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Breweries That Beer Lovers Must Visit in Milwaukee

Are you visiting Wisconsin’s largest city? Make sure you stop by some of its most popular breweries and brewpubs.

Since the 1840s, Milwaukee has become somewhat synonymous with brewing beer. It’s because many German immigrants set up shop in the area and started crafting beer in their unique style.

Today the brewing scene in Milwaukee shows fantastic variety and imagination. Yet, some of the older breweries still follow European processes and traditions. 

If you’re not sure where to get your first pint in the city, check out the following options.

1. Milwaukee Brewing Company

Brewing beer since 1997, the Milwaukee Brewing Company is one of the best breweries in Milwaukee. It offers some of the most unique combinations of local ingredients and the tour guides know how to put on a show.

Polish Moon is one of the favorite local ales and it’s easy to find year-round. However, expect to run into some seasonal varieties, too, depending on when you visit.

2. Sprecher Brewery

Sprecher has been around for over three decades. The flavors they have available reflect regional preferences and the brewing process has deep roots in European beer-making. 

It’s not uncommon to find some seasonal ales at the brewery. That said, the majority of beers are of distinct Irish, English, or German taste and hardness. 

The tour allows you to sample up to four types of beer. You can also leave the Sprecher Brewery with a novelty glass.

3. Lakefront Brewery

The Lakefront Brewery is not only one of the best breweries in Milwaukee, but it’s also arguably one of the most visited. The facility sits on the Milwaukee River and remains a family-run business.

Each year, the Lakefront Brewery makes around 33,000 barrels. What’s great about it is its spread of brews. 

In fact, you can sample a variety of pumpkin or fruit beers. But you can also taste traditional ales. Pickier guests have the choice of getting gluten-free and organic beers. 

Every tour includes four tastings and a souvenir novelty glass as a gift.

4. Rock Bottom Brewery

Scrolling down on the Milwaukee breweries list, you’ll find the Rock Bottom Brewery. It has been in business for over four decades and is actually a historic brewery, at least to most locals.

The facility displays interesting and innovative brewing processes and the local brewmaster has a wealth of information on the subject.

What’s also cool about the Rock Bottom Brewery is that you can sit down and enjoy lunch or dinner here. It’s the best way to sample a broad range of beers without feeling woozy. 

5. Water Street Brewery

Opened in 1987, it’s known as the first brewpub in Milwaukee. That’s why it occupies a special spot on the Milwaukee breweries tour.

The original brewmaster still oversees the process and guides people on tours. And some of the beers here are those you won’t find anywhere else. 

The Water Street Brewery is also in a downtown location, which makes it highly accessible. Stop by for a bite to eat and check out a long menu of innovative, traditional, and unique beers.

6. Brenner Brewing Company

If you prefer more intimate tours, the Brenner Brewing Company’s own brewmaster can give you one. It’s a great experience for beer enthusiasts and even non-drinkers. 

The facility has a rather unique vibe as it combines a passion for brewing with that for music and art. And when it comes to the drinks, expect some bold and unique flavors as you settle in the tasting room.

Although it’s one of the newer breweries in Milwaukee, it’s nothing short of spectacular.

7. Eagle Park Brewing Company

If you want an exhaustive selection of beers on tap, the Eagle Park Brewing Company will oblige you. It has something for everyone – sweet, sour, international, regional, tough, or light. 

You name it; they probably have one or two in that style. 

The brewery also features its own pub with an extensive beer menu and excellent service. Although populated by locals, no one turns away tourists looking for a good time.

8. Miller Brewery

The Miller Brewery is one of the top Milwaukee breweries and is known as the oldest in the city. It doesn’t matter if you’re always up for Miller Time or not. A trip to this historic facility will overwhelm you with hospitality and great stories.

It offers a great interactive tour, plenty of tasting opportunities, and a variety of keepsakes like photos or trinkets you can pick up at the gift shop.

9. Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery

Although this isn’t technically a brewery tour, spending some time at the location is well worth it. After all, Pabst Blue Ribbon is an iconic American beer.

If you visit the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, you can go on a history tour and sample some local crafts and cuisine. 

10. Third Space Brewing

Opened by passionate and beer-loving friends, the Third Space brewery is one of the best breweries in Milwaukee of the up-and-coming variety. 

You can sample seasonal entries, specialty beers on rotation, and any of the brand’s primary five choices. Although it’s among the smallest breweries in Milwaukee, the brews feature a wide variety that’s guaranteed to satisfy any customer.

The facility offers tours where you can see the process, as well as a bar for sampling.

Learning the History of Brewing

Sadly, only Miller remains in Milwaukee as one of the largest and most iconic breweries in the country. But make no mistake – the city has no shortage of alternative facilities and award-winning craft beers for you to sample.

Whether you want to drink and eat, explore facilities, see the brewing process first-hand, or learn some beer history, Milwaukee is one of the best American cities to visit.

Trip Ideas

Top Milwaukee Attractions to Check Out

Milwaukee skyline

Top Milwaukee Attractions to Check Out

It doesn’t take long to realize that Milwaukee has many landmarks and historical attractions. Try to visit everything on this list to make the most out of your trip.

For an industrial hub, Milwaukee surprisingly has a lot to offer. It seems like a bland location for a vacation from the outside. But once you start exploring the city, it becomes obvious that it can provide a plethora of fun and educational experiences.

The museums, landmarks, breweries, and outdoor attractions can keep you busy and buzzed for days. Whether traveling alone, as a couple, or with friends or family, Milwaukee can’t disappoint. Check out some of the best sights to see during your stay.

Harley Davidson Museum

Mass production of Harley Davidson motorcycles started in Milwaukee in 1903. It’s now one of the city’s most prominent industries and passions besides brewing.

The Harley Davidson Museum is easily one of the top Milwaukee attractions that you shouldn’t miss seeing. Here, you can check out the oldest Harley model as well as some of the most significant designs of the iconic motorcycle company through the years.

But, it also offers more than memorabilia displays. You can also dine at a themed restaurant and even catch a bike night when Harley owners contribute their prized possessions to the museum’s display.

Pabst Mansion

For an ample dose of brewing history, the Pabst Mansion is a must-see attraction. It’s easily accessible as it’s close to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus. 

Although a beautiful building itself, the mansion also tells the story of the wealthy Pabst family. In particular, its beginnings and involvement with the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Almost every big city has an impressive museum or two. However, the Milwaukee Art Museum is awe-inspiring because of both its location and collections.

You can see over 20,000 works of art in this museum. Some of them date back to ancient times, while others are more modern. 

Even the building looks spectacular on the Milwaukee Lakefront. The museum looks like a retractable structure with wings, something of a mix between an aircraft and a ship.

Mitchell Park Conservatory

The Domes within the Mitchell Park Conservatory are among the top Milwaukee attractions. The gigantic glass structures house a variety of exotic tropical and desert plants.

While the interior gardens look amazing, the domes’ sheer size is enough to impress visitors, too. Each dome is 85-feet tall and 140-feet in diameter. They’re also the oldest ever built, dating back to 1959.

Discovery World Museum

One of the best things to see in Milwaukee is the Discovery World Museum. It offers a wide range of interactive exhibits that can captivate the imagination of any visitors.

Also located on the lakeshore, Discovery World houses an impressive array of artifacts. It also displays research of the Great Lakes and various methods of nature conservation.

Traveling exhibits also make stops at the museum. That’s why you can witness science, economics, and technology displays throughout the year. 

For an even more entertaining afternoon, don’t forget to catch an adventure movie on Discovery World’s big screen.

Boerner Botanical Gardens

Anyone who loves flowers, nature, and colors can enjoy a walk through the Boerner Botanical Gardens. It’s one of the most relaxing sights in the city and is recognized as one the top Milwaukee attractions.

It opened in the 1930s and the initial five formal gardens still exist today. They include the rose, annual, perennial, peony, and rock gardens. But over the years, the Boerner Botanical Garden acquired large varieties of shrubs, herbs, and flowers.

Milwaukee County Zoo

A zoo trip can always be one of the best things to do in Milwaukee, especially if traveling with kids. The Milwaukee County Zoo will captivate your kids as it’s one of the largest in the country and spans an area of 200-acres.

Different seasonal events run throughout the year, each providing a unique educational experience. The zoo houses over 1,800 animals and many of them were born right there in the zoo. 

If you want to see a satisfying combination of rare, unique, exotic, and native animals, the Milwaukee County Zoo is worth a few hours of your time. 

It’s worth knowing that certain seasonal events come with free admissions, so make sure to check in advance.

The Oriental Theatre

Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre is not an attraction per se. But it is a city landmark and a place teeming with people on the East Side.

The theatre opened in 1927 and you’ll find that most of the original ornate interior since then is perfectly preserved. It even has its old pipe organ, which gets played on certain occasions. 

While not as glamorous as an IMAX, the Oriental Theatre can offer a different movie-going experience. It also features a full bar with wine, beer, and even cocktails.

The Miller Brewery

Whether a fan of Miller or not, you can’t pass on the opportunity to see a part of American history. 

The Miller Brewery is the last of the “big breweries” still operating in Milwaukee. The facility perfectly encapsulates the city’s deep-rooted passion for brewing.

To top it all off, the tour lasts a good 80 minutes so you’re sure to get an immersive and detailed experience. When you leave, you will be able to sample some Miller beers and take a souvenir glass with you.

Visit the North Point Lighthouse

The North Point Lighthouse sits in one of the most picturesque locations in the city. Talk about Milwaukee sights to see. 

Initially, it helped guide boats into the Milwaukee harbor. It now acts as a maritime museum with displays focused on the Great Lakes. There’s also a unique twist. To celebrate Milwaukee’s brewing history, the Lighthouse Museum also holds beer tasting events throughout the year.

Fun for All Ages

Granted, adults can have way more fun in Milwaukee due to its passion for brewing beer and riding motorcycles. But while it may not have the theme parks that other big cities offer, it does provide a ton of interactive experiences.

Known for being an industrial hub, Milwaukee knows how to pleasantly surprise tourists with the conspicuous downplaying of an industrial city vibe.

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