Breweries & Brewpubs

Say Milwaukee, and most people think "beer." Beer built the city, starting with the founding of Miller Brewing Company in 1855. Brewery barons built the mansions and vintage downtown buildings that frame the city's atmosphere. So it's fitting that microbreweries are leading the revival of Milwaukee's downtown. After many of the city's most famous beer labels—Schlitz, Pabst, and Blatz, to name a few—shut down their Milwaukee breweries, a bit of a beer void opened up.

In 1985, a west-coast transplant opened Sprecher Brewing Co., the city's first microbrewery. With Sprecher going strong as a regional brand, the door was opened for a late-20th-century beer blast. Milwaukee pubs proudly serve up lagers, stouts, and other specialty beers made locally by Lakefront Brewery (www.lakefrontbrewery.com), Leinenkeugel's (www.leinies.com), and Sprecher(www.sprecherbrewery.com).

Brewpubs are also now well established in downtown Milwaukee. Among the most popular with local beer aficionados: Water St. Brewery (202 N. Water St., www.waterstreetbrewery.com), Rock Bottom Brewery (740 N. Plankinton Ave., www.rockbottom.com), Milwaukee Ale House (233 N. Water St., www.ale-house.com), and Stout Bros. Public Ale House (777 N. Water St., www.stoutbros.com).

The beer gardens of Summerfest are a terrific place to sample these and other local brews. Nondrinking companions might want to take a taste tour of Sprecher's own special sodas, especially its root beer.

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