*This is the one-hundred and seventeenth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
1) How many different beers?
9 on tap, Firkin Friday special releases.
2) How long operational?
Since February 1st, 2017.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Owners previously ran a contract bottled brewery, found a perfect location to start over with production.
Canning & kegging in-house for the Milwaukee area.
5) What sets you apart?
“Genuine love for what we do. We’re still small, but growing quickly.” City Lights also has 4 different brewers.
6) How did you get your name?
Building used to power the city’s lights.
Looming over the Menomonee River in downtown Milwaukee for as long as anyone can remember, a collection of red brick industrial buildings have sat mostly empty and in clear view of anyone looking west from the city or south from the nearby I-94 freeway.
Just this past winter, though, these slowly-decaying but gorgeous buildings were given new life by City Lights Brewing Company.
This brewery is taking full-advantage of as much space as possible, with the industrial setting seemingly tailor-made for their purposes.
In reality, though, these buildings were once a main electric power plant for the growing city of Milwaukee, and the name of their new occupant honors that past.
In fact, instead of a traditional mug-club, CLBC playfully pays homage to their blue-collar predecessors by featuring a punch-card system for frequent visitors. We made sure to punch-in for a full flight of their brews.
Orange Wheat Ale
A whiff of grainy-wheat in a heavily-orange light drinker.
Your all-day beer, no question. Tasty enough hops to keep your interest, light enough to not bog you down after 3 or 4.
A “signature” IPA because it’s as true to style as can be. Fresh, good hoppy mouthfeel.
American Pale Ale
An interesting hop bed with less-common Ekuanot hops. Hidden malt notes.
Irish Red Ale
Malty & nutty, reminding me of a warm country night. An old-timer, crowd-pleaser.
Solid, balanced malt with hints of burnt sugar and apple cider.
Toasty, pleasing, warming, with slight syrup tastes.
Holy hoppy alcohol, Batman!
Heavy amounts of coconut milkiness, mellowing an already easy-going Porter.
While the outside may still appear industrial, the tap room is decidedly inviting.
Large windows allow patrons to observe the work going on behind-the-scenes.
But the crowds on this gorgeous summer night ventured out back to the spacious beer garden overlooking the lazy Menomonee River.
City Lights Brewing Company is leveraging their experience in a historic Milwaukee profession to literally turn the lights back on in a historic Milwaukee building. The future of brewing in this city has never looked brighter.