New Glarus, Wis.
We've mentioned this one before, but we're just going to keep mentioning it until we find another place quite like it.
New Glarus Brewing itself was founded in 1993 with copper kettles bought from a German brewery and has since growing into a sprawling
hilltop brewing facility
crafted to look like an Alpine village. While that would seem just a bit odd in any other context, the brewery and its Spotted Cow ale, Raspberry Tart ale and wide assortment of fruit beers seem right at home in New Glarus.
The little town of 2,300 was founded in 1845 by immigrants from Glarus, Switzerland, and has been unmistakably Swiss ever since. The town's flag is a version of the Swiss flag and flies everywhere; Swiss chalet-style businesses and homes line the streets; a Swiss bakery is still in operation; Swiss meat and cheese shops abound; and dishes such as roschti, kalberwurst, spaetzle and cheese and meat fondue are still the fare of the day.
While brewery co-founder Deb Carey was invited to the White House last year to talk to President Barack Obama about her success and the future of the country's small businesses, New Glarus strikes us as a pretty difficult place to leave. The brewery tour and a few samples of Edel-Pils and Dancing Man Wheat sound lovely and all, but spending a weekend in a tiny patch of Wisconsin that functions as if it's an extension of Switzerland has an appeal all its own.