Breweries, Past and Present
- Where to Go
- The Best of Milwaukee and Madison
- The Best Wisconsin Weekends
- A Perfect Week in Door County
- Wisconsin for Recreationists
- Rustic Road Tripping
- Made in Milwaukee
- Madison Weekend
- Sports: The Packers and Beyond
- Out on the Town in Milwaukee
- Say Cheese!
- Four Days in the Mad City
- A Wisconsin Family Road Trip
- Wisconsin’s Best Brews
Milwaukee was once home to dozens of breweries churning out the secret sauce of gemütlichkeit. The pungent malt scent can still pervade, and beer does remain a cultural linchpin. Riverwalk Boat Tours and Rental (Pere Marquette Park, 414/283-9999, www.riverwalkboats.com) has a fave three-hour brewery tour taking in three local microbreweries on weekends ($25).
Though Pabst, once the sixth-largest (and oldest) U.S. brewer, lives on in name (it’s popular in China, of all places), it’s no longer made in the United States. Schlitz—the “Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous”—has just made a reappearance, though it’s not brewed in Milwaukee. Miller is the lone megabrewing holdout, though Milwaukeeans flipped their collective wig a bit in 2008 when, after a merger with Coors, it was decided to relocate the corporate headquarters to—gasp, of all places, oh the betrayal!—Chicago (worry not, the big ol’ brewery itself ain’t goin’ anywhere).
Microbreweries and brewpubs are now everywhere.
Lakefront Brewery (1872 N. Commerce St., 414/372-8800, www.lakefrontbrewery.com, tours at 3 p.m. most days except Sun., $5) has tours taking in Larry, Moe, and Curly on the tanks, a cheeky start. Lakefront brews include specialty beers such as pumpkin- and cherry-flavored varieties. This generally is voted best brewery tour by local media. The brewery also has a boat dock and lies on the riverwalk.
The brews at Milwaukee Ale House (233 N. Water St., 414/226-2336, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., till 1 a.m. Fri.–Sat., till 9 p.m. Sun., $6–15) are among the best—even better sipped at its great riverside location with double-decker biergarten. Great live music here. Local tidbit: This building was once a saddlery and, later, the place where the Hula Hoop was invented!
North of here find Milwaukee’s original brewpub at Water Street Brewery (1101 N. Water St., 414/272-1195, food served 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $5–15) with an amazing beer memorabilia collection (some 60,000 items).
Beerheads should check out the original interiors of Horny Goat Brewing & Hideaway (2011 S. 1st St., 414/482-4628), built in a cool 1930s pump house.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition