Whenever L&A goes to a city, we head for their art museum and brewery. To my knowledge, these do not exist as a single entity, but if anyone knows of one, please let us know. Milwaukee is a city with a museum and several breweries, so we went for a day trip.
This former industrial powerhouse has been struggling to find an identity like many other rust belt cities. Gone are most of the major breweries once synonymous with the city, and the only macrobrewery left is owned by a foreign concern. But a new crop of breweries like Sprecher, Lakefront and Milwaukee Brewing Company have risen to fill the void, making better beer than their predecessors. Just a couple of minutes by freeway from downtown is the northern suburb of Glendale and the Sprecher Brewery. The brewery is located in an older suburban neighborhood and parking is available on the street. Reservations are required for the tour, so call ahead to ensure a spot. We arrived15 minutes before the tour began and paid our $5 fee. The Brewery tour began in the gift shop and our guide, Ryan, took us through the brew house and bottling room, explaining each step of the brewing process along the way. We learned that Sprecher puts honey in all of their beers. MMM. The 45-minute tour ended in a large indoor beer garden where our fee bought us four 8-oz sample glasses of the beers of our choice.
Next, a must for Kindra: the Milwaukee Art Museum. Located on the lakefront downtown, museum got a much-needed boost with the addition of the Quadracci Pavilion. This expansion, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, has dramatically changed the lakefront landscape and has reignited interest in art. The highlights there during our visit were Stanley Landsman’s walk-in Infinity Chamber and the Summer of China special exhibit.
From there, we headed downtown walked along the river. The completion of Milwaukee RiverWalk has increased foot traffic in the downtown, allowing restaurants and shops to flourish. This wildly successful public works project has revitalized the area, due in no small part to the Bronze Fonz. Henry Winkler, who played Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on Happy Days, is immortalized in bronze-Heeyy!
Around the corner from Fonzie is a Milwaukee institution; just don’t tell anybody about it. Safehouse is a restaurant-bar that has been providing a place for secret agents to cool their heels for over 40 years. Check out the telephone closet that provides an alibi and try to figure out the moving puzzle along the dining room wall.
The Milwaukee Art Museum is located just off the freeway on the lake shore. Parking is available under the museum at airport prices. It is open 10-5 daily, and stays open until 8pm on Thursday. Cost is $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and free for kids under 12.
Sprecher Brewery runs tours daily at 4pm, though check the website for exact times. Reservations are required for the tour, so call them at 414-964-2739 to reserve your spot. Cost is $5, reward is four 8-oz glasses of Glendale’s finest beer.
Safehouse is located at 779 N. Front St. Look for the “International Exports, Ltd” sign. Reservations are recommended and can be made via their website.
The Milwaukee Art Museum is a beautiful building holding an impressive collection.
Milwaukee may have lost most of its old breweries, but was that beer really that good? Sprecher makes a great beer and gives a great tour.
Safehouse is a perfect place for a meal or a drink for the spy in all of us.