By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 01, 2023 at 9:02 AM

Last week, Old World Wisconsin popped open the new season of its annual series of Plates and Pints Beer Dinners in the Clausing Barn, adjacent to the new brewhouse.

Each dinner features a multi-course meal prepared by Old World Wisconsin’s Executive Chef Nick Katona, plus pairings by an area brewery.


The first dinner in the evocative 1887 octagonal barn was held Friday, on a gorgeous spring evening and featured beer from Elkhorn’s Duesterbeck’s farm brewery.

Katona served a fabulous, light watercress soup, shaved asparagus salad and creamy burrata as starters, leading to a grilled quail with ramps, rapini and mushrooms, before finishing with a strawberry custard with tangy rhubarb ginger chutney.

Asparagus salad.

Duesterbeck’s brought an amber ale, a cream ale and a sour, as well as the Two Barns saison it created in collaboration with the old world brewing program at Old World Wisconsin.

Just for fun, the program’s Rob Novak welcomed guests with samples, for comparison, of Two Barns brewed on the modern system at Duesterbeck’s and a version made old world-style in the on-site brewhouse.

Novak says he hopes to be able to do more collab brews with Plates and Pints partner breweries this season.

He also will bring back the brew day experience – which you can read about here – in a somewhat altered form, so watch for more details on that.

Novak and Katona also spoke a bit about the beers and the dishes. And Ben Johnson talked a bit about Duesterbeck’s, which he co-owns with his wife Laura.


The evening was fun, the food and beer tasty, and the setting and weather unbeatable.

Future dinners this season include one on July 23 with Illinois’ Mikerphone Brewing – whose owner Mike Pallen hails from southeastern Wisconsin – Aug. 25 with Lake Geneva’s Topsy Turvy Brewing, and Sept. 22 with Lakefront's Russ and Jim Klisch.

The latter will serve as something of an Oktoberfest out in Eagle.

The cost is $99 per person, but Old World Wisconsin members get a 10 percent discount.

Before those, however, Old World Wisconsin is also hosting the Brews and Bites Beer Picnic: Featuring the New Glarus Brewing Company on Friday, June 23 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

There will be beers brewed on-site and at New Glaus, including limited releases, plus historic games, live music, a pop-up dessert experience and elevated picnic fare.

Admission is $129.

These events are 21 and up and are held at Old World Wisconsin, W372 S9727 Highway 67, in Eagle.

For more information, visit the website or call 262-594-6301.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.