By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 21, 2023 at 10:57 AM

As beer garden season begins to wrap up in city parks and beyond, Milwaukee’s newest year-round beer garden is just getting started.

The City Fountain, a new self-service indoor beer garden, is officially open at 3rd Street Market Hall, giving guests a new space to gather, socialize and enjoy a diverse selection of beer from Wisconsin’s best breweries.

Located in the southeast corner of the Downtown food hall, the new beer garden offers an open, airy feel showcasing beer hall style picnic bench seating where guests can gather to enjoy the beer gardens offerings along with food from over 15 vendors which range from burgers, pizza and wings to sushi, arepas and tacos.

The City Fountain beer gardenX

Games, including bags and electronic dart boards, provide entertainment for those who'd like to linger over a few brews.

Guests looking forward to football season will also find a place that’s well-equipped for cheering on the Packers thanks to the City Fountain’s large-screen television and state-of-the-art sound system.  

Big screen television at The City FountainX

What’s on tap?

Designed by The Kubala Washatko Architects and inspired by Milwaukee’s long history of beer making, The City Fountain combines the tradition and social atmosphere of a beer garden with the modern convenience of a self-service beer wall.

The wall, which is decorated with a backdrop of pennies, features 24 dedicated tap lines that showcase a constantly changing selection of primarily seasonal, limited-release and rare beers from breweries in the Dairy State. 

Self service beer wallX

“We have such a strong beer culture here,” notes 3rd Street Market Hall Assistant Manager Susan Pfenninger, whose job includes keeping the beer wall stocked with new selections. “And we really want this to be a place where folks can come and enjoy something they can’t necessarily find elsewhere.”

Pfenninger notes that seasonal offerings occupy the first sets of taps with additional brews organized from lightest to darkest (moving from left to right).

Currently on tap

  • Opetoberfest Marzen from Ope! Brewing Co.
  • Comfy Brewhaus Marzen from Company Brewing
  • Oktoberfest Marzen from Sprecher Brewing Co.
  • Pumpkin Spice Veneration (2023) Belgian Quadrupel from 3 Sheeps Brewing
  • Morning Mist Imperial Double New England IPA from Third Space Brewing
  • IPA from New Glarus Brewing Co.
  • Clouds & Cream: Strawberry Rhubarb Milkshake IPA from Central Waters Brewing Co.
  • I Like My Water Crunchy Imperial Double New England IPA from Young Blood Beer Co.
  • Tiki Tom Slushie Series: Beermosa Fruited Sour Berliner Weisse from Badger State Brewing
  • Pucker Patch Slushee Fruited Sour from Lion's Tale Brewing Co.
  • Crush: Orange Creamsicle Fruit Beer from MobCraft Beer
  • Enigma (2023) Sour - Flanders Red Ale from New Glarus Brewing Co.
  • Key Lime Pie Golden Ale from Whole Hog Brewery
  • M'waukee Brewsicle Blonde Ale from Lakefront Brewery
  • Pistachio Cream Ale from Indeed Brewing Co.
  • Thai Fried Bananas Hefeweizen from Hinterland Brewery
  • Wisconsin Amber Red Lager from Capital Brewery
  • Kettle Logic Amber Red Ale from Enlightened Brewing Co.
  • Firefly Skies Pale Wheat from Lion's Tale Brewing Co.
  • Blues Breaker Witbier from Eagle Park Brewing Co.
  • Brewers Reserve Bourbon Pecan Kringle Double Imperial Pastry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
  • Inventorator DOpe! Ibock Dopplebock from Ope! Brewing Co.
  • Bourbon Barrel-Aged Thousandfold Imperial Stout from Company Brewing
  • Recombobulation Dark Ale from Milwaukee Brewing Co.

Current selections aren't likely to last long, so get your favorites while you can.

Folks drinking beer at The City FountainX

How it works

The self-service beer wall is powered by PourMyBeer, a self-serve tap system that allows guests to purchase the exact amount of beer they’d like to drink at a per-ounce price.

When guests visit, their first stop should be the City Fountatin information desk where they can check in with one of the beer ambassadors and pick up a self-service beer card, which is synced up with your credit card. Only have cash? You can trade your cash for a gift card to use to pay for your brews.

From there, the card works just like a bar tab, keeping track of how much beer is poured and charging accordingly.

Once you have your PourMyBeer card, pick up a clean glass at the glassware station and head over to the beer wall. Peruse the selection and when you’ve found a beer you’d like to try, just slide your card into the slot below your beer selection, put your glass under the corresponding tap and pour as much (or little) beer into your glass as you’d like. You’ll see how much you’ve poured right there on the digital screen above the tap.

Someone pouring beer at The City FountainX

Do not leave your dirty glasses on the tables. When you’re finished, take your dirty glass and drop it off at the glass disposal station.

When you’re ready to leave, just head back to the information desk to settle your tab. Return your PourMyBeer card and you’ll get a $2 discount on your purchase.  

If you happen to leave without checking out, your credit card will be automatically charged at the end of the business day for any beer you poured from the beer wall during your visit.

Have questions? The friendly beer ambassadors are there to help.

The City Fountain is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.