Wisconsin is a state known for its cheese, bratwurst, and beer. The state has a rich brewing history with German immigrants bringing their brewing traditions to the state in the mid-1800s. Today, Wisconsin is home to over 200 breweries, making it a beer lover’s paradise.
If you’re planning a trip to Wisconsin and are looking for the best breweries to visit, you’re in luck. From small-town microbreweries to large-scale operations, Wisconsin has something for everyone. Milwaukee, also known as the “Brew City,” is home to over 70 craft breweries, making it a great destination for beer enthusiasts. However, there are plenty of other cities and towns throughout the state that offer unique and delicious brews.
Overview of Wisconsin Breweries
Wisconsin is known for its rich brewing history and is home to some of the best breweries in America. The state has a long-standing tradition of brewing beer, and its breweries have consistently produced high-quality craft beer for decades. With over 200 breweries, Wisconsin has one of the highest concentrations of breweries per capita in the country.
The state’s breweries range from small microbreweries to large craft breweries, and they produce a wide variety of beer styles. Many of Wisconsin’s breweries are local, family-owned businesses that are deeply rooted in their communities. These breweries often use locally sourced ingredients to produce unique and flavorful beers.
The beer market in Wisconsin is highly competitive, and the breweries have to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. This has led to an explosion of new and exciting beer styles in recent years, including hazy IPAs, sour beers, and barrel-aged stouts.
Craft breweries in Wisconsin have also been instrumental in promoting beer tourism in the state. Many breweries offer tours and tastings, which has turned beer-making and brewery hopping into a popular tourist attraction in its own right.
Popular Breweries in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is home to some of the best breweries in the United States, and it’s no surprise that beer lovers from all over the country flock to the state to taste some of the best brews. Here are some of the most popular breweries in Wisconsin that have gained a reputation for their unique flavors and high-quality beer.
Lakefront Brewery, located in Milwaukee, is one of the oldest and most popular breweries in Wisconsin. Founded in 1987 by brothers Russ and Jim Klisch, Lakefront Brewery is known for its award-winning beers, such as the Riverwest Stein Amber Lager and the Eastside Dark Lager. The brewery offers tours and tastings, where visitors can learn about the brewing process and sample some of their delicious beers.
Address: 1872 N Commerce St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, United States
Tyranena Brewing Company
Located in Lake Mills, Tyranena Brewing Company is a small brewery that has gained a big reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 1999 by Rob Larson, Tyranena Brewing Company has won numerous awards for its beers, including the Bitter Woman IPA and the Rocky’s Revenge Bourbon Brown Ale.
Address: 1025 Owen St, Lake Mills, WI 53551, United States
Central Waters Brewing Co
Central Waters Brewing Co., located in Amherst, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its high-quality beers. Founded in 1998 by Paul Graham and Anello Mollica, Central Waters Brewing Co. is known for its unique and flavorful beers, such as the Mudpuppy Porter and the Bourbon Barrel Stout.
Address: 351 Allen St, Amherst, WI 54406, United States
New Glarus Brewing Co
New Glarus Brewing Co. is a family-owned brewery located in New Glarus, Wisconsin. Founded in 1993 by Deb Carey, New Glarus Brewing Co is known for its unique and flavorful beers, such as the Spotted Cow and the Moon Man. The brewery offers tours and tastings, where visitors can learn about the brewing process and sample some of their delicious beers.
Address: 2400 WI-69, New Glarus, WI 53574, United States
3 Sheep’s Brewing
3 Sheeps Brewing, located in Sheboygan, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 2011 by Grant Pauly, 3 Sheeps Brewing is known for its innovative and creative beers, such as the Cashmere Hammer Nitro Stout and the Fresh Coast Juicy Pale Ale.
Address: 1837 North Ave, Sheboygan, WI 53083, United States
Wisconsin Brewing Co
Wisconsin Brewing Co., located in Verona, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its high-quality beers. Founded in 2013 by Carl Nolen and Kirby Nelson, Wisconsin Brewing Co. is known for its unique and flavorful beers, such as the Badger Club Amber and the Chocolate Lab Porter.
Address: 1079 American Way, Verona, WI 53593, United States
Lake Louie Brewing
Lake Louie Brewing, located in Arena, is a small brewery that has gained a big reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 2000 by Tom Porter, Lake Louie Brewing is known for its innovative and creative beers, such as the Warped Speed Scotch Ale and the Belgian-style Kiss the Lips.
Address: 1079 American Way, Verona, Wi 53593
Sand Creek Brewing Company
Sand Creek Brewing Company, located in Black River Falls, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its high-quality beers. Founded in 1999 by Marc and Katina Buttera, Sand Creek Brewing Company is known for its unique and flavorful beers, such as Oscar’s Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and the Wild Ride IPA.
Address: 320 Pierce St, Black River Falls, WI 54615, United States
O’So Brewing Company
O’So Brewing Company, located in Plover, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 2007 by Marc and Katina Buttera, O’So Brewing Company is known for its innovative and creative beers, such as the Hop Whoopin’ IPA and the Night Rain Baltic Porter.
Address: 1800 Plover Rd, Plover, WI 54467, United States
One Barrel Brewing Company
One Barrel Brewing Company, located in Madison, is a small brewery that has gained a big reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 2012 by Peter Gentry, One Barrel Brewing Company is known for its innovative and creative beers, such as the Penguin Pale Ale and the Banjo Cat Black IPA.
Address: 4633 Market St, Egg Harbor, WI 54209, United States
Capital Brewery, located in Middleton, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its high-quality beers. Founded in 1984 by Ed Janus and Maureen Murphy, Capital Brewery is known for its unique and flavorful beers, such as the Wisconsin Amber and the Island Wheat.
Address: 7734 Terrace Ave, Middleton, WI 53562, United States
Badger State Brewing
Badger State Brewing, located in Green Bay, is a craft brewery that has gained a reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 2013 by Andrew Fabry and Sam Yanda, Badger State Brewing is known for its innovative and creative beers, such as the Bunyan Badger Brown Ale and the Green Chop Session IPA.
Address: 990 Tony Canadeo Run, Green Bay, WI 54304, United States
Lazy Monk Brewing LLC
Lazy Monk Brewing LLC, located in Eau Claire, is a small brewery that has gained a big reputation for its unique and flavorful beers. Founded in 2011 by Paul and Teresa Hoffman
Address: 97 W Madison St, Eau Claire, WI 54702, United States
Wisconsin is home to some of the best breweries in the world, and what better way to experience them than through a brewery tour? Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or just looking for a fun activity to do with friends, there’s a brewery tour for everyone in Wisconsin.
One of the most popular brewery tours in Wisconsin is the New Glarus Brewing Company tour. Located in New Glarus, this brewery offers both self-guided and guided tours for visitors. During the tour, visitors can learn about the brewing process and sample some of the brewery’s most popular beers, including the famous Spotted Cow ale.
Another great brewery tour option is the Lakefront Brewery tour in Milwaukee. This tour takes visitors through the brewery’s historic building and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process. Visitors can also sample some of the brewery’s award-winning beers, including the popular Riverwest Stein.
For those looking for a unique brewery tour experience, the Sprecher Brewery tour in Glendale is a must-visit. This tour takes visitors through the brewery’s historic building and offers a glimpse into the world of craft soda brewing in addition to beer brewing. Visitors can sample a variety of Sprecher’s award-winning beers and sodas during the tour.
Other popular brewery tours in Wisconsin include the Capital Brewery tour in Middleton, the Central Waters Brewing Company tour in Amherst, and the Pearl Street Brewery tour in La Crosse. No matter which tour you choose, you’re sure to have a fun and educational experience while sampling some of the best beers Wisconsin has to offer.
Types of Beers in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is known for its diverse beer culture and has a wide variety of beers to offer. From IPAs to ales, chocolate to seasonal beers, the state has something for every beer lover. Here are some of the most popular types of beers in Wisconsin:
IPAs are a popular type of beer in Wisconsin, known for their hoppy and bitter taste. Some of the most highly rated IPAs in Wisconsin include Fixed Gear and Bridge Burner.
Ales are another popular type of beer in Wisconsin, known for their fruity and malty flavors. Some of the top-rated ales in the state include Rendezvous and 1845 Pils.
Chocolate beers are a unique type of beer that are brewed with chocolate and have a rich, chocolatey flavor. Some of the most highly rated chocolate beers in Wisconsin include MudPuppy Porter and Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale.
Wisconsin is known for its seasonal beers, which are brewed to reflect the changing seasons. Some popular seasonal beers in the state include Spotted Cow, Riverwest Stein, and Capital Oktoberfest.
Lagers are a type of beer that is brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast and are known for their crisp and clean taste. Some of the top-rated lagers in Wisconsin include Wisconsin Amber and Märzen-Oktoberfest.
Wisconsin is home to many craft breweries that produce unique and flavorful beers. Some of the top-rated craft breweries in the state include Sand Creek and Badger State Brewing Company.
For those who are gluten intolerant, Wisconsin has a variety of gluten-free beers to choose from. Some popular gluten-free beers in the state include Canned Cider and Wines.
One of the most important aspects of a brewery is its atmosphere. A great atmosphere can make a brewery stand out from the rest and keep customers coming back. Wisconsin has a variety of breweries with unique atmospheres.
Many breweries in Wisconsin have taprooms or tasting rooms where customers can try their beers. These rooms often have a relaxed and casual atmosphere, with comfortable seating and a friendly staff. Customers can enjoy their beers while chatting with friends or playing board games.
Some breweries also have beer gardens, which are outdoor areas where customers can enjoy their beers in the sunshine. These spaces often have picnic tables, umbrellas, and sometimes even live music.
For those looking for a more eventful experience, many Wisconsin breweries have event halls that can be rented out for private parties or events. These spaces often have a rustic feel and can accommodate large groups.
Sustainability and Local Ingredients
Wisconsin breweries are known for their commitment to sustainability and using locally sourced ingredients in their beers. Many of the state’s breweries have implemented sustainable practices in their production processes, such as reducing water usage, recycling spent grain, and using renewable energy sources.
One brewery that stands out for its sustainability efforts is the Milwaukee Brewing Company. The company has a strong commitment to sustainability, corporate ethics, and brewing craft. They use local ingredients whenever possible and partner with local suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint.
Another brewery that prioritizes sustainability is Central Waters Brewing Company. They have implemented a number of environmentally friendly practices, such as using solar power to generate electricity and recycling wastewater to irrigate their fields.
In addition to sustainability, many Wisconsin breweries also pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients in their beers. This not only supports local farmers and businesses but also ensures that the beer is fresh and unique to the region.
For example, 3 Sheeps Brewing Company in Sheboygan sources many of its ingredients from Wisconsin farmers, including hops, barley, and wheat. They also use local honey and fruit in some of their specialty beers, such as their Honey Blonde Ale and Fresh Coast Juicy Pale Ale.
Similarly, Badger State Brewing Company in Green Bay sources its hops from local farmers and uses Wisconsin-grown barley in all of its beers. They also partner with local businesses to create unique beer collaborations, such as their Green 19 IPA, which was brewed in collaboration with the Green Bay Packers.
Brewery Food Options
Wisconsin breweries offer a variety of food options to pair with their craft beers. From classic pub fare to gourmet dishes, there is something for everyone. Many breweries partner with local restaurants or food trucks to provide a unique dining experience. Here are some of the best brewery food options in Wisconsin:
- Karben4 Brewing in Madison offers a menu of elevated pub fare with options such as beer cheese soup, mac and cheese, and a variety of sandwiches.
- Good City Brewing in Milwaukee has a full-service kitchen with a menu that includes wood-fired pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. They also have a rooftop patio with stunning views of the city.
- 3 Sheeps Brewing in Sheboygan has a rotating selection of food trucks parked outside their taproom, offering a diverse range of cuisines.
- Badger State Brewing in Green Bay partners with local food trucks and restaurants to provide a variety of dining options. They also have a kitchen that serves pub favorites such as burgers and wings.
- Titletown Brewing Company in Green Bay has a full-service restaurant with a menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, and entrees such as steak and salmon.
In addition to these breweries, many others offer food options such as pretzels, cheese plates, and charcuterie boards. Some breweries also allow patrons to bring their own food or order delivery from local restaurants. Overall, Wisconsin breweries provide a unique dining experience that complements their delicious craft beers.
Additional Brewery Features
In addition to serving great beer, many breweries in Wisconsin offer unique features that make them stand out. Here are some additional brewery features to consider when planning your next brewery visit:
Many Wisconsin breweries welcome children and offer family-friendly features such as outdoor play areas and games. Examples of family-friendly breweries include Ale Asylum in Madison, which has a sand volleyball court and giant Jenga game, and The Brewing Projekt in Eau Claire, which has a playground and a kid-friendly menu.
If you’re traveling with your furry friend, you’ll be happy to know that many Wisconsin breweries allow dogs on their outdoor patios. Examples of dog-friendly breweries include Black Husky Brewing in Milwaukee, which even has a resident brewery dog named Howler, and Hop & Barrel Brewing in Hudson, which has a dog park adjacent to its patio.
For those who love both beer and coffee, several Wisconsin breweries offer coffee-infused beers. Examples include the Muddy Puppy Porter from Lake Louie Brewing in Arena, which is made with coffee beans from a local roaster, and the Coffee Amber Lager from Titletown Brewing in Green Bay, which is brewed with coffee from a local coffee shop.
If you prefer malty beers over hoppy ones, there are plenty of options in Wisconsin. Examples of breweries that specialize in malty beers include Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills, which is known for its rich and flavorful Scottish ales, and Central Waters Brewing in Amherst, which is known for its barrel-aged stouts.
Stadium District Breweries
If you’re in the mood for a beer before or after a game, check out the Stadium District in Milwaukee. This area is home to several breweries, including Third Space Brewing, which is just a few blocks from Miller Park, and Good City Brewing, which is near the Fiserv Forum.
Many Wisconsin breweries draw inspiration from the Midwest and its unique flavors. Examples include Karben4 Brewing in Madison, which brews a beer called “Fantasy Factory” that is inspired by the owner’s childhood love of comic books, and MobCraft Beer in Milwaukee, which allows customers to vote on which beers will be brewed next.
Several Wisconsin breweries prioritize giving back to their communities. Examples include Plover-based O’so Brewing, which hosts an annual charity golf tournament, and One Barrel Brewing in Madison, which donates a portion of its profits to local charities.
Wisconsin Beer Culture
Wisconsin has a rich beer culture that dates back to the 19th century when German immigrants settled in the state. Today, Wisconsin is home to over 200 breweries, producing a wide range of beers, from classic lagers to experimental sour ales.
One of the unique aspects of Wisconsin’s beer culture is the prevalence of the “supper club.” These are casual dining establishments that serve classic Wisconsin dishes like fried cheese curds and bratwurst, along with a selection of local beers. The supper club is a place where friends and family gather to enjoy good food and drink in a relaxed atmosphere.
Another important aspect of Wisconsin’s beer culture is the state’s love for outdoor activities. Many breweries have outdoor seating areas where visitors can enjoy a cold beer while taking in the natural beauty of the state. Some breweries even offer guided hikes and outdoor events, making the experience of drinking a beer in Wisconsin truly unique.
Wisconsin is also known for its beer festivals, which attract visitors from all over the country. The Great Taste of the Midwest, held annually in Madison, is one of the largest beer festivals in the Midwest, featuring over 150 breweries and over 1,000 different beers.
Wisconsin Brewery Awards
Wisconsin has a thriving craft beer scene, with over 200 breweries in the state. Many of these breweries have won awards and accolades for their exceptional brews. The following are some of the most notable Wisconsin brewery awards:
Great American Beer Festival
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world. Each year, thousands of breweries from across the United States compete in various categories for a chance to win a GABF medal.
Several Wisconsin breweries have won medals at the GABF, including:
- New Glarus Brewing Company
- Capital Brewery
- Ale Asylum
- Karben4 Brewing
- Lakefront Brewery
- Central Waters Brewing Company
These breweries have won medals in categories such as American-Style Sour Ale, German-Style Pilsener, and Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadrupel.
Wisconsin Brewers Guild Awards
The Wisconsin Brewers Guild Awards is an annual competition that recognizes the best beers brewed in Wisconsin. The competition is open to all breweries in the state, and winners are chosen by a panel of expert judges.
Some of the top breweries in Wisconsin have won awards at the Wisconsin Brewers Guild Awards, including:
- Lakefront Brewery
- New Glarus Brewing Company
- Ale Asylum
- Central Waters Brewing Company
- Karben4 Brewing
These breweries have won awards in categories such as Best IPA, Best Porter, and Best Belgian-Style Ale.
RateBeer Best Awards
The RateBeer Best Awards are an annual competition that recognizes the best beers and breweries from around the world. The awards are based on user reviews and ratings on the RateBeer website.
Several Wisconsin breweries have been recognized in the RateBeer Best Awards, including:
- New Glarus Brewing Company
- Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
- Central Waters Brewing Company
- Ale Asylum
- Karben4 Brewing
These breweries have been recognized in categories such as Best Brewery in Wisconsin, Best New Brewer in Wisconsin, and Best Beer in Wisconsin.
Overall, Wisconsin has a vibrant and thriving craft beer scene, with many exceptional breweries producing award-winning beers. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just looking for a great brew, Wisconsin is definitely worth a visit.