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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

Water Street Brewery a Modern-Day Classic

Fine pub fare, house-crafted beers among highlights

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Brewery pubs were a new concept when the Water Street Brewery opened in 1987. The idea proved to be a good one, and today the original Water Street Brewery is joined by locations in Delafield and Grafton.

The Water Street original remains a classic. In the vestibule you can view gleaming copper brewing tanks. Walk a few steps farther and you will find a classic blue-and-white tile Schlitz Brewing Co. advertising sign. Only a few of these remain on their original buildings. Brewery memorabilia is everywhere, including beer cans and tap handles—all of it from Wisconsin breweries. For this reason, among others, Water Street Brewery is a very good place to take out-of-town beer drinkers. All of the dining areas have framed prints of historic Milwaukee views, and even the newsprint menu offers bits of local history. The current issue takes a look at the Water Street Brewery's building.

Casual wood tables offer niceties like cut flowers in Grolsch bottles. The menu is eclectic, with pizzas, salads, sandwiches and entrees. A "Green Sheet" insert offers pricier entrees—steaks, salmon and barbecue ribs. Other items follow the local beer and brats tradition. The smoked sausage platter ($9.95) is a pair of Usinger's sausages—beef and kielbasa—served with red cabbage and buttery spaetzle. Dark mustard comes on the side.

The Water Street hot bacon salad ($8.95) is a Milwaukee classic with sweet-and-sour dressing and plenty of pieces of crisp bacon and crumbled egg. It becomes an entrée with the addition of boiled potato and grilled chicken breast.

Most of the other items move beyond Milwaukee. The jambalaya ($11.95) is said to be from Paul Prudhomme's original recipe. This is a meaty version with abundant pieces of andouille, ham and chicken. The rice has that necessary dash of hot pepper flavor. The dish comes with delicious corn fritters. A side salad is also included.

In addition to entrees like filet mignon ($24.95) and rib-eye steak ($25.95), there is a grilled flat iron steak ($15.95). This dish features tender slices of beef properly cooked to order and served over a heap of Monterey Jack mashed potatoes. Caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms top the meat, and below everything is a red wine demi-glace. Soup or salad is included for this price, making it a fine value.

Save room for a beer or two. There are seven options served year round, including Water Street amber, raspberry weiss and Munich lager. Seasonal beers include Irish stout and Belgian-style peach lambic—very ambitious offerings. Those who prefer Bud Light or MGD 64 will also find these available.

The main menu is nearly the same at all three locations, though the "Green Sheet" specials may vary. Now in its 25th year, the Water Street Brewery continues to offer fine pub fare along with house-crafted beers and a generous dash of local history. It's a modern-day Milwaukee classic.

Water Street Brewery

1101 N. Water St.

(414) 272-1195

$$

Credit Cards: All Major

Handicap accessible

www.waterstreetbrewery.com

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