Brewery Travels #37: Milwaukee (The Newbies)

If you have followed my journeys, you probably know that my wife and I are back living in Milwaukee, which is where we moved to prior to her working as a travel nurse. And if you go back to my early articles, some of them were discussing the numerous breweries here in my city. Of course, during the year we were living in other places around the country, many new breweries sprung up! While we do not boast the sheer numbers of places like San Diego, Portland, or Denver, I love the growing craft beer scene here in the city that has such a rich brewing history. One note: I visited these breweries this past summer after we returned home, and my beer notes are from my initial stops. Let’s take a look at four of the newbies that call Brew City home:

  1. 1840 Brewing
  2. Vennture Brewing
  3. Gathering Place Brewing
  4. Component Brewing


There is history behind the name of 1840. According to their site, 1840 was the first year of commercial brewing in Milwaukee. Not only are they one of the newer breweries in the area, they are also one of the most unique. They focus on “slow beers”, using different aging and blending techniques for their releases. What made them truly stand out were their business hours during their first year of operation. Only open one weekend a month, there would be two days for members, or “VIPs”, and two days for the general public. Thankfully, they have expanded to being open each weekend, which is a good thing since they are concocting so many delicious beers! The taproom is fairly laid back, and you can see all the barrels taking up space (sorry my panorama picture got a little messed up). I dug that they had many of their previous beer release bottles on display behind the bar area.

So, they have different releases each month, and sometimes even more often than that. Usually two or three beers are selected for bottle and tap releases. Which means if you visit once and come back again in a couple months (or even weeks) the taplist will be completely different. I was there for their 1-year anniversary, and tried three different beers. First was New New IPA. Bold, flavorful, this one was a delight. Tangerine and plum are certainly there, and what they referred to as notes of rainbow sherbet. Second was Equilibrium, a Coffee Cream Ale. Very smooth and creamy (of course) with the coffee flavors coming courtesy of Milwaukee’s own Pilcrow Coffee. Finally, I capped off my visit with Sumerian Origin Rose, a Sour Wheat Ale fermented in a cabernet barrel with pinot noir juice. If that sounds complex, that’s because it is. Several wine-forward elements with this one. 

1840 makes some of the best beer in the city in my opinion. This isn’t a place you can pop into and choose from 15 taps, but what is there is high quality. I for one am glad that they no longer limit us to a couple days a month!


Ok, I really like Vennture. What other brewery opens its doors at 5am every single day? That may sound odd, or even crazy, but there’s a reason for that. Vennture is also a coffee shop! That’s right, you can stop in for your caffeine fix before work, and then again after to enjoy a beer. It’s the only place in the area like it. They just opened this past summer, but I felt that when I visited they already had a good grasp on all the beers. The taproom has more of a coffee shop feel, just with a tiled bar added. This is a place that you can feel comfortable bringing your laptop to do work (I saw two people doing just that), or enjoy a drink with friends.

I essentially had a three-way tie for my favorite, but gave the nod to Critical Adjustment w/coffee. This Tropical Stout brings together a lot. Not only does it have the typical stout characteristics along with the coffee, but also notes of dates and a slight sweetness. A more hoppy option, 52nd ST is a NEIPA. Hoppy may not actually be the best description though, as tangerine and mango lead a tropical charge on your senses. My thirst for sours was quenched by the tart Bruv, a to-style, no-frills Berliner Weisse. My fourth option was a Saison with a nice light funk called Throw Parties. While it lagged behind the other three in my book, it was by no means a poor beer, I still enjoyed it!

In today’s crazy craft beer culture, sticking out can be tough. But Vennture does just that, as distinctive business hours, the split-focus on beer and coffee, and the light, airy taproom help differentiate them from all other Milwaukee-area breweries!

Gathering Place

If you do some research through their website and elsewhere online, you can figure out why it’s called Gathering Place. The name Milwaukee has its origins from the native Potawatomi, with the meaning of “Gathering Place by the water”. They opened shortly after we left on our traveling adventure, so I was excited to check them out once we returned. The taproom is one of my favorites in Milwaukee. You walk in under steel arches and are greeted by a large space with the brewery open to the right. Their logo, which you can see above, is also top notch. As someone who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management, I also love what they are doing on the community engagement side. Besides donating a portion of their overall sales to local nonprofits, they are now doing a promotion on Thursdays where a local nonprofit receives $1 for every beer sold!

Gathering Place makes several beer styles that you don’t see often, at least around here. German styles, such as Kolsch, Altbier, and Schwarbier are especially present. Une Petite Priere, a White Wine Barrel-aged Saison that was a special release for their 1-year anniversary party, blew me away. A slight sour/funk met you right away, but digging deeper revealed pear, pepper, and some earthy qualities. Two others I liked were Prenzlauer, the extremely light-bodied Berliner Weisse (comes in at 3.4%), and Lille Bjorn, an approachable, yet sneakily complex Norwegian Table Beer with juniper berries and orange peel. This is also the first brewery where I tried a Brut IPA. Dry Debate taught me that it is not a style I care for (I have since tried others in the same style and had the same reaction). 

Gathering Place’s location on the northern edge of the Riverwest neighborhood is helping to push forward brewery growth on the northern side of the city. That, and the interesting beers that it offers has lead to multiple return visits from myself!


Component is located in what could be known as “The Brewery Incubator of Milwaukee”. If you read my earlier article that discussed Eagle Park Brewing, you may recognize this space. And that is because it is one in the same! When Eagle Park moved to the former Like Minds location on the Lower East Side, a trio of cousins decided to jump at the opportunity to bring more beer to Milwaukee. Before Eagle Park, Enlightened Brewing originally called this space up in the Lincoln Warehouse home before moving to a larger facility next door, meaning Component is the third brewery to utilize the setup since 2013. This location is unique, in that you enter the warehouse through a nondescript door (although Component does a better job with their signage than Eagle Park did), before walking up a few flights of stairs and down a hallway to the small taproom.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed several beers here! Two in particular were winners, Rose’s Sour and Hazy Pineapple IPA. The former is a kettle sour with raspberry and mango, although I found the raspberry to be more dominant in that pair (much to my liking). Meanwhile, the latter is fairly self-explanatory, but this hazy brew had a nice soft, sweet nose before a more juicy, fruit-forward focus on the tongue. I indulged myself and also had a second sour, Alphabetical Order, a Gose. A nice, balanced salinity was the name of the game, as well as some subtle hints of pink guava. Coffee, No Coffee is an Imperial Stout, coming in at 9% ABV. Although it does lean fairly boozy, it seemed to be more approachable as it warmed and the coffee was more understated until the aftertaste.

If Component can follow in the footsteps of both its predecessors, Milwaukee should be excited about its future. While this particular location is not ideal, clearly it has grown a reputation for budding breweries!


Milwaukee is lucky. We continue to welcome new breweries that are doing excellent work. I already know of at least 4-5 more breweries that are either getting their start here, or are coming from somewhere else and putting in a new brewery and/or taproom in the upcoming months! For the most part, all these new breweries have something that is different from what else is being offered. It does make sense that we have a growing beer scene, after all, our professional baseball team is called the Brewers..

Next Article

I’ve got some more breweries to write about from the Twin Cities, the Dakotas, Las Vegas, and Chicago, but first I need to discuss some of my favorites from Iowa. I’ve been to quite a few across the northern and eastern parts of the states, so I’ll select four to highlight!

Current Brewery Count

433 breweries across 187 cities in 37 states. These numbers are current as of 2/9/19. For an up-to-date count, and to follow where I go, check out my social media accounts!

Instagram: @brewery_travels

Twitter: @brewerytravels

Joel Geier

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