One of the most interesting perks of my position here at Lap Around America is that I’ve become the depository for all locations interesting and new in my community. Folks will just lean over and say, “by the way, you should check out (insert local business here) and do a post for your blog!” The odd and sundry suggestions that I receive on a daily basis run the gambit from hair salon to fashion boutique to local food trucks. So, when a friend leaned over and told me about this brewery that was known for its award winning root beer, I knew it had to be added to our “Sunday drive” list.
Taking my friend’s recommendation to make sure we drove a “truck or something” out to Whistling Springs Brewing Company in Seligman, Missouri, I hit up friends of Lap Around America, Scott and Alisa Andrews, to see if they would like to throw the doors off their 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, or “JKU” as the model is affectionately known in the Jeep world, and head out on an adventure to check out this modest little brewery. The Andrews were the perfect partners for this particular journey as the Andrews are lovers of the Sunday drive as much as we are and Alisa is THE local authority on root beer.
The day was a bit overcast and made the drive out the perfect temp, even if we were a bit worried that the sky would open up and drench us. But there’s something freeing about an open country road, cool breeze whipping strands of hair across your face, and a topless jeep full of your favorite people. Our journey led us through the small town of Pea Ridge, Arkansas and into the rural lands of southwest Missouri. Google Maps gives fairly solid directions on how to get to this out of the way destination, but Whistling Springs has a downloadable map on their website and the Brewery has posted signs along your journey just in case you worry you’ve gotten turned around. The last leg of the trek is down a pretty steep, gravel, farm road that is accessible by the average sedan, but I was glad we were in an off road jeep as there were definitely some rough patches.
Rolling up to the brewery, the indications that Whistling Springs Brewery is stationed smack in the middle of a working farm are everywhere. Horses and donkeys are in large fenced fields and pens surrounding the brewery. Trail rides and riding lessons are available at the farm, so it’s definitely a destination you could make a day of if you plan for it. A couple of potbellied pigs and a goat or two play host and hostess to visitors as they make their way to the bar to place an order. Whistling Springs Brewing Co boasts two large outdoor patio areas to enjoy your brews, one overlooking the horses, the other overlooking a small pond.
As you enter the bar area, you are greeted by Bumpers and Buttons, two of the largest potbellied pigs I have ever seen in real life. They love a good pat on the head, help keep the bar area clean by picking up peanut shells and may even take a sip or two of beer throughout the day- which is why Whistling Springs is known as the “home of the drunken pig.” At the bar, Chris Nogy, the Brew Engineer and his wife, Leigh, the award winning Brew Mistress, greet you with all the hospitality of a southern family reunion.
Chris is the local brew historian and expert on every beer that is made at Whistling Springs. I was captivated by his stories, and truly wished that my voice recorder hadn’t decided to choose that moment to go on the fritz. It doesn’t matter though, sidle up to the bar and ask a question…Chris will tell you all about the brew you are about to imbibe with a passion that is rarely paralleled. I could have sat and listened to him for hours. Leigh, his wife and brew mistress, was equally enchanting, and we loved learning about how she got into brewing, what she was passionate about and why her root beer was so dad gum delicious.
Whistling Springs Brewing Co is a modest, little, not-so-best-kept secret in the Ozarks and is known for hosting some great festivities like Octoberfest, outdoor music concerts and even some karaoke now and again. Owned by Marine veteran, Richard Davis, and his wife Pam, Whistling Springs was built for the love of all things craft beer and those who enjoy it. They do offer hot dogs and popcorn as snacks with a plan to one day have wood fired pizza ovens to fill customers’ bellies with more than just brews, but we came for the award winning handcrafted root beer…and were not disappointed.
There are two flavors of root beer on tap at Whistling Springs, a traditional sassafras root beer and cherry sarsaparilla. Both were delicious. Served over perfectly packed vanilla ice cream in a collectible mug, the root beer floats were so delightful, we forgot we were there to review and realized they were gone before we grabbed photos! Regardless, our root beer connoisseur said craft root beers are often too sweet for her, but this one had the perfect bite. I echo that assessment, the root beer float was something I would come back for again and again. It was definitely some of the best root beer I have ever had cross my lips- sweet, but with that definite sassafras bite. The Cherry Sarsaparilla was sweeter and had less tang, but equally delicious.
If alcoholic brews are more your speed, Whistling Springs Brewing Co has a wide variety to choose from, each brewed with care and attention to detail. Be wise and drink responsibly. The chill vibe, scenic drive and atmosphere, and warm, welcoming people who take the time to get to know their guests, made our experience at Whistling Springs Brewing Co one I definitely want to repeat!
Whistling Springs Brewery is known for its Octoberfest celebration the first weekend of October which drew over a thousand people last year. They are hoping to host it again (if COVID restrictions allow) and are already brewing traditional German-style brews for that event, stay tuned to their Facebook page for more information!
As a final note- we love reviewing out of the way places! Feel free to hit us up on our with a “you should do a post on (insert your favorite business here)” of your own! Just head on over to our “Say Hi!” page and drop us a note!