*This is the twelfth post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
Water Street Brewery
1101 N Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Visit date: 04/24/15
1) How many different beers?
8 on tap, ~25 throughout the year
2) How long open?
Brewing since 1987 downtown, 2 other locations more recently.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Downtown is where everything is going on, offering a mixture of age groups. Owner owns most of the block and businesses.
Each location brews their house batches, with growlers to go.
5) What sets you apart?
“We’re more versatile than competitors” (since it’s all brewed in-house for each pub). “We satisfy a variety of different tastes.”
Though you can now find offshoots of Water Street Brewery in surrounding suburbs, Milwaukee’s first brewpub has been located about as downtown as downtown can be since 1987 (a few months before Lakefront began brewing, for those keeping score). Their classic old building on a busy Water Street corner invites you in with a display of their copper brewing kettles before inundating you with dark wood seating, low lighting, and scores of historic brewing memorabilia.
We sat at the bar and ordered beers, though there is plenty of table seating throughout the surprisingly-large space and a full pub menu to satisfy your hunger too. Like the dining tables, the bar is made of a deep, solid wood reminiscent of German beer halls without the kitschy decor. It curves slightly to allow for easy conversation, and we took the opportunity to chat with a number of friendly travelers while tasting our sampler ($9).
Honey Lager Light
Fruity and a bit watery, though ends with a bite.
A Blue Moon you feel in your nose.
Definitely berry-forward; like a beer-juice.
Punch You in the Eye PA
Slightly hoppy, like licking paper. That sounds worse than I mean it to.
A drinkable and tasty caramel Amber.
It felt odd having this solid fall brew in spring.
A hoppy Blue Moon.
Buttery (That’s all I wrote in my notes. I think the previous 7 started to hit me.)
Water Street Brewery should be designated a historic landmark, not simply for its contribution to the Milwaukee craft beer scene (though that could be enough), but also because of all the amazing beer artifacts held within. It’s worth the trip to the college-haven Water Street to grab a beer and just admire their collection. Water Street Brewery is a comfortable environment with comfortable beer. Nothing wrong with that.