Anyone that has the misfortune to know me knows my reluctance to leave the comfortable and familiar surroundings of Minneapolis. Just crossing the Mississippi over to sleepy St. Paul causes me to break out in a cold sweat so with that in mind you can imagine my trepidation about travelling even further afield to Hudson, WI. But in the interest of beer such sacrifices must happen and a visit to historic Casanova Liquor is a worthy destination for Minnesota beer geeks, even if it means venturing into the land of cheese and fireworks. Wisconsin has something that puritanical Minnesota doesn't (no smartass not a Superbowl victory) - civilized liquor regulations (I know Wisconsin and civilized in the same sentence doesn't look right to me either)! Meaning that liquor stores can sell alcohol on Sundays (gasp - they are so going to Hell!) and more importantly fill "growlers" (64oz glass re-fillable containers typically used for beer). You can buy an empty Casanova branded growler for $8 or you can bring your own (Rock Bottom, Townhall etc) and then just pay the re-fill charge.
To me the growler availability is the best aspect of a visit to Casanova but they also have a nice selection of individually priced bottles that you can assemble in a 6 pack mix-n-match and of course another highlight is the availability of some breweries that aren't distributed in Minnesota - Dogfish Head ("World Wide Stout" 4 pack 12oz bottles $34.99 - it is 16% ABV after all), Smuttynose, Oskar Blues (the legendary "Ten-Fiddy" RIS 4 pack 12oz cans $16.99),Three Floyds, New Glarus - all spring to mind. With the explosion of new brands coming in to the Minnesota market - Brooklyn, Stone and Alaskan - it may soon become redundant to make a beer run to Wisconsin, but until Dogfish Head shows up in our state make Casanova your WI choice for beer, the staff were warm, friendly and knowledgeable, and really it was a straighforward 35 minute journey from Uptown Minneapolis on I-94 (Saturday morning with light traffic). Hey, I'll even overlook the Budweiser poster in the lobby with the Manchester United logo on it. Marching on together...
More info :
Address : 236 Coulee Road Hudson PH: 715-386-2545
The "Nova" is the wine bar that is attached to the liquor store (it has a separate entrance and is not accessible thru the liquor store). Tip - stop in at the "Nova" for a beer after placing your growler orders in the liquor store, as they can take a while to fill, especially if they are short staffed. Only a few beers on tap, but a decent selection and it's surprisingly comfortable and ornate, complete with fireplace and cosy furniture. The wine bar is not open on Sunday's.
Directions from Twin Cities :
Take I-94 ast across the St Croix river. Take 2nd Street Exit into downtown Hudson. At the first stop light take a right. It's located directly behind the Dairy Queen.
Hours : Open 9am - 9pm Every Day (Liquor Store)
Check out their excellent Beer Blog at :
Here they will normally list what is available for growler fills. You can also follow them on Twitter.