress was friendly and efficient as you would expect in these parts.
The menu is fairly extensive and concentrates very much on food in the German or more particularly Swiss tradition. We opted for the Geschnetzelets "Stube Style" - Tender veal slices sauteed with white wine, cream and mushrooms with green beans. This came with roesti which is about as Swiss as you can get and is the forerunner to the American hash-brown. Our other choice was one of their daily specials which turned out to be three gorgeous center cut pork chops with oh so creamy mashed potatoes and red cabbage. Everything was top notch and the best complement I can think of with such comfort food is it was like homemade and from scratch.
We paid $50 for lunch, beers, and tip.
Favorite Dish: As promoted at the New Glarus Brewery, the Glarner Stube has all of their beers that are available on tap at any given time on tap. The Glarner Stube conveniently sells the beer in small glasses as well as pints, making it easy to try them all which I gladly did! 1) Spotted Cow-Light golden smi-filtered lager w/ big fruity palate & sourish yeasty finish. Refreshing. 2) Staghorn-Oktoberfest-Amber fest lacking in body & spicy overtones. Malty but not too sweet but overall not so tasty. 3) Fat Squirrel-Rich roasty ale with definite nutty flavors. 4) Uff-Da Bock-Rich dark bock w/ licorice toffee overtones, remaining fairly dry in semi-sweet finish. 5) Edil Pils-Light golden light bodied Germanic Pils with clean finish though lacking a bit of hop bitterness. 6) Organic Revolution-Unfiltered, almost resembling an apple cider w/ some fruity notes but offset well by fair amount of hops. Well-balanced and easy to drink.
They unfortunately were not keging the brewery's most renowned beers, Wisconsin Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. These were the beers that brought us to New Glarus and I did buy a few large bottles of each. They both pour red and look more like a soda than a beer with a pink head but that is where the similarity ends. They are very tart but not overly so as can be the case for the better gueze from Belgium. They use spontaneous fermentation like their Belgian counterparts but also a huge amount of fruit. The Belgian Red has one pound of cherries in every 750 ml bottle! Yum!