Sunday, November 29, 2015

Have a Sip: Three of Milwaukee's Lesser-known Brewery & Winery Tours

As winter approaches, we Wisconsinites are always looking for fun things to do on the weekends that are, well, warm.  A brewery tour or winery tour is a great way to spend the day (you probably have some in your area that you visit).  While you may be familiar with the bigger Milwaukee brewery tours, such as Miller and Pabst, there are many smaller ones to visit.  Here are 3 of them:

You may or may not be familiar with Sprecher.  They were founded in 1985, and are described as the area's first craft brewery since Prohibition.  Located on the north-side suburb of Glendale, their tour consists of a talk about the different ingredients that make up beer, and it's difference from other malt beverages, then a tour of the plant including the bottling and shipping areas, seen below.

At the end of the tour, patrons over 21 can sample up to 20 different beers in a, in my opinion, very large shot glass.  Or, if you don't like beer or are under 21, you can sample up to 10 of their flavored sodas.  You can also buy beverages along with shirts, bottle openers, and even frozen pizzas, in their gift shop.

 2) Cedar Creek Winery

Cedarburg is a gorgeous smallish city north of Milwaukee that is a great place to visit any time of year.  But during the holidays, it's decked out liked a country Christmas card.  On the north side of Washington Street, Cedarburg's main street, is the Cedar Creek Winery and Shops, which holds a lengthy tour daily.  You start off by watching a video on the history of the winery, then get a tour of the antique equipment they used to use to make their wine, and the casks used to store the wine and other mulled beverages, such as cider, seen below.

Their wine casks are huge, and kept in their limestone-walled cellar, ideal for fermenting and aging their wines to perfection.

When my friends and I visited last year, the tour guide said the casks were large enough that a tall man could stand upright in them, so one of the visitors had to try it:

3) Milwaukee Brewing Company

This brewery tour is by far my favorite of the ones I've done so far.  The brewery is located on the south side of Milwaukee, on 2nd Street, and you can tell the tour guides have a lot of fun and are passionate about their product.  They crack a lot of jokes, engage with the visitors, and contribute a lot to the relaxed atmosphere brewery tours should have.  Head brewer Robert Morton studied at the Culinary Institute of the Arts in New York, and infused their beer with different flavor combinations, usually in seasonal varieties. 

The brewers even add fun to the machinery they use:

The brewery holds a 5:00 PM "Open House" on Saturdays, where visitors can sample seasonal beers and socialize with patrons as well as the brewers themselves.
In addition to these three breweries/wineries, you can find other tours here.