It’s the unsung condiment of the summer, and on Aug.6 the nation will celebrate what the National Mustard Museumcalls “the greatest condiment of all time."
That would be mustard, of course.
Mustard is made by the truckload by some U.S. companies, but like other condiments, it’s also made in gourmet fashion for those with a taste for it. Seeds primarily are grown in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington, but many of them arrive in Wisconsin, which —though famous for foods like cheese and beer —isn't laggingin that condiment department.
For starters, Wisconsin hasthe National Mustard Museum, a quirky, free attraction in Middleton started by a man who once told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needed a hobby.
The state is also home tothe foremost supplier of mustard "solutions," Wisconsin Spice Inc. of Berlin, which provides products suchas mustard bran, mustard flour and mustard seed to the food service industry.
And, as the land of bratwurst, Wisconsin creates a huge demand for mustard.
As for the finished product, the state makes more than you'd think. In honor of National Mustard Day, here are some home-state gourmet mustards you can find.
Sprecher Brewing Co.mustard
Sprecher makes three mustards: a stone-ground beer mustard, a spicy beer mustard and a root beer mustard. The most popular mustard is the spicy brown beer mustard, Tim Cigelske, director of communications at Sprecher, said by email. "It’s a medium on the spiciness scale, and the Mustard Museum calls it 'one funky mustard.' "
About Sprecher: The Glendale-based Sprecher is Milwaukee's oldest craft brewery and one of the fastest-growing craft soda-makers in the country, known for its root beer.
What's different: Sprecher says itsspicy beer mustard is crafted with the brewery's flagship beer, Special Amber.
Recommended pairings and uses:The mustard is often paired with grilled meats and party snacks, such aspretzels and potato chips.Sobelman's uses the mustard as a condiment on burgers, and the Milwaukee Pretzel Co. uses the mustard as a dipping sauce for the pretzels, Cigelske said in an email.
Selling it: "The taste reminds you of spending time with old and new friends in a summer backyard barbecue," Cigelske said.
Where to get it: Sprecher Brewing Co.'s mustards are sold at Sprecher Brewery (701 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale),sprecherbrewery.comand some stores, including West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe.
Silver Spring Foods mustard
Silver Spring makes about a dozen specialty mustards. Beer'n Brat mustard is the most popular, said JudyChristensen, Silver Spring Foods research and development manager. "The Beer’n Brat has a really strong horseradish kick that you feel in your nose,” she said.
This year, Silver Spring Foods announced the addition oftwo mustard flavors, everything bagel mustard and stone-ground mustard.
About Silver Spring:Silver Spring was founded in 1929 in Eau Claire by Ellis Huntsinger, and it's now the largest co-packing producer of horseradish in the nation.
What's different:Everything bagel mustard is the first of this flavor combination — withspices, seedsand aromatics— on the market, Christensen said.
Recommended pairings and uses:Everything bagel mustard is great in salad dressings, dipsand spreads. Try stone-ground mustard on sandwiches, in potato saladandas a rub for meat.
Selling it:“Our mustard is a very versatile condiment. It really adds flavor to any dish you might be making,” Christensen said.
Where to get it:Silver Spring products are available at most area groceries and can be found at silverspringfoods.com.
Martha’s hot mustard
“It’s very addictive,” said Martha McLean, creator of Martha’s hot mustard. McLean describes the mustard as sweet and spicy. On average, she makes abouttwo batches of mustard each week, and each batch consists of 150 containers.
About Martha's hot mustard: McLean created the mustard about 28 years ago, and it is based in Lancaster.
What's different:“We do it all by hand,” McLean said. “The labeling, the bottling, everything is by hand. The only machine we use is a blender.”
Recommended pairings and uses:McLean recommends pairing her mustard with cheese, crackers, meat and seafood, macaroni and cheese, and even popcorn (add some to melted butter). She also recommends using it in marinades and salad dressings. Some of her favorite pairings with the mustard are Swiss cheese and brats.
Selling it:“I can’t tell you what it isn’t good with,”McLean said.
Where to get it:Martha’s Hot Mustard can be purchased atallmustard.com, Woodman'sand the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe.
Honey Acres once made 10different mustards, now only two: honey dill and honey hot.
“Two mustards have stood the test of time, but one is our flagship mustard. It is so unique. Our honey dill mustard,” said Narek Gabrielian, one of the owners ofHoney Acres.
Honey dill mustard is 25% honey by weight.
About Honey Acres: Based in Neosho,Honey Acres has created honey products since 1852. The family-owned businesscontinues to produce honeyas well as honey straws, honey chocolate and honey mustard.
What's different: The amount of honey in this mustardseparates it from other honey mustards, Gabrielian said.
Recommended pairings and uses: Honey dill mustard goes well withpretzels andsandwiches. Itcan also be used as a dip.
Selling it:“It’s a really unique flavor combination that comes together to make it ‘dill-licious’. The dill flavor is very strong, and the honey is not overly sweet,”Gabrielian said.
Where to get it: The Honey Acres' mustards are sold athoneyacres.com.
Uncle Phil’s mustard
Uncle Phil's, part of Wisconsin Spice,has a handful of mustards: honey mustard, Dijon, spicy brown,Sweet & Sassy and Polish.
ThePolish is a coarse-ground horseradish mustard, said Amanda Cypher, Uncle Phil’s food technologist.
“The Sweet & Sassy mustard has a sweet flavor from the honey and sugar, and good bite from the mustard seed,” Cypher said.
About Uncle Phil's Mustard:Uncle Phil's dates to 1973 when Phil Sass, president and CEO of Wisconsin Spice, was asked to replicate a Dijon mustard.
What's different: In 2019, Uncle Phil's rebranded to make all itsmustards free of genetically modified organisms, said Allen Sass, Wisconsin Spice president.
Recommended pairings and uses:The Sweet & Sassy mustard is most often used as a dipping sauce and as an ingredient in making other sauces.
Selling it:“The whole range is distinctive. ... They are all small-batch products, unique to Uncle Phil’s. You won't find it anywhere else,” Sass said.
Where to get it:Uncle Phil's mustards are sold atunclephilsmustard.comand at Woodman’s, Sentry and Sendik's.
About Koops':Koops' Mustard, in Pleasant Prairie,was established in 1897 by Peter Koops with a hand-crank mustard mill. Today, Koops'makes 14 varieties of mustard.
What's different:"There's no complicated additive on the back of our bottles. No hard to pronounce chemicals or scary-sounding preservatives. Just quality ingredients like mustard seed, vinegar and water," the website says.
Recommended pairings and uses: Koops' mustards are good withmeat androasts, in dressings and on sandwiches.
Selling it: "It’s extraordinary mustard. With 14 bold flavors that can satisfy any appetite, it makes good food great and great food amazing," the website says.
Where to get it:Koops'mustards are availableat koopsmustard.comand at most area groceries.
Here are a few other Wisconsin mustards:
Lakeside's Mustardhas deep roots in Wisconsin, where it sells most of its mustard, but it's now based with family members in Illinois. It makes dill, horseradish, jalapeño, Düsseldorf and honey mustards. Woodman's sells it, but Lakeside's mustards mostly aresold through smaller shops likeBay View Packing Co. and independent butchers and cheese shops around the state.
PS Seasoningof Iron Ridgehas a handful of mustards, more than half of them made with beer.
East Shore Specialty Foodsof Hartlandmakes flavors including chipotle and cranberry.
Ringhand’s Mustardis a beer mustard from a small producer in Evansville.
Door County's Mustardis made in Sturgeon Bay by Door County Coffee & Tea Co. It won a bronze medal in the sweet-hot category in the mustard museum'sWorld-Wide Mustard Competition this year.
Kallas Honey Mustard is made in Milwaukee. Kallas Honey Farm dates to 1941 and specializes in honey.
What to do on National Mustard Day?
“There wouldn't dare benasty weather on mustard day,” said Barry Levenson, founder and curator of the National MustardMuseum.
For National Mustard Day, Aug. 6, the National Mustard Museum will celebrate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the museum at7477 Hubbard Ave. in Middleton. There will be live music, mustard tastings, mustard ice cream, mustard-themed games and more. Visitors cantaste the 2022 grand champion of the annual World-Wide Mustard Competition, Tiger Tail Curry Mustard from Tennessee.
The museum has hosted the World-Wide Mustard Competition for about 26 years, and National Mustard Day for 30 years.“It’s now become a tradition and something that people looked forward to,” Levenson said..
The museum'sNational Mustard Day celebration attracts about 6,000 people.
“There will be no shortage of mustard. The only thing we tell people is, ‘Ketchup is not allowed,’ ” Levenson said.