Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Lakefront Brewery: Milwaukee, WI
Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, is a place I've been dying to visit for years. I have had a few of their beers in bottle with mixed results, but have been told that on tap is the way to try them. Last year my cousin was married in town and most of my family managed to get there without me! Though they were nearly late for the wedding... This year, another cousin was getting married and I figured I'd try again...
The brewery has been in business since 1987, and has really led the craft beer movement in Milwaukee. Even in the great brewery city, the typical Miller and other bland lagers still dominate the beer landscape. The brewery is in an old warehouse building made of light colored brick, with bizaro modern art out front. Some sad looking hops grow over the railings.
Within is a huge tasting room with a small stage and high ceiling. This would be a fun place to have an event! There is a nice stainless topped bar with two servers pouring off 4 taps each and bottled beer in the coolers behind the bar.
Tours happen nearly every day, with registration on line for guaranteed entrance, or you can risk it and just show up. The tour costs $7 and includes an 8-10 oz cup with 4 tokens. The tokens can be used for one fill off the taps, or use two for a bottle of beer. There is a small serving station located deeper in the brewery so you can refill about half way through the tour...a very nice touch! My wife and I tried a bottle of the Pumpkin beer which was pretty good, and a bottle of Fixed Gear hipster red ale which I really liked. There is a Northern Brewer homebrew kit for that one. I also tried the IPA which is more malty than hoppy, and much better fresh than in the bottle. The pilsner was so-so. I bought bombers of the Rendezvous Bier de Guard and Bridge Burner to take home. The tour itself was one of the most entertaining I've had in nearly 40 brewery tours. Our guide, Josh, was incredibly energetic and funny, making the tour group really take part in the adventure. He made a ton of Doctor Who and other Sci-Fi/gamer references that I think only Sj and I laughed at. We got what you were laying down, Josh!
At the end of the tour you exchange your hopefully empty glass for a Lakefront pint glass, or $2 off other swag you want to buy. I bought a Boot and a sign because I'm a sucker for merch. They also give a 10% discount for AHA members!
Overall the beers are decent, but not my favorite in the world. The tour, though, is worth the trip and you WILL have a good time!