*This is the fifty-third post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*

Sprecher Brewing Company / Chameleon Brewing Company
701 W Glendale Ave
Glendale, WI 53209
(414) 964-2739
Visit date: 04/17/16

Quick Hits:
1) How many different beers?
32 on tap that day between soda and beer…so a lot.

2) How long operational?
1985

3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Founder was fired from Pabst brewery, original location fell into the Menomonee river.

4) Distribution?
25,000 barrels/year. Soda outsells beer 3:1.

5) What sets you apart?
Traditional German-style beers, fantastic sodas.

6) How did you get your name?
Founder Randy Sprecher’s name.

Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale. All photos by Joe Powell.

Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale. All photos by Joe Powell.

Though you may know them best for their addictingly-sweet sodas, specifically their root beer, Sprecher Brewing Company is actually one of the oldest and most well-established breweries in Milwaukee. In fact, they’ve been around long enough to buy their own beer without getting carded. Thirty-one years ago Randy Sprecher opened up his own brewery after getting laid off from Pabst, and has now outlived his ex-employer in Milwaukee (until Pabst returns soon).

The bottling line is just one area of the brewery showing their German heritage.

The bottling line is just one area of the brewery showing their German heritage.

Compared to a lot of the new upstart breweries we visit, Sprecher seems to be working on growing their portfolio in the opposite direction. Sprecher was founded on brewing traditional German-style beers, but in recent years has expanded to more diverse and experimental choices.

#Parker dropping some brewing knowledge and good-natured insults on an unsuspecting crowd.

#Parker dropping some brewing knowledge and good-natured insults on an unsuspecting crowd.

Generally, a new microbrewery needs to start  with a unique, specific portfolio to define themselves and to stand out from the crowd; however, Sprecher’s established business and honed craft foundation allows them to chose various niches in which they want to try out their next product. It’s a great spot to be in, for them and for us consumers.

Besides the new-ish forays into radlers and hard sodas, Randy established a sister brewing company called Chameleon a few years back to focus on American-style beers in addition to Sprecher’s German. Everything for both companies is brewed at the same location.

Their brew kettle is literally heated by an open flame beneath the bricks.

Their brew kettle is literally heated by an open flame beneath the bricks.

I highly encourage their tour, which for $6 netted us a hilarious walk-through (by #PARKER) and a stop in their indoor biergarten with 4+ beer samplings and unlimited soda (pours by RJ and Nick).

Nick manning the taps.

Nick manning the taps.

XII Belgian Quad
Brewed in honor of their 30th anniversary: fruity, malty; like a boozy chocolate syrup.

Pineapple Express Belgian IPA
Juicy, slight hop nose; very light yet flavorful.

Maibock
Light and earthy with a hop-y tinge.

All American Pale Ale
Very drinkable; smooth hops profile.

Cidre de Pomme Apple Cider
Like an apple champagne.

Pub Brown Ale
Nutty & smooth.

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Black Bavarian Schwarzbier
A dark bomb, perfect for dark-beer lovers. Coffee notes.

Piper’s Scotch Ale
Interesting: smokey and peaty.

Citra Bomb Double IPA
Their hoppiest for sure, but more floral than bitter.

Fire Light Pilsner (Chameleon)
Your standard American light beer, made for relaxation.

Abbey Triple Belgian Tripel
Creamy, flowery; my favorite.

Grapefruit Radler
Like a Hefeweizen with a touch of grapefruit.

Dopple Bock
Very drinkable; a table beer.

Sodas
All amazing.

The large indoor biergarten.

The large indoor biergarten.

The gift store in front is worth a stop as well, if not for the cheaply-priced sodas and beers than at least for the oddly-branded swag.

Even gifts for your beer-loving grandmother.

Even gifts for your beer-loving grandmother.

Sprecher Brewing Company is a Milwaukee institution. Whether you’re in search of soda or beer, there’s no going wrong with their diverse selection.

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