Photo: ale_asylum

The 10 Best Breweries in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Student Work Insider Guides Food + Drink
by Samantha Bilkey Jun 6, 2016

1. Urban Harvest Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI

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Urban Harvest didn’t officially open until June 2016, but it’s pretty much become Milwaukee’s new favorite place. You can find it in the Walker’s Point neighborhood in a building that has exposed brick walls and pipes on the inside and even an old theater behind the lounge. Favorites currently include the crisp and light Wicket Wheat, the slightly hoppy Black Puppy Pale Ale, and the rich Espresso Amber. If you’re lucky, the staff will bring around their secret brew that isn’t on the menu: a three-year-aged chocolate vanilla Irish whiskey stout.

2. 3 Sheeps, Sheboygan, WI

If you ever head to the Bratwurst Capital of the World — which really is Sheboygan, WI — you have to stop at 3 Sheeps. Their public taproom just opened in April 2016, and they’re working on a new beer that will only be available in Sheboygan County. Go for the Baaad Boy (black wheat ale), Hello, My Name is Joe (coffee ale), and Ewephoria (ginger and chocolate stout, seasonal).

3. Ale Asylum, Madison, WI

This one’s a favorite of University of Wisconsin students. They’re known for pure, honest brews fermented ‘in sanity’ — meaning their beers are brewed with no preservatives of any kind. You can stop by on Sundays for a $5 tour with other visiting inmates and get a pint and/or samplings. If you’re going to check them out during the summer, make sure to get a pint of Tripel Nova, which is a crisp and seasonal Belgian tripel that’s only available in the Ale Asylum Tasting Room, nowhere else.

4. Sand Creek Brewing Company, Black River Falls, WI

Sand Creek Brewing Company is located in the western half of the state. It’s a famous microbrewery that’s actually one of the state’s largest brewers. If you’re going through the Beer Advocate list, you really can’t miss this one — their brewmaster has won first place three times at the World Beer Cup. Be sure to try the cranberry special ale because besides beer, Wisconsin is also known for being cranberry country.

5. Pearl Street Brewery, La Crosse, WI

Cheers to being the final 2 left in Lax

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Established in 1999, Pearl Street Brewery started out as a pretty famous place in La Crosse, WI, and now they’re located on Saint Andrew Street. They’ve always maintained a great community vibe, and not only is every beer highlighted on their website, but every member of their staff as well. Get a pint of their signature namesake brew, the Pearl Street Ale, and stay for the live music every Friday night in their tasting room.

6. Rustic Road Brewing Company, Kenosha, WI

Unfortunately, Kenosha isn’t too high on the Wisconsin tourism attractions list, but Rustic Road, the city’s oldest microbrewery, is definitely worth a day trip from Chicago. They pride themselves on taking just a few specialties on at a time. The menu changes weekly and that smaller space allows them to experiment and focus on select flavors. You can always check their current menu online beforehand. If you live near the area, you might want to join their Travelers Club, which gets you your own mug to use in their tasting room, happy hour prices on draft beer, and a free drink on your birthday.

7. New Glarus, New Glarus, WI

Any Wisconsinite knows how valuable a bottle of New Glarus is. It’s sold exclusively in Wisconsin, so a tour of this famous brewery is like getting access to a secret club. By far everyone’s favorite brew is Spotted Cow, an appropriate name coming from the Dairy State. Like they say, if you’re drinking Spotted Cow you know you’re in Wisconsin. They’ve got a tasting room where you can have some samples, and you’re also free to take a self-guided tour through their brewery.

8. Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI

You cannot come to #milwaukee without going to a #brewerytour #lakefrontbrewery #lakefront

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Evan, Terrance, and Dan: not only are these the names of Lakefront’s staff in Milwaukee, WI, they’re also the names of some personally brewed beers in Lakefront’s My Turn series. Besides showing off their staff’s brewing talents, Lakefront is well-known for its variety of ales and lagers, from the year-round Riverwest Stein to the seasonal favorite Wisconsinite. It’s safe to say that Lakefront might be the most popular for brewery tours in Milwaukee, so this is definitely worth a couple hours and a couple drinks during your visit.

9. O’so Brewing Company, Plover, WI

Tuppens Demise and Project Lo. Second stop on the beer tour. . . . #brew #beer #oso #wisconsin #craftbeer #beerporn

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Regarded as the most “Wisconsin” Wisconsin brewery by, O’so is pretty kick ass. Obviously try their ‘Big O’ here, but on any given day they also have 40 beers on tap. And you might never drink the same one twice because they’re updating the menu weekly. Brewery tours are held on Saturdays and all proceeds are donated to a different specified charity each month.

10. Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI

I can’t really end this list without mentioning the famous Miller name. From popular brews like Miller Lite or Genuine Draft to the lesser-known beers like Mickey’s and Olde English, there really is something here for all kinds. Tours include the outdoor Miller Valley area and a history of the founder Frederick Miller. And the coolest part? Miller beer today is still made with the same strain of yeast that Freddy brought from Germany in 1855. So even though they’ve gotten pretty big, it’s still a pretty cool brewery.

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