King of the hill now in Milwaukee  is megabrewer Miller (4251 W. State St., 414/931-2337, www.millercoors.com , tours daily summer, closed Sun. otherwise, hours vary, free). This slick, modern operation is the very antithesis of a neighborhood brewer. Frederic Miller apprenticed and served as a brewmaster at Hohenzollern Castle in Sigmaringen, Germany, before striking out for the United States in 1855 at age 28 and starting a small brewery.
His original Plank Road Brewery, bought from the son of the Pabst progenitor and not to be confused with Miller’s shrewdly named contemporary brewing operation, put out 300 barrels per year—no mean feat, but nothing stellar. Today, Miller—now merged as MillerCoors—is the second-largest brewery in the nation, with a total production of 45 million barrels a year (the warehouse is the size of five football fields).
Hour-long tours take in the ultra-high-tech packaging center, the hangar-size shipping center, and, finally, the brewhouse. Tours end at the Caves Museum, a restored part of Miller’s original brewery in which kegs of beer were cooled.
The ineluctable Bavarian hut dispenses free samples (to those 21 and over, natch) and features an antique stein collection and ornate woodwork.