48 Hours in Brew City: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted on May 22, 2016

The Historic Pabst Brewery

If it’s summer, visit Milwaukee. If it’s winter, plan your summer trip to Milwaukee. Yes, Milwaukee, aka Brew City, may not offer the warmest climate, but it will surprise you with its youth, energy and hipness. We have friends; a couple of them live in Milwaukee, so we visit on occasion. If you go, and you should go, here’s what to do.

1. The Historic Pabst Brewery

Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery

Drinking beer, of course, makes the list—several times. Maybe it would anywhere we travel, but Milwaukee is a brewery town with authentic beer tradition. Any visit should include a pilgrimage to the Historic Pabst Brewery. At Best Place (yes, it’s called that), a weathered but wise barkeep will pour you a frosty pint and regale you with tales of yesteryear.

2. The Bay View Neighborhood


Milwaukee sits along the pristine waters of Lake Michigan. In the summer, the lake provides many recreational activities, but the fun stretches year round in the Bay View neighborhood. This residential area of well-kept single-family dwellings has a genuine sense of community and an eclectic, trendy vibe. Within steps of each other, you will find dive bars, soccer pubs, and high-class drinking establishments. Try Sugar Maple, which offers a marvelous assortment of craft beers on tap. Likewise, Café Centraal serves an indulgent Rosemary Goat Cheese Mac. And, Honeypie. Sweet heavens, Honeypie. Get the pie. All the pie. Their pork tenderloin, pictured above, deserves accolades as well.


3. Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.

Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.

For what it’s worth, and it’s worth a lot, this place brews the single most enjoyable cup of drip coffee that we remember tasting. Their Walker’s Point Roastery location is spacious and welcoming. A solid place to relax or work, it also makes a damn fine venue for special events like the wedding we attended there.

4. Historic Third Ward

Other than eating and drinking, we didn’t do any research for this article. We don’t know what makes the Third Ward historically significant. It’s an old warehouse district that now houses fancy shops, restaurants and bars. There, you’ll find the Milwaukee Public Market. Within the Milwaukee Public Market, you’ll find West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shop. At West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shop, you’ll find out-of-this-world freshly fried cheese curds. Grab several bags, and stuff your pockets with them.

5. Lake Front Brewery

Lake Front Brewery

After you’ve visited the Historic Pabst Brewery, you can flash forward into the modern age of craft beer at Lake Front Brewery. It offers a solid tour. For $10, you get shown around, a souvenir pint glass, and four drink tokens. If you drink through your tokens, never fear; you can use currency to acquire more beer. Unsurprisingly, we enjoyed everything that we tasted, but we felt particularly fondly of Fixed Gear American Red IPA.

6. Great Lakes Distillery

If you tire of beer, then you’re not fit for this world—at least this city. But, if you simply enjoy a little variety in your imbibing, then Great Lakes Distillery can help. They make good gin.

Great Lakes Distillery

7. Café Benelux

Café Benelux

For every sunset, there is a sunrise. So poetic. But, what in the hell are we talking about? Hangovers. When you go to Milwaukee and do what you should do, what you must do, in Milwaukee, you likely will wake up feeling less than perfect. Your head may ache. Your stomach may grumble. Hangovers suck. The best way to cope, we find, is to eat something fried and delicious. Oh how Café Benelux saved us. This fried chicken with a cheddar chive biscuit brought us back from the brink. It restored our hope.

Café Benelux

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