Editor's note: The following sponsored content was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.
Long before it became the Dairy State, Wisconsin was, and still is, the Beer State. Journey through the state’s multitude of iconic breweries and local craft microbreweries that seem to be popping up by the second. Brewery tours are not only a great way to relax and unwind with friends, but also to learn more about the age-old process of beer making and what makes Wisconsin’s frosty brews so unique. Read on about our favorites, but be careful – you might get thirsty.
New Glarus Brewing Co. – New Glarus
Perhaps one of the most iconic breweries in Wisconsin, New Glarus Brewing Co. birthed the beloved "Spotted Cow" farmhouse ale as one of six beers available yearlong, but that’s only a fraction of what this craft brewery has accomplished since 1993. Stop by for free self-guided tours or behind-the-scenes "hard hat tours," a tasting room, gift shop, beer depot and panoramic countryside view, perfect for snapping that Instagram-worthy pic.
Minhas Craft Brewery – Monroe
They may have the youngest brewery owners in the world running the entire place, but don’t let it fool you: Minhas Craft Brewery was established in 1845. Over the years, the facility has expanded to include three city blocks. Try the Boxer Lager, a fan-favorite made with Canadian barley, Pacific Northwest hops and deep, fresh well water. Don’t miss the Herb and Helen Haydock World of Beer Memorabilia Museum, valued at more than $1 million.
Point Brewery – Stevens Point
Point Brewery was built in 1857 and has been winning awards for best brews ever since. Recently in 2016, Point’s Siesta Key Pale Ale received a gold medal in the American-Style Fruit Beer category at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition. It also won gold in the Golden or Blonde Ale category for its Drop Dead Blonde. Get the real brewing experience on the tour through feeling malted barley and watching yeast being "pitched" into cooling wort – followed by samples, of course.
Door County Brewing Company – Baileys Harbor
Door County Brewing Company features thoughtfully handcrafted beer inspired by the local heritage and land. Grab your friends and head over to hear some of the best live music in Door County every summer weekend as you sip beer and hang with the locals. We recommend its classic "Little Sister" witbier, brewed with equal parts Belgian Pilsner malt and wheat and spiced with coriander and orange peel.
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company – Chippewa Falls
Take the tour and let one of the tour guides introduce you to nearly 150 years of brewing and six generations of Leinenkugel family history. The Leinie Lodge is filled with historical photos, vintage equipment and plenty of Leinie’s wearables and collectibles. Relax with friends, family and, of course, a cold award-winning beer.
Breweries are a quintessential Wisconsin experience, with some of the best internationally recognized beers coming from this state. Summer is the perfect time to explore all of the varieties Wisconsin has to offer and find your new favorite. These brewery tours and tastings can be surprisingly affordable, perfect for a pack of friends to enjoy. New breweries are constantly opening, so refer to Travel Wisconsin’s brewery list for recommendations.