Milwaukee was once known as the "beer capital of the world." And while the big names that made Milwaukee famous are now (mostly) a thing of the past, that doesn't mean that there aren't some awesome brews being produced in our town today. Take these brewery tours to find out for yourself!
Lakefront Brewery Tours
Touring the Lakefront Brewery is almost a right of passage for Eastsiders, and one that tends to get a lot of repeat customers. The tour starts and ends with tasting in the Brewery Palm Garden, and in between more tasting as you walk the converted riverfront industrial property to view the brewing operation, bottling area (plus an homage to "Laverne and Shirley," and more. After early tours (before 4 p.m.) visitors also get a ticket for a free beer at one of several local taverns.
When: Multiple tours (approximately every 30 minutes) from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Mondays - Thursdays; 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday, and 10:45 a.m. - 2:55 p.m. Saturdays
How much: $7
Miller Brewery Tours
The Miller Tour is a one-hour indoor/outdoor guided walking tour of Miller Valley, home to MillerCoors and more than 155 years of brewing history.
Tours includes quite a bit of history -- after all, Frederick Miller first set up shop at this location in 1855, as well as a look at how such an enormous-scale operation runs it's day-to-day operations today. Most memorable on this tour are the Miller Caves, 60 feet below ground level, that were created in 1849 to keep beer cool prior to distribution. After the tour, stop in the Miller Inn or Beer Garden for three complimentary beer samples (for those 21 and older, or course). Soft drinks are available for guests under 21 or upon request.
Where: 4251 W. State St., Milwaukee, WI 53208
When: Tour run every half hour 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Hours vary seasonally, call to verify times.
How much: Free
Contact: 414-931-BEER or 800-944-LITE
Milwaukee Brewing Company Tours
This brewery tour is the new kid on the block, and is of a style very different than the Miller experience. Many people are familiar with the Milwaukee Ale House on Water Street, but not many know about the tour of the brewery, about a mile south in Walker's Point, that supplies the Ale House's beer. This tour includes a plentiful supply of samples, including year-round and seasonal offerings.
Expect down-to-earth and passionate guides, plenty of beer, a free pint glass, and the chance to learn about the Milwaukee Brewing Company's mission of sustainable brewing.
Where: 613 S. Second St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
When: Tours occur on the half hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Fridays, and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays; Open House: 5 - 7 Saturday
How much: $10 for tours (includes beers and a pint glass) and Saturday evening open house
Sprecher Brewery Tours
The Sprecher tour in Glendale is another popular tour. Sprecher was early to the game of micro-brewing, having opened in 1985. The tour runs from the giftshop, through the aging cellar, bottling line and warehouse, to the brewhouse. Tours end with four samples of beer (choose from up to 20 beers on tap!), unlimited soda, and a commemorative glass.
Where: 701 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, WI 53209
When: 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Additional seasonal and holiday tours offered, call or visit website to check times.
How much: $5, $3 minors