Next Door Brewing Company
2439 Atwood Avenue, Middleton WI
Date of Curd Tasting: 03JAN2014
To set the scene: Cheezaholic’s cousin, Little Jimmy was in town with his good friend Nickel to celebrate his birthday. Since Jimmy is a home brewing aficionado, a Birthday Beer Extravaganza was in order. Cheezaholic busted out her PhotoShop skilz, and mapped out a Brew Pub quest. A perfect opportunity to embark on the first curd review of the year!
Chz Curdz: Sassy Cow cheddar curds, WPA beer battered and served with chive dressing
Uh oh. Sassy Cow. One of our absolutely favorite local dairies – we do not buy milk from anyone else, but their curds…while delicious, are simply too large in our humble opinion. Bigger is not necessarily better [when it comes to a curd]. WPA Beer? We assumed that P = Pale, and A = Ale. But what to make of the W? Next Door Brewing Co isn’t telling. Wisconsin? Wild? Wahooooo?
As predicted, a plate o giant curds were placed in front of us. Cheezaholic noted a salt deficit, though this opinion was not shared by HappySchnapps. The large breading to chz ratio skewed our perception, and we were missing the chz flavor. Jimmy suddenly had an philosophical epiphany that made us all stop and go hmmmmmm: “When you overcook curds, you lose chz.” So wise, he is.
The classic. Boom.
Just a tad over the requisite grzy line.
The breading was wayyyy too thick. However it was inconsistent, and we found two perfectly breaded curds. Multiple instances of chz bleed. Was the oil too hot? There was massive oozing. Hollow curd phenomenon was rampant, resulting in a curd graveyard remaining on our plates. The crunchy panko breading on the fish fritters and sausage balls that we also ordered would be a better option for the curds, though as a general rule Beer Batter is our curd preference. Clearly an execution issue – they need to thin out the batter prior to coating the curd. Duh.
Homemade with chives was a nice touch. Would be great on a schmalad.
$8.50 for a not that large of an order. Upon seeing the price in the menu, Cheezaholic, being the delicate flower that she is, declared: “$8.50 is ridiculous. They’d better be f*^&ing good.” Sadly, when you do the math, pricey + not that great + smallish order = poor value. Were they worth a dollar per curd? NOPE.
Once again, the giant size of the Sassy Cow curd overpowered the whole curd experience. They should be small enough to dip it and pop the whole thing in your mouth, in one chzy bite. Luckily, our spirits could not be dampened by the mediocre curds, thanks to the Birthday Boy continually entertaining us with his comments referencing the subzero weather, and Next Door Brewing’s smooth brown ale, not to mention his stellar Connect Four skilz. “I’ll lick a pole for a beer…You can’t go wrong with a brown nut…If I have a brown nut, I’m calling my mom.” Next Door Brewing is a cool neighborhood joint – it will definitely be on the next Birthday Beer Extravaganza agenda. The curds? Not so much.