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10 Iconic Milwaukee Beers

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10 Iconic Milwaukee Beers

While craft and microbreweries are popping up all over the country, Milwaukee continues to set itself apart from the masses and hold fast to the title of “Brew City.” The home of the four greats (Pabst, Miller, Schlitz and Blatz), the city has a rich history in brewing, so it’s no wonder microbreweries are choosing to open their doors in Milwaukee. Everyone wants to be in the city where it all started. To drink like a Milwaukeean, you have to both pay homage to our trailblazers and be on top of the newest brews hitting the market.

10. Schlitz Although the brewery was born in 1849, it was in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire that Schlitz got its nickname “the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” The fire wiped out five of Chicago’s breweries, along with its water infrastructure, leaving no water or supplies to brew beer. It was Schlitz to the rescue, sending thousands of barrels of their beer south to wet the whistles of the beer-deprived Chicagoans who were so thankful to Schlitz that they became brand loyalists. Schlitz is still available today, brewing their “classic ‘60s formula” that resonates with past and present generations alike.

9. Pabst Brewery – Andeker While Pabst Blue Ribbon (or PBR to hipster-nation) might be the “award winning” beer, it’s Andeker that has beer enthusiasts buzzing. A European-style lager that was introduced in 1939, taken off the market in the 1960s, and briefly reappeared between 1972 and 1986, is one of the old formulas getting a resurrection at the new Pabst Milwaukee Brewery.
 
8. Miller Brewing Company – High Life Sure, craft beer is king these days, but without these big guys paving the way in the 1800s, the beer industry wouldn’t be what it is today. Miller High Life was first released in 1903, making it the oldest Miller beer to date. The high carbonation levels in this pilsner-style beer, paired with the clear glass bottles distinctive of the beer’s packaging, earned it the nickname “The Champagne of Beers.” So while your friends are drinking their imperial black double IPAs, you can take solace knowing that your Miller High Life is just as classy as a glass of champagne.
 
7. Blatz Beer The fourth of the Milwaukee Beer Barons, Valentin Blatz, opened his brewery next door to City Brewery, owned by John Braun. When Braun died, Blatz married his widow and merged the two breweries. By 1884, Blatz Brewery was the third-largest beer producer in Milwaukee. Today, the American-style lager Blatz is brewed and distributed by the Pabst Brewing Co., proving that even the Milwaukee beer barons can play nice.
 
6. Sprecher Brewery – Black Bavarian First brewed in 1985 alongside the opening of the brewery, the Black Bavarian is one of the flagship beers at Sprecher Brewery, Milwaukee’s first modern craft brewery. This Bavarian-style black lager (or Kulmbacher-style schwarzbier) brings smooth, complex malt flavors with hints of coffee, caramel and chocolate, but isn’t as creamy or sweet as a porter or stout – truly a unique (and award-winning) beer.
 
5. Lakefront Brewery – Klisch You only name one of your beers after your founders if it’s one of your greats. Klisch, named after Russ and Jim Klisch, is a full-bodied, smooth and slightly hoppy Czech pilsner that perfectly complements any of your favorite Milwaukee dishes from a Friday night fish fry to a slice of Milwaukee-style pizza – and that’s the mark of a great Milwaukee beer.
 
4. Milwaukee Brewing Co. – Weekend @ Louie’s Louie’s Demise is the beer that started it all for Milwaukee Brewing Company. Owner Jim McCabe brewed this beer for the first time in his basement in Cedarburg, back when the dream of owning his own microbrewery was just that – a dream. Weekend @ Louie’s, however, takes this beer to the next level with a collaboration with local Milwaukee tea makers, Rishi Tea. Adding Rishi’s Organic Blueberry Rooibos and Hibiscus Tea blends turns this amber ale into a unique, light, fruity, herbal summer beer. And what’s cooler than a Milwaukee collaboration?
 
3. Third Space Brewing – Happy Place Third Space Brewing believes that everyone has three spaces that they exist in: the space where they work, the space where they sleep and the space where they play (and drink!). We think that the third space is our happy place, and this brewery agreed. Happy Place is a Midwest pale ale full of citrus, passion fruit and berry flavors which balance out the hop aromas, making this a full-bodied but very drinkable beer.
 
2. Black Husky Brewing – Sproose IPAs have been the big trend in the brewing industry for the past few years, and everyone seems to think the hoppier, the better! But Black Husky Brewing tries something different with their double IPA, adding in locally harvested spruce tips during the brewing process to give this beer a not-so-subtle pine and juniper taste and scent.
 
1. Good City Brewing – Reward Good City Brewing opened their doors in June of 2016 and won their first national award less than a year later: Brewing News’ National Imperial IPA Championship for their Double IPA “Reward.” One sip of this hoppy, yet deceptively smooth brew and you’ll know why this is the beer that is putting Good City Brewing on the map.
 

 

 
Your guide to Milwaukee’s beer gardens

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Couple with dog at Estabrook Beer Garden
 

Your guide to Milwaukee’s beer gardens
Drinking al fresco has never been more fun!

In 2012, Milwaukee’s first beer garden since Prohibition – actually, the country’s first beer garden since those dark, dry days – opened to the public. The idea quickly took off, as evidenced by the lineup below, and summertime imbibing hasn’t been the same since. 
 
2900 S Shore Dr. 
 
Overlooking Lake Michigan, this expanded beachside beer garden features the Miller 1855 Bar, with its nearly 30-foot concrete and cedar counter complete with 20 top handles. The beer menu offers suds from Leinenkugel’s, including its collaboration with Hofbrau, Blue Moon varieties and more. And for the edibles, South Shore Terrace offers carrot fries, a cheese board, Milwaukee Pretzel Co.’s soft pretzels, chicken drums, and, of course, cheese curds. Hours are Wednesday through Friday from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Street parking available. 
 
3000 W. Park Ave
 
The home park of Chill on the Hill  prides itself on featuring a selection of local food along with rotating taps of Wisconsin craft beer. This means you can chow on a bratwurst in a pretzel bun and wash it down with Tyranena Rocky’s Revenge or Vintage Brewing Co.’s hibiscus saison. Enjoy live polka music and an authentic pig roast every Saturday or Quizmaster Trivia Wednesday nights. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. daily once open. Parking available. 
 
3565 North Morris Blvd., Shorewood
 
Tucked into an adorable Shorewood park, the Hubbard Park Beer garden sits adjacent to the Milwaukee River. It’s an ultra-scenic way to sip from your stein, which could be filled with Sprecher Black Bavarian, Spotted Cow or a rotating IPA. If beer gardens are a morning activity for you, Hubbard Park also offers a delectable bloody mary. And if you’re hungry, Hubbard’s got a nice mix of sausage, cheese and pretzel offerings. Open Monday to Friday, 3-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12-9 p.m. Parking is limited.
 
1800 N Swan Blvd, Wauwatosa
 
With both indoor and outdoor seating, The Landing features a changing menu of local craft and imported beer, along with red, white and sparkling wines and a menu that includes local favorite Cranky Al’s pizza, giant pretzels, obatzda, beer brats, hot dogs, popcorn and fountain drinks, along with specials offered periodically by SA Braai. Hours are Wednesday through Friday from 3-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9pm once open. Parking available
 
4600 Estabrook Dr.
 
Established in 2012 as the first public beer garden in America in more than 100 years, Estabrook’s beer garden is an expansive affair right next to the Milwaukee River. Food is limited to beer garden basics of bratwurst, hot dogs, and giant pretzels, but they’re no less delicious. The garden features beers imported from the Munich Hofbräuhaus and all beer is served in half or full-liter glass mugs. Visitors arrive by foot, bicycle, automobile, kayak and canoe.
 
8831 North Root River Parkway, Greendale 
 
As the newest permanent beer garden, Whitnall Park has got it all. Not only does the park house the stunning Boerner Botanical Gardens, but the beer garden includes domestic and craft beer and cider, Pepsi products, wine and a variety of snacks. Parking available.
 
Location Varies
 
This summer the Traveling Beer Garden will visit 13 parks over 16 weeks to serve up thousands of glasses of suds. Each temporary beer garden features craft beer, gourmet sodas, hard root beer, hard ginger beer, and more from Sprecher Brewing. There will also be live music featured at all stops Wednesday through Saturday evenings from 5-8 p.m. Hours are Monday through Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with last call at 9 p.m. Parking depends on location. 

 

 
Beer Garden Grub Worth Toasting

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By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee
Women toasting at The Bavarian Bierhaus
 
The classic German tradition of the beer garden is back in a big way in Milwaukee’s local parks! These community gathering spaces aren’t just a great place to raise a glass – though you’re welcome to bring your own food, it’ll be hard to resist the Bavarian classics and picnic favorites served up alongside steins of beer. So come take a seat at a shared table and enjoy good beer, good friends and good food – prosit!
 
Milwaukee’s newest destination for a German good time is a brewery, beer hall and two beer gardens, all in one! Choose a spot on the full-service Beer Garden patio attached to the Beer Hall to enjoy the complete menu of Bavarian favorites from jaegerschnitzel to bienenstich.
 
Set on the banks of the Milwaukee River, this beer garden features beers imported from the Munich Hofbräuhaus. The daily menu includes brats, hot dogs and giant pretzels, but for a special treat, come for Friday Fish Fry or Saturday Schnitzel (both while supplies last).
 
Located in nearby Wauwatosa next to the TOSA Pool, The Landing serves a changing selection of craft and import beer. In addition to beer garden classics, The Landing also offers “Cranky’s Pizza” from locally beloved doughnut/pizza place, Cranky Al’s. Enjoy a few slices along with your brew!
 
Enjoy a rotating selection of craft beers and even handmade maple root beer on tap at this relaxed beer garden. It also has an impressively broad food menu, serving up small bites like beer cheese nachos, salads, sandwiches, pizza and ice cream alongside the expected wursts. Plus a pig roast every Saturday!
 
Click here for a map of Milwaukee beer gardens - most will stay open into October as weather allows, so come enjoy!
 

 

 
What To Do in Milwaukee On A Budget

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By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee
Couple at Hubbard Park Beer Garden
 
The NY Times Frugal Traveler gave two thumbs up to Milwaukee, calling the city “vibrant and cheap,” which, hey – we’ll take it. There are certainly plenty of ways to enjoy the finer things in life in Milwaukee, but it’s also a city where great things come at a great price. These inexpensive or free things to do in Milwaukee are perfect if you’re looking for an easy weekend getaway on a budget or want to save up for a special night out while you're in town (James Beard nominated restaurants, anyone?).
 
Beer gardens
This German tradition is back in a big way in Milwaukee! Beer gardens are springing up at parks all around the city, and they’re the perfect place to hang out when you’re on a budget. Treat yourself to a stein, then take in the atmosphere, the good company and oftentimes live music! Many beer gardens allow visitors to bring their own picnics for extra savings, though there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to resist that giant pretzel once you see it. (Most beer gardens serving in traditional glass steins will charge a glassware deposit, but you’ll get it back before you go!)
 
Lakefront
No, not the brewery…the actual shoreline of Lake Michigan is a great spot to spend your time if you’re short on cash. The stunning views of the lake and the city’s architecture are all free. If you can time your visit right, watch the “wings” of the Milwaukee Art Museum open at 10 a.m., flap at noon or close at 5 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fridays). The trails along the lakefront are great for jogging, biking or just strolling, and if you have a little extra money to spend, you can rent paddleboats, bikes and more.
 
Brewery tours
The MillerCoors brewery tour takes you from the caves where Frederick Miller originally cooled his brews up to today’s high speed production lines and is FREE (that’s right, $0). But your dollar stretches far on any tour in town – $10 will get you a tour and plenty of delicious craft brews at Lakefront Brewery or Milwaukee Brewing Company, and for just $6 you can tour Sprecher Brewery and sample both beers and their popular gourmet sodas.
 
Summer concerts
This one is also totally free! Almost every night of the week, you’ll find free outdoor concerts in parks across the city. Local favorites include Chill on the Hill (Tuesday), River Rhythms (Wednesday) and Jazz in the Park (Thursday). These events vary on their carry-in policies, but enjoying nice weather and free music is always a good time!
 
Free events
From gallery nights and street festivals to museum free days and outdoor movies, there’s almost always something fun and free happening in Milwaukee. Check out the free section of Milwaukee365.com to see what’s on tap while you’re in town.  
 

 

 
Retro Dining & Drinking in Milwaukee

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By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee

Cocktail at Bryant's Cocktail Lounge

Milwaukee is a city that honors its history, so it should come as no surprise that classic favorites like diners, supper clubs and cocktail lounges are still thriving alongside the innovative restaurants that make up the city's new-school dining scene. If you're looking to party like it's 1938 or just want a killer #ThrowbackThursday post, don't miss these retro-fab dining and drinking establishments while you're in town.

Founded in 1942, Miss Katie’s Diner is a 1950s throwback serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a full cocktail menu. Start off your flashback day with their famous corned beef hash for breakfast.

From the relish tray to frosty ice cream drinks, the supper club is a Wisconsin institution that locals have loved since the 1930s. Get a taste of the classic supper club experience at Five O’Clock Steakhouse, serving up supper club staples like the relish tray, fresh salads prepared tableside and, of course, premium steaks since 1946. Travel & Leisure described this steakhouse as a “classic supper club setting with a Mad Men vibe.” Or try Joey Gerard’s, a new restaurant with nostalgic feel. This Hollywood-style supper club brings traditional favorites to modern families, including an impressive menu of ice cream drinks.

If cocktails sound more tempting, don’t miss Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, a local gem open since 1938. A semifinalist for the James Beard Awards’ “Best Bar Program” (2013), Bryant’s repertoire includes over 450 specialty and classic cocktails, but you won’t see any menus in this stylish, intimate lounge. Instead, let one of the knowledgeable bartenders on staff use your preferences and tastes to guide you to the perfect drink. Up on the East Side, drink in vintage style at Vitucci’s. This cocktail lounge has been family-owned for 80 years!

Want to throw it back even farther? Learn more about Milwaukee's old school bar scene - including the oldest tavern in the city (built in 1850!).

 

 
How to Travel Solo in Milwaukee

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By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee
 
No travel buddy? No problem! More and more travelers are discovering the fun and adventure of traveling solo. It can be intimidating to plan your first unaccompanied trip to a new city, but once you catch the bug it can be hard to find a travel experience that matches the freedom and adventure of going solo! Here are a few tips for what to do alone in Milwaukee.
 
Museums
Museums are the perfect spot to visit as a party of one. How many times have you been entranced by an exhibit or piece of artwork only to be dragged away by an impatient friend (or been the one trying to keep a pokey buddy on the move)? No thanks! When it’s just you, you can enjoy at your own pace. The Milwaukee Art Museum recently completed a full renovation of their galleries and nearly doubled the number of works on view (and added a coffee shop and wine bar – the perfect spot for a little solo chill time!). At the Milwaukee Public Museum, local favorite exhibit “The Streets of Old Milwaukee” is newly updated for a more immersive look into Milwaukee’s past; pop your headphones on and check out the Streets of Old Milwaukee app for ever-changing stories from turn-of-the-century Milwaukeeans.
 
Outdoors
Communing with nature is the perfect one-on-one activity: just you and the great outdoors. And Milwaukee’s urban outdoors are pretty darn great – with Lake Michigan, three rivers, more than 150 state and county parks and more than 130 miles of bike trails, there’s an option for everyone. Rent a kayak to explore Milwaukee’s waterways, hop on a bike (if you didn’t bring one, check out Bublr Bikes, the city’s bikeshare system) or just take a stroll. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (of Central Park fame), Lake Park is a local favorite spot for nature lovers and photographers thanks to waterfalls, stunning stone bridges and historic Northpoint Lighthouse. 
 
Dining
Eating out is often the most intimidating part of a solo trip, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re shy about being alone at a sit-down restaurant, cafes and counter service restaurants are great options. Colectivo Coffee has been handmade in Milwaukee since 1993, and no one will look twice if you’re sitting along with a book or laptop at one of their thirteen local cafes enjoying a cup of coffee, soup, sandwiches or baked goods locally baked at their Troubadour Bakery in Bay View. During the summer, sidle up to a food truck for a delicious meal on the go to be enjoyed in any local park (tip: check Twitter to find out local truck schedules…they tend to travel in packs!). Or get a little braver: many popular local restaurants serve a full menu at the bar (and at some, that’s the only place to get a seat without a reservation!), so belly up for great farm-to-table eats at places like Braise and Wolf Peach, or retro-style counters at Comet Café and Miss Katie’s Diner.
 
Nightlife
If you’re the artsy type, use your solo status to your advantage to pick up some last-minute show tickets; pairs and groups are out of luck when it comes to snagging that one awesome seat that’s left! Milwaukee’s arts and theater scene boasts a Grammy-winning opera company, a world-class symphony, a nationally-acclaimed ballet company and an array of professional dance and theater companies performing at venues all across the metro area. Or if you’re more interested in trying some of Milwaukee’s local libations, a craft cocktail bar is the perfect place for a solo traveler. Like-minded patrons and knowledgeable bartenders make great company. Try Distil, Milwaukee’s House of Bourbon, for carefully crafted cocktails and an impressive spirits list. Or visit the tasting room of Great Lakes Distillery and Central Standard Craft Distillery, where you’ll sip on cocktails made with liquors distilled on-site.
 
What's your favorite solo hangout in Milwaukee?

 

 
How to make a Milwaukee Bloody Mary

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By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist
VISIT Milwaukee
Over the top Bloody Mary from Sobelman's Pub & Grill
 
The Bloody Mary is no joke in Milwaukee. A limp stick of celery as a garnish? Not here. This iconic brunch beverage is turned up to eleven at Milwaukee eateries, topped with everything from mini-burgers to bacon, lobster claws to sushi rolls and everything in between. 
 
Sobelman’s Pub and Grill is famous for their over-the-top Bloody Marys (including the Chicken Fried Bloody Beast pictured above)…learn how to make a classic Sobelman’s Bloody in this video:
 
 
Don’t stop your exploration of Milwaukee’s over-the-top Blood Mary scene here! You can take a walking tour of the Third Ward’s best Bloodys with Milwaukee Food Tours, or check out some of the inventive Bloody Marys at these brunch spots on your own – don’t forget to order a “beer back,” a miniature beer to sip alongside your Bloody.
 
  • Asian ingredients like soy sauce and sake flavor the drinks at Screaming Tuna  – some even come topped with a sushi roll.
  • Home of a famous lobster dinner special, you can still get a lobster claw poking out of your Bloody when you brunch at St. Paul Fish Company in the Milwaukee Public Market.
  • At AJ Bomber’s, your Bloody Mary is basically a burger in a glass, with mustard and “Bomber” sauce in the mix and muenster cheese wrapped in a thin burger patty (and some bacon) to top it off.
  • Try County Clare for some Irish flair – the garnish on this drink includes a house-pickled red potato!
  • Looking for bold flavor? Smyth at the Iron Horse Hotel makes a powerful Bloody featuring horseradish, steak sauce and Guinness.
  • The Lowlands Group is famous for inventive Bloody Marys; you’ll find a variety of exclusive options on the menu at each of their five European-inspired Grand Cafes.
  • Smoke Shack’s signature Bloody Jack is made with Jack Daniels instead of vodka and spiced with barbeque sauce.
  • At the Wicked Hop, your drink comes crowned with a distinctive wreath of mozzarella whips.
The list goes on and on…who serves your favorite Milwaukee Bloody Mary?

 

 
How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Happy New Year! With the year properly underway, now’s the time to take stock: how well are you doing on your resolutions? It’s easy to make a vacation an excuse to indulge in things you wouldn’t at home (and we totally support that!), but you don’t have to forget about your resolutions while you’re traveling. Whatever pledge you made to yourself as 2016 dawned, we rounded up a few ways to help you stick to the most common options while in Milwaukee.
 
Get Active
There’s no reason to skip an outdoor adventure just because of a little chill in the air! Milwaukee was named one of USA Today’s top destinations for urban cross-country skiing, and our award-winning county parks are great for running, walking and biking all year round (I’d maybe leave the rollerblades at home until the ice melts, though.) Plus, Bublr Bikes, Milwaukee’s bike share system, is staying open all through the winter. With a network of more than 20 stations throughout downtown, why not hop on a bike next time you need to get from point A to point B? If outdoors in the winter really isn’t your style, burn some calories inside with a visit to CMP Tactical Lazer Tag, where a multistory cityscape arena takes you inside the heart-pounding action of your favorite video games, or family-friendly Bounce Milwaukee, home to laser tag, inflatable obstacle courses and a rock climbing wall – all open to both kids and adults!
 
Eat Healthier
Sure, Milwaukee may be known for some of our…more indulgent dining options, but there are plenty of great spots that won’t break your resolve. Located right downtown, Colour Palate lets you build your own custom salad or wrap, or pick from menu options like a classic Caesar, quinoa & corn or the Bombay chop. With four locations throughout the area, Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative is a great place for a healthy meal wherever you are. A full-service grocery store specializing in local, organic and natural foods, Outpost also has an in-store café with made-to-order juices and smoothies and an organic soup and salad bar. The Milwaukee Public Market is a must-visit spot; there’s a wealth of delicious vendors inside, but health nuts will make a beeline for the fresh juices, smoothies, salads and sandwiches at The Green Kitchen.
 
Learn Something New
You promised yourself you’d pick up some fresh knowledge in the new year – commendable! A brewery tour is classic Milwaukee fun that’s educational too; check out the high-speed production lines of an industry giant on the free tour at MillerCoors, or get a taste (literally) of craft brews at local microbreweries like Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee Brewing Company and Sprecher Brewing Company. For a more hands-on approach, why not try a cooking class? Head into the kitchen with Chef Michael Feker at his culinary studio, get some training at Braise Culinary School or stop by Superior Equipment & Supply for classes for all ages.
 
Travel More
Hey, this one is a no-brainer: come to Milwaukee! We’ve been named one of the hotspots to visit in 2016 in The Boston Globe, so what are you waiting for? Check out our itineraries for tons of vacation inspiration for foodies, families, beer connoisseurs, couples and more to jumpstart your planning. See you in 2016!
 

 

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