Welcome back to the Walker’s Point neighborhood on the Southside of Milwaukee! Remember how I said there were eight breweries in this area? Well, there are actually currently nine. Eagle Park Brewing was a tricky place to find, but with their addition, we will be discussing five breweries today! So buckle up, here we go:
- MobCraft Brewing
- Milwaukee Brewing Co.
- Third Space Brewing
- City Lights Brewing Co.
- Eagle Park Brewing
Oh man, do I sure love MobCraft. They have one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) beer menus. Before we plunge into the beer itself, first we have to discuss what makes MobCraft unique. At MobCraft, they crowd-source some of their beers to decide what to brew. How does this work? Well, on their website, you can submit ideas. These can range from a simple sentence such as: “I want a beer that tastes like _______”, all the way up to full blown recipes. Once these ideas are put up for ‘vote’, you can go online and pre-order the beer. Whichever beer gets the most ‘votes’ win. This happens each month, and the winner is actually made!
If that wasn’t cool enough, their beer is delicious. As in, I’ve enjoyed basically every beer I’ve sampled there, and I’ve downed quite a few. Of their flagships, Bat$h!t Crazy, a coffee brown ale, is my favorite. The coffee flavor hits you just right after an initial sweetness, and you can even get this at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers! I’ll be honest, another reason why I love the menu at MobCraft is because of sours. They got sours, and each one is exquisite. From Night Creature, a sour dark ale, to Existence, a sour ale that comes in a cornucopia of flavors (original, cranberry, raspberry, and I believe Cherry), there is something for everyone who enjoys a lovely pucker while drinking. I could go on about several other offerings they have, but I’ll have to cap it there.
The taproom is nice and spacious with ample seating, albeit nothing fancy or striking. There are multiple glass garage doors that open up to a simple patio when the weather is nice, and the menu board above the bar is bright, colorful, and ever-changing. MobCraft is one of those breweries that you can go back to again and again thanks to the unique brews and rapidly modified menu.
Almost 20 years ago, Milwaukee Brewing Company brewed their first beer. Since then, they have become one of the larger craft breweries in the area. The Milwaukee Ale House, located in the Historic Third Ward downtown, is the best place to go to sample all their beers. While they do still brew some beer at the Ale house, their larger facility is located in the Walker’s Point neighborhood. Tours are offered each weekend, and while you can of course sample beer while attending a tour, there is not an actually taproom at this facility.
My personal favorite brew is Weekend at Louie’s, an amber ale brewed with tea. This is an easy drinker, with delicious flavors coming from Hibiscus Tea. Another great option is the Sheepshead Stout. They release different flavored stouts, all stemming from the base Sheepshead, which has lovely notes of chocolate and coffee. If something lighter is your desire, you cannot go wrong with Outboard, Milwaukee’s take on the popular cream ale. For IPA enthusiasts, I would recommend either Hop Happy, a full-bodied IPA, or Hop Freak, a double IPA infused with organic Jasmine Tea.
The Ale House is a beautiful place to enjoy a drink, and the back deck that overlooks the Milwaukee River provides delightful views during the summer months. Beer options are plentiful, and whether you decide to take a tour at the Walker’s Point facility, or go to the Ale House, you will find something to enjoy from Milwaukee Brewing Company! Oh, the Ale House serves some bomb food too.
Founded by Milwaukee natives, Third Space has quickly emerged as a brewery to watch. RateBeer named them the best new brewer in the state of Wisconsin during their 2016 awards. The brewery is in an odd neighborhood, not much else is present, but they make up for it. A large taproom with plenty of exposed brick shares the industrial-like building with the brewery, and outside is a dog and kid friendly beer garden. The website says to watch for food trucks in the future as well.
Of course, what Third Space is known for is its beer. There were several delectable options, starting with Unite the Clans, a Scottish Rye Ale, which has a nice complexity of malty and toasty flavors, with hints of toffee and spice. Another unique option is Java Blanca, which is a Coffee Cream Ale. Not surprisingly, Java Blanca, which looks like a cream ale, not a coffee ale, has a significant coffee aroma, which leads to creamy and faint coffee notes in the finish. Other beers of note are Acres Edge, the Toasted Oatmeal Stout, and Liquid Layers, a spiced Barley Wine that includes cinnamon and all spice.
Third Space has rushed onto the craft beer scene, and while they mainly have made a name for themselves in the Milwaukee area, I will not be surprised if they expand their fan base in the near future.
City Lights have one of the coolest ‘building back-stories’ that I have came across. Commissioned in 1903, the building was used by the Milwaukee Gas Light Company for coal gasification, which lit street lamps in the city. Now, the building serves as a brewery, which can be seen through large windows behind the bar in the taproom. Located not too far from Third Space, there is not much else going on in the immediate vicinity, but they are becoming a destination spot on their own.
When I visited, there were only four City Lights beers on tap, an Amber Ale, a Brown Ale, a Session IPA, and an IPA. And those were the names of the beers as well, straight forward and simple. Unsurprisingly, the Brown Ale was my favorite, but all four were fine options. There were no tricks or crazy flavor notes, just well craft beers that represented each style well. Since my visit a couple months ago, they have expanded the menu to include a Double IPA, and a Coconut Porter. The Coconut Porter certainly has me intrigued.
A laid back atmosphere in a historic building make City Lights a must-stop for beer fans in Milwaukee. And although they started with the basics, it appears they are expanding their menu and adventuring into more extreme flavor profiles.
Eagle Park is the Where’s Waldo of Milwaukee breweries. The only reason I found out they existed is from searching for breweries on Google maps. They are literally next door to Enlightened Brewing (who we talked about last article), but you need to know what you’re looking for before going. I did, and still had trouble finding the place. Located on the 2nd floor of a warehouse, you have to be buzzed in through a door. There are no signs indicating the taproom is there, besides the small sticker on the ‘buzz box’. Check their website before you go to ensure you know where to go!
After winding down the hallway, you stumble into the taproom, which was actually fairly packed when I visited. Another surprise is the extensive beer menu. With 10 options, you are sure to find a brew that catches your eye. I generally enjoy Saisons, and Horizon Glow, Eagle Park’s tasty take, is a great example of the style. The Oatmeal Brown Ale and Line Check Porter are both solid options, but have slightly higher ABVs than other similar beers you would find at other breweries. Unfortunately, I only sampled those three while visiting, so a second trip may be necessary.
While it is difficult to find, the taproom is a lively location, with a nice mix of couches and bar seating. And it is also easy to walk back downstairs and over to Enlightened Brewing!
So clearly, the Southside of Milwaukee is a great place to go brewery hopping. While hitting nine breweries in one go might be a bit extreme, the diversity they offer will sure to leave any visitor with a plethora of options to explore.
While we still have many more breweries to review in the Greater Milwaukee Area and other parts of Wisconsin, we are going to take a little detour over to the Twin Cities! We will hit an array of breweries, with each one providing a unique experience! Make sure to follow my travels on twitter: @brewerytravels.