My Birthday Beer in Milwaukee

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I want to start this one out by mentioning it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted. I started a new job, went through moving, and have had a lot on my plate during the last few weeks. I’ve always told myself that no matter how hard I work, I should keep my hobbies, even if it’s just a few hours a week. I’ve done a pretty terrible job of keeping a good balance this month. I visited Milwaukee Brewing Company on June 1st – and I’m never waiting this long to write about good beer again.

Milwaukee Brewing Company was great. You shouldn’t need to worry about making reservations because they only allow half of their tour to be reserved, and allow the other half to be walk ins so that they can promote a culture where if someone decides they want access to good beer . It’s one thing have a good beer – but it’s another to have a company that values making sure as many people as possible can have access to it.

Milwaukee Brewing Company is a great spot to visit in the summer. It has an open garage style front you can walk right in – and there’s ice cream right down the street for after your tour. You’ll walk in, check in or sign up, and continue to the bar, where you get one full glass of beer, and then a series of “half pours” after the first one – and they really more like ¾ pours. You can start drinking a half hour before your tour – and stick around for a half hour after to sample whatever beer you want to drink.

I started out with Hop Happy IPA. It was a light weight, and straight up traditional tasting minty hoppy beer. If you like IPA, you’ll like it. If you don’t know what a well-made, standard IPA is, try this; it’s how it’s supposed to taste. It’s a winner. I tasted this beer in a bar full of what was clearly a group of great summer- loving folks who clearly came on bicycles and didn’t take the time to take their bike helmets off during the tour. The first few minutes at MKE Brewing were all around entertaining.

I had the chance to fill up before my tour group got called over to start the tour – it was Pull Chain. It’s ridiculously hoppy and mildly coarse, but light enough to have more than one, great for hop lovers looking for a smooth drink. If you get it in house, you’ll get fresh ground cascade hops on top.

When you start your tour – you’re going to get to watch a nice video about the history of Milwaukee Brewing Company and Milwaukee Ale House. If you go in the middle of the day – your tour guide will probably have had a beer or two; ours was drinking Jasmine IPA from his coffee mug – and that’s what I tried next.  The Jasmine IPA has a light aroma scent with a strong creative hop mixture as the flavor. It’s medium weight – and tolerable in the heat until you realize it’s at 6.6 ABV. This one is absolutely stronger than it tastes.

After filling up – we got back to learning about beer, and some fun facts about Milwaukee Brewing Company. We learned about how much solar power they use to power their company – and how they’re one of the most environmentally friendly breweries in the region. You’ll also hear some fun facts about the history of beer, including some anecdotes about trade routes to India from Europe and the fermentation process for international history buffs.

If you’re like me, this is the point in the tour when you’re participating, asking questions, and making sure everyone knows that you’re the expert in the crowd. Naturally, I thought that meant it was time for me to use my ticket for an extra strong beer – and I tried the O-Gii. If you like farmhouse ale, you’ll like this sweeter, stronger, more well aged version of it that gives it a unique twist of American and Belgian style flavor. This beer is deceptively light for an over 9.0 ABV – so don’t drink it too fast.

The last beer I tried on my way out was Louie’s Demise. It’s great amber ale that adds a non- traditional hint of sweetness – making for a more drinkable, flavorful beer. This one really has a balance that’s missed too often by brew masters looking to make good amber.

On your way out, you should be sure to take a look at all of the art work and posters for the different kinds of beer they make, and ask about the ones you think are interesting. There are some awesome stories behind the names of beer at this place.

Overall this place is a must attend if you’re in Milwaukee. The staff is friendly (they all wore Christmas ties with their shirts that day), the beer selection strikes a great balance between classic and creative, and the crowd will always be a ton of fun.

Check Out More Information on Milwaukee Brewing Company (& some other great spots I visited) here:

MKE Brewing: mkebrewing.com, @MKEbrewco

Bel Air Cantina (this is where I had dinner the night before my tour – great choice, great tacos): http://belaircantina.com/, @BelAirCantina

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