Beer Me! Milwaukee Craft Breweries You Need to Visit (ASAP)


In case I haven’t made it obvious enough in all my other blog posts...I LOVE Milwaukee, especially my home neighborhood of Walker’s Point. And while Milwaukee has many awesome qualities, one of the best is the expansive craft beer scene!


From hilarious brewery tours (lookin’ at you, Lakefront Brewery) to traditional indoor/outdoor German beer halls to small underground taprooms----Milwaukee’s got a beer AND a brewery for everyone!


And me, well, I just love fun beer. I like trying new ambers, fruit sours/gose, dessert-like stouts (my fave)--I’m a happy girl in a city like Milwaukee, because there’s a different craft brewery (each with their 10-20 own unique beers) on every corner!


Unfortunately, on my 2021 quest to find better gut health, I’m trying some food elimination plans to identify culprits of my chronic bloating and digestive discomfort--beer is on that list. So for the next 1-2 months, I won’t be drinking any beer :( So as I sit here and miss it, what better time to share my fave local brewery recommendations??


I haven’t made it to EVERY brewery in Milwaukee’s Third Ward + Walker’s Point neighborhoods, but here’s the top 5 I've visited this year!


Broken Bat Brewery

Neighborhood = Walker’s Point

Favorite Beers = Bermuda Triangle (maple porter), Ump Show (blueberry kettle sour)


Baseball fans, this one’s for you! With a huge assortment of classic bobbleheads, baseball memorabilia lining the walls, and most (if not all) baseball-themed beer names, Broken Bat's taproom (which sits in a perfect location between the Walker’s Point and Third Ward neighborhoods) is a baseball lover’s dream.


While I’m not a huge baseball junkie myself, I do love the casual vibe and openness of their taproom, and the fact that it’s dog-friendly! They also have a massive indoor wiffleball court that hosts leagues and private events, and an expansive outdoor parking lot filled with picnic tables--and last autumn, the patio included pumpkins!! They’ve hosted outdoor patio events with fun special beer releases, so be sure to follow them on Instagram or Facebook!


I generally like Broken Bat’s beer options because their standard tap lineup has a few, easy-drinking staples--like the Golden Sombrero (a pilsner)--as well as some thicker, deeper-flavored sweet brews (again, my fave!)--like the beloved Straight Chedd (apricot pale ale) and Yabo! (a Cracker Jack-flavored caramel stout). They’ve got your standard range of IPA options too, from hazy to milkshakes. Plus, invite your non-beer-drinking friends, because they brew their own peach-flavored hard seltzer, and I love it!



Overall, it’s a great taproom experience (inside or outside!), I like their standard beer options, and they’ve had at least one new beer for me to try in their tap lineup every time I’ve visited.


Mobcraft

Neighborhood = Walker’s Point

Favorite Beer = Vanilla Wafer Porter (a porter), Moo-waukee (milk stout)


Mobcraft’s brewing concept is super cool and unique. They call it Crowdsourced Beer, and it means anyone--and I mean anyone, you don’t have to be a homebrewer or beer expert!--can submit an idea for a new craft beer flavor. Mobcraft then posts the ideas on their website, and beer fans vote for which they’d like to see by placing pre-orders for their chosen beer. Whichever beer idea gets the most orders is brewed and made available for pickup at the brewery! They do this a couple times per year, and any REALLY popular recipes end up joining their standard lineup of brews.


What do I LOVE about Mobcraft? 1) The flavors are WACKY, and super fun to try (which means I’m always ordering a flight!). One time, they had a mushroom and tomato ale--it wasn’t my fave, but where else do you see that?? 2) Their tap lineup seems to rotate faster than any other brewery in the area. There’s always something new to try, and I’m someone who loves variety! 3) They’ve got great gluten-free and non-beer options, like their craft hard seltzer and cider. 4) Their taproom has big garage doors that open to a big, picnic-table filled patio, and it’s always filled with cute dogs!


What don’t I love about Mobcraft? A LOT of their beers are super high in ABV. They’ve only got a few options lighter than 6% ABV (and quite a few are in the 8-12% range), and if I’m just looking for a casual beer or two, I usually don’t want something that heavy--especially if I’m looking to try multiple different beers when I stop! It’s also harder for someone like Christian who doesn’t like flights--he doesn’t like hopping back and forth between different flavors--because he’ll sometimes sample a unique/heavy beer and like it but get sick of it half-way through the 12- or 16-ounce pour. I just think they could use some more traditional-tasting sippers in their always-available lineup.



But again, those are just personal preferences--MobCraft is definitely worth checking out, and often, because they’ve always got something new and fun on tap!


Explorium Brewpub

Neighborhood = Third Ward

Favorite Beer = I’ll Trade Ya PB&J Tart (a sour), Coffee/Vanilla Brown Ale, Bog Stompin’ Cranberry & Lavender Gose (a sour)


This might just be my favorite brewery in the neighborhood--and that’s a big statement to make with how many breweries there are here (and with how much I like beer…). I might be biased because they also have GREAT food, but the combo of their beautiful, rustic indoor/outdoor taproom with their unique beer lineup is just tough to beat.


They’ve got two locations, one in Greenfield, WI and the other near downtown Milwaukee in the Third Ward. Their Milwaukee location is in an old repurposed factory with exposed brick, high ceilings, iron chandeliers, and lots of windows, so they play right into the rustic-chic (and totally charming) trend. They’ve got a big wrap-around bar inside (with plenty of TVs for sports-watchers) surrounded by big tables and booths for diners, plus a really cool semi-open-air alleyway bar space and an outdoor fire pit seating area, which makes Explorium good for either a date night or for getting a group of friends together!


Even better than the cute atmosphere, though, is the beer! Y’all know by now that I’ve got a massive sweet-tooth. Well Explorium must know too, because their lineup always includes a few beers flavored like popular desserts--like the Key Lime Cheesecake, the Blueberry Cobbler, and the PB&J Tart (those are real flavors, and they’re legit--the PB&J tastes just like my mom used to make!).



But, they’ve got a great variety of light to dark--in both alcohol content and flavor--and some easy-drinking staples that are great for any occasion--like the Cream City Crusher (a golden ale) and the Kolsch. My point is that whether you’re looking to pack some unique flavors into a flight, or just want to stop for a great traditional pint of beer, Explorium’s got what you’re looking for.


Wizard Works Brewing

Neighborhood = Third Ward

Favorite Beer = Golden Butterfly Passionfruit Sour, Box Jumper (blonde ale)


Wizard Works’ taproom moved into the former home of Broken Bat Brewery--a small underground space on the poppin’ Buffalo Street in the Third Ward. But although the physical space is small, it’s packed with theme and charm! There’s magic-themed paraphernalia, but the real wizardry comes from the owner, Chris, who was tending bar when we stopped--he was a performing magician for 40 years (and a beer brewer for 35!), and he did a few really fun and impressive magic tricks for us!


Plus, he and the rest of the staff were so welcoming and friendly, and they were playing a hilarious YouTube stream of a really intensive marble competition--to sum up the experience, it felt like we were just hanging out at a good friend’s entertaining basement.


They’re a smaller operation with only about 10 beers, which makes sense given the limited space--but they’ve got good variety, from IPAs to sours, a blonde ale or 2, and some fuller-bodied options like the First Rabbit (an English porter) and Schatze! Oktoberfest (a traditional marzen). I really liked the Golden Butterfly Passionfruit Sour, and Zig Zag Lady, their blackberry-flavored hard seltzer!


Since I love to try flights at breweries--and 4 or 5 mini pours of craft beer can end up being a lot, in terms of ounces AND ABV!--I really liked that WW had some unique light/low-ABV options. They have two sour beers, both at 3.3%, and a Pale Ale (the Presto) at 4.3%. They’ve got a few heavier options, but despite having some decent flavor, the highest ABV on the tap list is 6.8%--and sometimes, especially in the summer, I’d rather have more light beers to try than the thick, high-alcohol barrel-aged stouts and porters that are so common of craft breweries nowadays!


Indeed

Neighborhood = Walker’s Point

Favorite Beer = Mexican Honey, Mexican Honey Light


Indeed is the definition of your casual neighborhood hangout spot for a beer with friends. It’s got a wide-open main taproom and semi-open-air back room, each filled with those big charming old-style wooden tables and big wooden chairs. Wood is definitely the theme here - they’ve got an ornate wood bar-top and back-back, wood-slat high ceilings, even old-style wood paneling on the walls. And really, that’s why I like Indeed--there’s no big “theme” here, they’re not trying to be something crazy or funky or upscale. There’s just a more casual, minimalist vibe in the atmosphere and decoration that makes it inviting to all, at any time and in any mood!

You'll also always find a group or two playing card games at one of the round tables, and there's a nice shuffleboard table for competitive beer-drinkers! They've added a good amount of barstools and high-top tables to their small street-side deck, too, so take your beer outside on those nice Milwaukee summer afternoons--just be ready for some street-traffic background noise.


And from the beer I’ve had there, they bring the same approach to their brewing--something for everyone! They’ve got a wide variety--from light-and-easy pilsners to some funky sours (like the Strawberry Fields) and hoppy pale ales (like the Flavorwave)--but they’ve also got some good, traditional-style beers for the less adventurous drinkers too.


Plus, they’ve got a hard kombucha and a non-alcoholic, CBD-infused seltzer! Overall, with their alcohol variety and laid-back atmosphere, Indeed is a great place to gather with a group of friends!


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Alright friends, best beer you've ever had and/or brewery you've ever been to....and GO!


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