Since 1840, Milwaukee and brewing have gone together like barley and hops. And it’s certainly true that the contemporary city wouldn’t be what it is today without the beer barons of our past. Today, that industry is buoyed by MillerCoors as well as dozens of craft brewers, and ancillary businesses that sell the tools and ingredients necessary to make our beloved suds.
Ifyou’re interested in learning more about the intersection of Milwaukee’s beer history and the state of the industry today, Brew City MKE is a great place to start. There you’ll find an interactive exhibit that explores Milwaukee's beer and brewing heritage, plus you can enjoy the first-of-its kind Milwaukee Beer Bar, a place to try a variety of Milwaukee beers.
If you like PBR, you’ll love Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery. It’s a retro-cool tour that sets the stage with vintage beer commercials and your choice of an ice-cold Pabst, Schlitz or root beer. The “Best” buildings are the site of the former Pabst Corporate Offices, which include Captain Pabst’s office, the Blue Ribbon Hall and cozy Captain’s Courtyard.
Built in 1892, The Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion is the only fully-restored beer baron’s home in America. This showplace was the gathering place of Milwaukee’s privileged elite and it’s easy to imagine yourself as a guest at one of the Captain’s legendary private parties. From the stunning woodwork of the grand master staircase to the sparkling crystal chandelier in the dining room, the elegant interiors are a testament to the wealth and power of the Pabst family.
Visit three of Milwaukee’s four famous beer barons – Pabst, Schlitz and Blatz – at the Forest Home Cemetery. Nestled on 72 tranquil, park-like acres, Forest Home is where a “who’s who” list of Milwaukee’s famous dearly departed have chosen to spend eternity. The “Beer Barons” corner features the mausoleums of these three brewing icons. To make your tour complete, head to Milwaukee’s Calvary Cemetery where you’ll find the final resting place of Frederick Miller.
You can also take a guided tour of Milwaukee's beer history with local experts! Fun Beer Tours combines history with beer on the Beer Capitol of the World tour that shows you the "big 4" (Miller, Schlitz, Pabst and Blatz) plus a variety of related historic beer sites with plenty of brews along the way. Milwaukee Food Tours also offers a Craft Breweries & Cocktails bus tour, and Untapped Tours takes the curious to fantastic craft breweries in the eclectic Riverwest neighborhood.