VISIT Milwaukee Blog
| Tuesday, July 10, 2012
By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
In today’s “I-just-got-up-and-yawned-and-now-I’m-tweeting-about-it” lifepace (lifestyle is just too slow and narrow-minded), it seems no stone is left unturned, no matter how disinteresting its size, shape or color. Someone has a sniffle and you’re one of the first 1,287 “friends” to find out what her favorite brand of tissue is. Another person changes his screensaver to a picture of his niece on a brand-new trike and he just has to share “Lil Melanie’s first ride!” with everyone on the World Wide Web.
Are there no longer boundaries and protocol to keep sacred moments safely shared to far less than 1,287 people? Are there no longer special places only we know? Stressfully, I had thought not. Refreshingly, I heard otherwise during a recent tour of Sprecher Brewery – a little brewery nearly hidden on a quiet, residential street in Glendale, Wisconsin.
A friend of mine and I heard all about Sprecher’s past (founder Randy Sprecher changed his major from something to do with the ocean to fermentation science – a man to look up to) and Sprecher’s present (award-winning Black Bavarian and popular Special Amber beers and sodas like Ravin’ Red and the world-famous Root Beer) on the regular tour. For a mere $5 you see the brew house, aging cellar, bottling line and warehouse, then spill out into an invention just a fermentation less great than beer itself – an indoor beer tent.But, instead of heading to the beer tent with the regulars, we and a handful of tasters started the Reserve Tastings (see full menu) portion of our tour, a private beer and cheese (Wisconsin’s version of yin and yang) tasting. Ten Sprecher beer samples plus 10 cheeses = “I think even I need to start tweeting!”
Around beer and cheese number five, we struck up a conversation with the couple next to us. Matt and Michelle were young professionals from Iowa City who make a yearly pilgrimage to Milwaukee. They love Summerfest. Love-love The Iron Horse Hotel (and so do their dogs) and especially love that, seemingly, Milwaukee is quite hidden from the rest of the world. And, for one week each year, they’re on the inside looking out.
“Milwaukee is such a hidden gem and I like it that way,” confessed Matt, who, along with Michelle, used to be a traveling nurse, so they know a thing or three about traveling the U.S. “I hate the touristy feeling in cities like Chicago. Milwaukee is just awesome and seems like such a great secret. We want to keep it that way – our secret.”
As we sipped and nibbled our way through the five remaining beers and cheeses (Hefe Weiss with White Cheddar and Cranberry and the Chameleon Hop on Top with Great Midwestern Habanero Jack were tops), I thought about Matt’s desire to keep Milwaukee just as it is and my struggles with our “social” media society. If something is great, should we not tell as many people as possible? But, if everyone knows, then does no one really know?
All I know is Milwaukee and Sprecher Brewery are great as they are. If there were 75 people at our tasting, it would’ve tasted very crowded. If everything was sold out months in advance in Milwaukee, I wouldn’t see much of Milwaukee. Pins, status changes and re-tweets will come and go and maybe the Unsocial Media Era is just around the web. Either way, Milwaukee and its Sprecher Brewery will sparkle. Just bright enough for Matt and Michelle to find them again next year.
701 W. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, WI 53209