Lakefront Brewery – Milwaukee, WI

Lakefront Brewery's Tank Room

Lakefront Brewery's Tank Room

So here’s the setup.  For the last two Octobers, around my birthday, my wife and I have quietly celebrated the occasion out of town.  However, Minneapolis presents its own geographical difficulties for a quick weekend on the road.  To the North, the only major city is Duluth, and since I don’t smoke meth it is not the most appealing destination.  Heading West or South, I would have to go as far as Seattle or Kansas City, respectively.  Not really realistic.  So my only option for maximum vacation/minimum travel time is East.  The choices to the East are: Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee.  Madison is smaller than Saint Paul, and from what I’ve gathered is a “college town.”  I’m fine with that, but I’m getting a little old for the scene.  Chicago is a minimum six hour drive.  Minimum.  Anyone who tells you less is either lying, terrible at basic math or takes a route that includes one of our country’s “imaginary time zones.”  Not to say I don’t enjoy Chicago, but everything is talked up so much it gets hard to discern the true gems of the city.

This is where Milwaukee comes in.  You can drive it in about five hours and afford to stay in town.  From downtown, you can walk to lots of bars, and let’s face it, drinking on vacation is awesome.  Plus, Wisconsin’s alcohol serving laws puts the responsibility on the patron, not the bartender, so unless you’re being a big asshole, it is unlikely you will not be served.  Plus, Milwaukee has a proud brewing history that includes Miller, Pabst and Schlitz, so one can reasonably assume they know their beer.  In the 1980’s as American beer tastes became more refined, so did the beer industry in Milwaukee.  Microbreweries and brew-pubs sprang up, and while I don’t think anybody can claim that one region has captured craft brewing more than another, Milwaukee does it pretty well.  So on our last outing, with my wife’s new found love of the brew, we picked a brewery to tour.

Enter Lakefront Brewery.

Anyone who’s been on a brewery tour knows the standard routine:

Here’s how they do it at Lakefront:

Let’s take a minute break down the key differences.  You get to start drinking right away.  The faux beer snobs will pretend they care about the brewing process, but that’s not why we go on brewery tours.  It’s to get beer.  At Lakefront, they’re generous with the pours, give away branded merchandise (because things with logos are advertisements), and then give you a coupon to be redeemed for a pint at one of a dozen or so local bars.  Nothing like Applebee’s either, but real bars.  The whole environment of the tour is relaxed and informal, but the quality of the beer brings in people who I don’t imagine sitting around drinking whole cases of Keystone Light in one sitting.  Although the brewery operation itself has only been around since 1987, it does sit in an old power plant, which adds a historic feel to the tour.  Plus, if you’re as dedicated about drinking beer as I am, you can walk to the brewery from downtown (a taxi probably would be perfectly reasonable as well I imagine).

So on top of all these awesome facts about their tour, the beer is good too.  Their varieties include ales, a pale ale, an IPA, lagers, some seasonal brews and even a gluten free beer.  My personal favorite is the Fuel Cafe coffee stout, but that could just be my love of mixing uppers and downers.  To me, if you have an afternoon to kill in Milwaukee, pencil in Lakefront Brewery.  They give daily tours, multiple tours on weekends and do schedule some evening tours.  At $6 it might seem on the steep side for a brewery tour, but take my word for it, it’s worth every cent.

Lakefront Brewery

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Posted on June 27, 2009 at 09:32 by socketeer · Permalink
In: Drinking · Tagged with: , , ,

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