I have to say it’s a great combination: the ole Italian pie and a cold brewsky. So I was double delighted by a recent trip to one of two of Wausau’s newest breweries, Red Eye Brewing (the other is Bull Falls – I still need to get there). Kevin Eichelberger, formerly of Hereford and Hops, has his own digs now and the brews really are top notch. Veruca Stout is a milk stout that shouldn’t be missed. A Belgian-style white, an American-style IPA with five different hops varietals, and a seasonal brown (get there before it’s gone). The Belgian dubbel uses carmelized figs and has a complex character, something you’ll want to run over your tongue a few times to get to know it.
And where does one carmelize figs? How about in your very own wood-fired oven? All the way from Italy. I sampled a margharita (always the place to start when checking out someone’s pizza – you can’t hide anything there) and was very impressed. I don’t hold a pizza PhD but I did live in southern Italy for a year and just did a whirl through the Big Apple’s finest pizzerias. Red Eye rates. I moved on to a veggie pizza from there. The pizzas bake in a couple minutes and the crust has the crisp black marks from the 800+ degree oven stone and the balancing inner chewiness of the real deal. Hats off. Not an easy accomplishment. Kevin will be opening the outdoor terrace soon, so get down to Red Eye and treat yourself to some great local food and brew.