*This is the tenth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
Milwaukee Brewing Company
613 S 2nd St
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Visit date: 04/11/15
Quick Hits (courtesy of the best tour guide ever, Grizz):
1) How many different beers?
7 originals and 5 high-alcohols on tap tonight, seasonals and specials too.
2) How long open?
Company since 1997, 2007 opened brewery at current location.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
“Because Milwaukee needs craft breweries in the city to maintain its identity.”
Wisconsin, Chicago, Twin Cities; bottles and cans and bars.
5) What sets you apart?
“Our branding/stories and philosophy toward the beer are great representations of what Milwaukee is all about – not flashy and maybe not even ‘trendy’ but we know what we’re doing and we want to share it with people.”
I know we’re only 10 stops into the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour, but I have a confession to make: I have been to MKE Brewing many times and drink their beers on the regular, and it is hands-down my favorite brewery ever.
Many craft breweries offer tours, and once you’ve been on one you’ve been on them all. But MKE offers an “Open House,” and it is this ($15/person) experience that we came for. It’s 2+ hours of unlimited beer in your own seasonal pint glass with nearly unfettered access to wander around their brewery, because “beer should be fun to drink”. It’s essentially an evening of all the reasons you and your bros want to open a brewery without the work and capital and mortgaging your life.
You’ll need to get tickets online way in advance, otherwise wait in line day-of at 11AM to purchase the limited supply. They sell out every week. The Open House is only at 5PM on Saturday nights, though they offer standard tours at other times.
On this particular night they had 7 of their standard-alcohol beers on tap and 5 high-alcohol. One of the reasons it’s my favorite brewery is because I have never had a MKE beer that I did not enjoy. As Grizz told me, “The general philosophy has always been to make beer that is both creative and accessible.” To mention a few favorites:
Their flagship Amber Ale is the best you can make.
This White IPA is refreshing and goes down smooth.
Nothing quite like this frothy Farmhouse Ale.
A most addicting and dangerous beer, 9.2% Belgian Wit made with local tea only served in tall-boys.
This 10.2%, bourbon-barrel aged Amber is the stuff of legend.
While appearing low-budget, there’s so much going on behind the scenes that sets MKE apart. Of note: on-site solar power, waste-water reuse, a new distillery attached, and hula-hoops.
It’s hard to overemphasize my love for MKE Brewing. All of their beers are top-notch, the workers are fun and laid-back, they’re invested in the revitalization of the neighborhood, and they’re not afraid to try new things. Milwaukee Brewing Company has been and continues to be my #1 beer recommendation.