We went to a party and a brewery tour broke out. Well, not exactly, but that is what it felt like. The Milwaukee Brewing Company is located south of downtown in Walker’s Point. The brewery started as the Milwaukee Ale House brewpub, but demand grew so much, they had to move the brewing to a dedicated facility. (The Ale House is still open and serves great food as well as great beer.) The building does not look like much on the outside, and if you did not know it was there, you would walk right past. We almost did. There is an unmarked door that leads to a warehouse filled with people talking, laughing and drinking craft beer. During the summer, the large garage doors are thrown open to welcome passersby and the warm weather in.
Brewery tours are offered at 5pm and 6pm on Friday and at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm on Saturday. Reservations are not accepted, so show up about 30 minutes before. The cost is $7 and for that you get a pint glass and “beer samples.” What that translates to is “all you want.” The brewery is not that big, and from any one point on the tour you can where you have been and where you are going. Despite the small size, the tour took an hour. The guides are funny and are there to have a good time (your good time is a happy side effect), but not as polished as those at Lakefront Brewery or Sprecher Brewery.
The tour takes you through the brew house and bottling areas. Much of the equipment they use came from the old Pabst Brewery, and it is now being put to use making craft beer. The unique thing about this tour is the wort sample you can try. Wort is the result of heating barley and water. It is an uncarbonated, non-alcoholic and hop-free beverage that smells exactly like Grape-Nuts. It is not bad it all, and seems kind of healthy. We called it Root Marm, which seemed very funny after the all of the “beer samples” we had.
When the tour was over, we sat at the tables and finished our beer. We were lucky enough to be accompanied by one of the brewers, Kurt, who filled us in on all the minutia that is brewing craft beer. The most interesting thing I learned from Kurt? The brewery is in the process of rebranding and one of their beers will be called “Polish Moon.” Also, many of the computers connected to the brewing equipment we saw on the tour do not even work-most of the equipment is run pneumatically.
Friday Tours are at 4pm, 5pm & 6pm, Saturday Tours are at 2pm, 3pm & 4pm 5pm – 7pm is an open house. They do add extra tours on the half hour if things get too busy. Get there at half hour early – you can have a pint (or two) before the tour to get you in the proper frame of mind. Be sure to try Louie’s Demise and the Pull Chain Pale Ale. When you are finished and looking for a bite to eat, consider Braise or Transfer Pizza, both of which are just a stone’s throw from the brewery.
Fun, raucous brewery tour – especially fun to do with a group.