Milwaukee brew pub guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on May 13, 2003 at 11:31 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
Located within the heart of Downtown -- and the surrounding suburbs -- are seven brew pubs that augment a welcoming vibe with 30 hand-crafted beers. The brew pub business plan has really taken off in the past decade, because many patrons find them to be warm, comfortable, easy-going places for an after-work drink, a quick burger or a place to watch the game or hear some live music.
But the key to the quality of a brew pub is measured in the beer, not the number of fireplaces or quality of the decor. Extensive time, detailing and planning go into every brew pub's delicately brewed beers, created on-site for optimum taste and quality.
3832 N. Hillside Dr., Delafield, (262) 646-7821
The Delafield Brewhaus, which travelers between Milwaukee and Madison can see looming above I-94, opened in 1999. The large, open interior -- with mezzanine seating -- emphasizes the brewery works and the center of attention, literally, is Brewmaster John Harrison. Harrison serves up seven signature brews on a regular basis; Dock Light Lager, Delafield Amber Ale, Sommerzeit Hefe Weizen, Pewaukee Porter Ale, Delafield Export and Hop Harvest Brown Ale. The Brewhaus offers a variety of seasonal brews. The sampler includes up to eight beers in 4-oz. glasses and the menu includes entrees, sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads and daily specials. Wood fired pizzas are also available.
Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub
222 E. Erie St., (414) 727-9300
A hidden gem in the Third Ward, you'd never expect this fine dining experience to add hand crafted beers to the menu. Well, believe it or not, that's exactly what the Gastropub is all about. Brewing a rotating list of in house brews at their Green Bay location, Hinterland mixes casual beer with fine, fresh food; both with an emphasis on quality. Grab a beer and a full dinner or drink up in the lounge with a newly rotating tapas menu.
1872 Commerce St., (414) 372-8800
A delicious outcome of the Klisch family rivalry, Lakefront Brewery spun family tradition into a family business. Brothers Russ and Jim Klisch began brewing Lakefront's award winning craft beers in 1987 and since have gone on to win dozens of awards for 16 of their specialty options. Located along the Milwaukee River, the brewery doubles as tour magnate and Friday fish fry hotspot. You'll find Lakefront on tap all over the city but you can't beat drinking a fresh beer in the home brewery.
Milwaukee Ale House
233 N. Water St., (414) 226-2337
1208 13th Ave. Grafton, (262) 375-BEER
Great food and beer make the Ale House one of Milwaukee's favorite brew pubs. Located along the Milwaukee River, you can dock your boat at one of six public slips and grab a bite to eat and a drink on the restaurant's patio. Or stay inside and enjoy the live entertainment provided most nights. "Practical brewer" Jim Olen's staple brews include Solomon Juneau Ale, Pull Chain Pail Ale, Sheepshead Stout and Louie's Demise.
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
740 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-3030
With a prime Riverwalk location, just north of Wisconsin Ave., Rock Bottom sports one of the largest outdoor patios in town. There also are five signature brews to enjoy al fresco or in the large dining room or downstairs pub. Raccoon Red is Brewmaster Andy Briggs's favorite choice. The premium British two-row malts give it a sweet malty character, while plenty of hops give it a crisp finish. Part of a national chain, Rock Bottom Brewery opens daily at 11 a.m. with a full bar and restaurant menu.
Sprecher Brewing Company
701 W. Glendale Ave., (414) 964-2739
Started downtown by owner Randall Sprecher, the brewery moved north to its Glendale location in 1994. A microbrewery from start to finish, Sprecher concentrates on craft beers and his efforts have paid off. Sprecher Brewing Company has won awards everywhere from Los Angeles and Denver to around the globe in Australia; and that's just in the last five years. The brewery runs tours every week where guests taste plenty of full flavor options on the premises.
735 E. Center St., (414) 265-3630
Originally known as Onopa Brewing Co., this fun spot survived an ownership change and some renovations with its laid-back Riverwest vibe intact. Known for its refreshing and tasty brews and a somewhat eclectic menu of high-end pub fare for vegetarians and meat eaters alike, the place attracts a mix of people from mid-20s hipsters and artists to 40-year-old professionals and parents. Live music is a strong suite here, with acts including Decibully, the Mistreaters and The Rusty P's making regular stops. For the record, a stonefly is an important bug in trout fishing.
St. Francis Brewery
3825 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Opening in spring 2009, the St. Francis Brewery is the first such establishment in recent time to open on Milwaukee's South Side. Nailing the tradition of a German brewhaus, St. Francis Brewery plates the usual bar food staples and pours out six beers on tap. New brews include Mariner Nut Brown Ale, South Shore Stout, KK Weiss and a non-alcoholic 49 Maples Root Beer.
Water Street Brewery
1101 N. Water St., (414) 272-1195
3191 Golf Rd. Delafield, (262) 646-7878
One of several late 80's brew pub pioneers, Water Street Brewery has set the standard. In 2000, a second location opened in Delafield. Both offer the award-winning beers of Brewmaster George Bluvas III. Six signature beers are brewed in small batches at both locations. In the Great American Beer Festival's award-winning Honey Lager Light, the barley malt, clover honey and whole hops combine for a crisp, clean flavor with floral overtones. The casual dinning offers seafood, steaks, sandwiches, soups and salads.
Lakefront Brewery is not a Brew Pub. Many people thinking this are disappointed when they arrive expecting food and drink and have to be turned away. Tours are given (check the web) and there is a Friday night fish fry but unless your have rented the hall for an event go to another establishment to enjoy a Lakefront beer.
Consider adding Silver Creek up in Cedarburg. While doesn't have a restaurant attached but they do offer cheese & meat platters which makes it feel like more than just a bar.
Smith Bros. Fish Shanty/Port Washington Brewing no longer exists, and hasn't for a few years. It'd be a great space for another brew pub someday, but I don't see anyone taking the plunge any time soon.
Sprecher Brewing is not a brew pub; no resturant there.
4 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.