Wisconsin’s Best Brews
Say “Wisconsin” and you think of cheese. And beer. Where some of the mightiest of Milwaukee ’s brewing empires have fallen, other great options have appeared across the state. The following is by no means comprehensive, just the author’s favorites.
Milwaukee and Vicinity
Well, this is the “Beer City” after all, so all of your time could technically be spent here. But do venture out of city limits to experience historic as well as modern-day breweries.
- Miller Brewing : One cannot bypass a tour of this beer powerhouse.
- Microbreweries and Brewpubs: The city has about a half-dozen microbreweries. Try Water St. Brewery , a popular microbrewery new on the Milwaukee scene.
- Sprecher Brewery : Head north of downtown Milwaukee five miles to Glendale to visit this longtime microbrewery; it’s got great beer but this author raves about the tasty root beer!
- Brewery Works : Everyone comes to Cedarburg for its Victorian charm, you can also get wonderful beer in an 1840s brewery.
Madison and Vicinity
The Madison area has it’s own fair share of can’t miss brew stops.
- The Great Dane Brewpub : Simply everyone mingles for outstanding beer, grub, and atmosphere at this downtown Madison standard.
- Memorial Union Terrace : Possibly the most unforgettable Madison experience can be had here at the University of Wisconsin quaffing a Wisconsin brew as you people watch while the sun sets over Lake Mendota.
- Grumpy Troll Brewpub (608/437-2739, $6–14): The Military Ridge State Trail in Mount Horeb is one of the best biking trails in the state, and near its terminus is this outstanding brewpub.
- Brewery Creek Brewing Company (23 Commerce St., 608/987-4747, 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, $7–15): While learning Wisconsin history in amazing Mineral Point, sample historic beers in a historic structure.
- New Glarus Brewing Company (Hwy. W at WI 69, 608/527-5850, www.newglarusbrewing.com , tours and tastings 10 a.m.–4 p.m.): Probably the best beer brewed in Wisconsin (save the letters, please) is in the tiny Swiss town of New Glarus. You have to try the Spotted Cow.
- Minhas Craft Brewery (1208 14th Ave., 608/325-3191, www.huberbrewery.com , $2): Formerly called the Joseph Huber Brewing Company, this brewery is a bedrock of local taverns across southern Wisconsin.