616 W. Virginia St.
Great Lakes Distillery began producing its award-winning Rehorst
Premium Milwaukee Vodka in 2006, it was the first Wisconsin distillery
to open its doors since Prohibition. Visitors who take the free
45-minute tour of the company’s Menomonee River Valley distillery learn
how Great Lakes produces citrus and honey-flavored vodka, gin,
absinthe, pumpkin seasonal spirit and grappa, a brandy made from the
solid remains of the winemaking process. The welcoming craft distillery
has a comfortable tasting room in which to sample the goods, as well as
a gift shop with spirits and souvenirs. (Sarah Biondich)
1872 N. Commerce St.
Russ and Jim Klisch started brewing beer as a hobby, but Lakefront
Brewery Inc. has grown into a full-fledged brewery. Located in the
building that housed the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co.,
Lakefront Brewery crafts a wide selection of local brews. The brewery
tours offer a chance to sample classic and new beers—not to mention a
lesson in brewing. The Lakefront Palm Garden restaurant also offers one
of the city’s best Friday fish fries. (Emilee Weier)
Miller Brewery Tour
4251 W. State St.
as far from a microbrewery as you can get, the Miller Brewery Tour
exhibits beer making and distribution at the global level. Requisite
for first-time visitors, the Miller Brewery Tour begins with a
multimedia show at the Visitor Center on State Street, followed by a
walking tour of the mammoth production facilities. It’s a truly
fascinating story that follows the evolution of Frederick Miller’s
small Plank Road Brewery into the behemoth of today. The tour concludes
in a Bavarian-style rathskeller where samples of the product are
provided to those over 21 years of age. (Brian Muilenburg)
701 W. Glendale Ave.
Sprecher offers the city’s most family-friendly brewery tour, since beer samples wait until after the tour and the brewery provides kids (as well as adults) unlimited samples of its eight gourmet sodas. They even host occasional soda-only tours. Regular tours route through the brewery’s aging cellar, bottling line and warehouse, and include four beer samples and a souvenir tasting glass afterward—a bargain at just $4 per person, and even less for seniors, children and veterans. (Evan Rytlewski)
Photo: Miller Brewery | by Betsy Hern