Best Craft Breweries in Milwaukee: From a Local’s Perspective

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin earned the nickname “Brew City” nearly two centuries ago from the early beer barons who settled in the area. Names like Frederick Miller, Jacob Best, Captain Pabst, and Joseph Schlitz are revered in the city’s rich brewing heritage. 

Many of these macro breweries have survived by changing and creating new recipes to appeal to the masses. But for craft beer aficionados, many amazing Milwaukee breweries are carrying on the Brew City tradition. 

This list of the best breweries in Milwaukee will help you explore the amazing beers of Brew City. And for a full list of all of the Milwaukee breweries check out our Ultimate Guide to Milwaukee Breweries.

Happy tasting! Cheers!

The Best Craft Breweries in Milwaukee

With so many craft breweries in Milwaukee, where do you even start?

As a guy who enjoys pretty much every kind of beer (follow me on the Untappd app @CraigMKE), I’ll point you in the direction of my favorite places in town. I’ll also share some places that might be more up your alley than mine, based on their local popularity.

Lakefront Brewery

Since 1987, Lakefront Brewery has been a Milwaukee craft brewing icon delivering consistently delicious brews, and always has something for everyone. Their incredibly drinkable flagship, Riverwest Stein, can be found on tap at most bars in the city due to its enduring appeal.

But Lakefront Brewery is far from a one-trick pony. They offer an entire roster of year-round, seasonal, and limited-release beers in nearly every style imaginable, including two gluten-free beers so nobody feels left out.

The historic beer hall is second to none and offers a huge selection of taps, as well as dining (more on this later). From spring through fall they serve beer at the outdoor taps situated along the Milwaukee River to create the perfect atmosphere.

And if you’re up for an ultimate Milwaukee experience you can reserve the original Bernie Brewer chalet that adorned the outfield at Milwaukee County Stadium for a private dinner for two. 

The Bottom Line: Lakefront Brewery offers the most diverse and consistently drinkable beers in the city.


Related: Digital Map of Wisconsin Breweries

Eagle Park Brewing Company

A relative newcomer to the craft brewing scene in Milwaukee, Eagle Park Brewing Company has delivered some of the tastiest, most unique brews in the city. 

As beer trends come and go, craft breweries often diversify their offerings to include whatever is popular at the moment. The folks at Eagle Park doubled down and created an amazingly original array of hazy IPAs, milkshake IPAs, and hard seltzers to go along with more traditional styles.

There is no subtlety to the beers at Eagle Park – each one loaded with unmistakable flavors of fruit, hops, or even maple syrup. Even the hard seltzers blow your taste buds away, unlike the hints of flavor you get from sipping a La Croix.

At the Milwaukee location, there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. There’s even an additional bar housed in a former metal shipping container outside for when it gets really busy.

The Bottom Line: Always innovating and always pushing the limits of what beer is, Eagle Park is not to be missed if you’re up for trying something a little more in-your-face.

Good City Brewing

Sometimes you just have to go with what you know. And if you know you love hop-forward beers, then Good City Brewing should be on your shortlist.

While they do offer a variety of styles, their perfectly balanced double dry-hopped IPAs and pale ales are the clear go-to’s. Experimenting with aromas and mouthfeel by incorporating different hop combinations ensures that no two of their beers will taste the same to discerning hopheads.

Their two Milwaukee locations, while equally great, are quite different experiences. The East Side location is in a great area of town with lots of local restaurants and bars and offers plenty of indoor seating and a rooftop patio on weekends. Their immaculate newer location in the Deer District (as made famous by the 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks) is modern industrial with indoor and outdoor balcony seating.

The Bottom Line: If you’re a hop head, you will love sampling a large variety of hop-forward beers, each with its unique combination and balance.

Indeed Brewing Company

You may already be familiar with Indeed Brewing Company from their great lineup of beers coming out of Minneapolis, MN. At the pilot brewhouse and taproom in Milwaukee, you’re going to find the Indeed beers you’re familiar with, as well as ones that can only be found here.

Used as a smaller-scale testing ground for beer innovation, Milwaukeeans are happy to be used as the guinea pigs. You’ll find an ever-changing selection of styles ranging from refreshing low alcohol radlers to big filling pastry stouts.

Another wonderful part of this pilot tap house is that they’ll use Wisconsin products to create some interesting newcomers, including a wood-aged red ale using cherries from Door County, WI. Seltzers and a hard kombucha are offered for our gluten-free friends.

The large indoor taproom can accommodate larger groups if needed and includes a back room where the doors can be opened to feel like you’re outside. There are a few outdoor tables in front just off the street but arrive on a busier weekend to head to the amazing rooftop seating area.

The Bottom Line: If you’re coming in a larger group whose tastes in beer run the gamut, there’s going to be something for the adventurers as well as more traditionalists.

Company Brewing

If you’re up for exploring a more diverse, offbeat neighborhood brewery in Milwaukee, then Company Brewing in the Riverwest neighborhood is right up your alley.

After several failed attempts to develop a brewery in this location, the folks at Company found their niche by creating a diverse roster of highly drinkable beers. Whether it’s a sour fruited gose or an imperial oatmeal milk stout, you’re always going to get a solid offering.

While they might not always have a ton of new and experimental beers on tap, their lineup is solid. For more discerning beer enthusiasts, you can be sure that their styles and descriptions are going to match your expectations.

Their large indoor taproom has lots of seating, and there’s a stage for an occasional concert or show. The adjoining outdoor courtyard is huge and has a huge projector screen for broadcasting the big game.

The Bottom Line: Company Brewing is an above-average brewery with a decent variety of beers. If you’re willing to go a little out of your way to this funky, communal neighborhood, you’ll immediately sense the welcoming camaraderie and feel at home.

City Lights Brewing Company

To get a little glimpse into some Milwaukee history, and enjoy some tasty brews, it’s worth going out of your way to visit City Lights Brewing Company.

Nestled in the industry-laden Menomonee River Valley, the brewery moved into a one-of-a-kind building. Constructed in 1902 for the Milwaukee Gas Light Company, its purpose was to facilitate the coal gasification process for the iconic Milwaukee street lamps.

But don’t just go for the Milwaukee history lesson – the beers are great as well. Their flagship Coconut Porter is just as palatable in the heat of the summer months as well as the cold Milwaukee winters. 

The rest of their lineup of beer style standards is equally as solid and ranges from a Hazy IPA to a Mexican Lager. Unique to the area, City Lights’ gluten-free contribution is a variety of sparkling hard teas. 

While the taproom isn’t enormous, it’s worth checking out for the beautiful restoration they’ve done inside this historical gem. The outdoor patio space is large and is adjacent to the Menomonee River.

The Bottom Line: Come for this little slice of Milwaukee history, and stay for the above-average lineup of traditional beers and fruity and refreshing sparkling hard teas.

Milwaukee Brewing Company

With a focus on sourcing only the best local ingredients for their beers, Milwaukee Brewing Company is about as Milwaukee as you’ll get when it comes to craft breweries.

Many of their beers offer a slightly off-kilter take on traditional styles to create something all their own. Whether you’re trying the flagship hoppy amber, Louie’s Demise, or their tea-infused O-Gii Imperial Wit, there’s an interesting surprise with every sip.

But if you’re more of a beer purist, don’t let this stop you from making a trip to one of their two Milwaukee locations to try a pint. There are lagers, cream ales, and IPAs that veer towards more traditional, and their beers are remarkably well-balanced.

The main brewery and taproom are located near the Deer District and features a brand new taproom and immense outdoor patio space. The MKE Ale House located in the Historic Third Ward is great for watching the game indoors, but the outdoor space overlooking the Milwaukee River is not to be missed.

The Bottom Line: Offering a lineup of both traditional styles and traditional styles with an added twist, enjoying a fresh tap beer outside at the Third Ward location is a Milwaukee summertime staple.

Third Space Brewing

There’s no glitz, there’s no gimmick, and there’s nothing but a great lineup of consistently good beers at Third Space Brewing. Even though many of their most popular beers are hop-forward, the array of offerings is vast.

Just minutes away from the vibrant Third Ward district, you’ll be glad you took the slight detour to sample their huge variety of beers and styles. Take it easy with a 5% ABV fruited sour or go big with a 12% ABV barrel-aged Russian imperial stout.

You know the brewery takes their beer, especially their IPAs, very seriously. Third Space plays host to the annual Wisconsin IPA Fest, where peers and ticket-holder votes determine who will win the crown for best IPA in all of Wisconsin.

And although their taproom is nice, the huge outdoor beer garden is an essential stop as the weather allows. Every day feels like a party out there with a fresh, cold tap beer in hand.

The Bottom Line: There are a lot of good beers here, and it’s a really fun place to hang out, especially outside in their massive beer garden. Unfortunately, as of this moment, they do not offer any gluten-free or beer alternative options. 

1840 Brewing Company

1840 Brewing Company may legitimately have some of the best beers in town. They offer a great mix of bottle-fermented extreme beers that push the limits of styles. But they also have 10 taps that lean a little more traditional, but so polished and palatable.

They describe themselves as an urban farmhouse brewery, which seems legit. They take the time and effort needed to concoct amazing beers instead of churning out a new one just to see what sticks.

Unfortunately, there is no outdoor seating – only a smaller indoor space with limited seating in the taproom in trendy Bay View.

The Bottom Line: The beers are all pretty amazing and delicious. Make this a stop on your beer tour, but go early as it gets pretty crowded with the limited space.

For more Milwaukee Content Check-Out:
The Ultimate Milwaukee Brewery Guide: List of Breweries with Interactive Map

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

For one reason or another, these Milwaukee breweries didn’t make my “best of” list. But they do deserve a mention and a visit if you’re going to be staying in Brew City for a while.

Supermoon Beer Company

The only reason Supermoon Beer Company is not on my “best of” list is that it’s rarely open. If you’re in town, check their website to see if you’re lucky enough to catch a bottle release or their occasional pop-up tap tastings.

The Bottom Line: Their rustic, funky, and barrel-aged beers provide huge depths of flavors while staying light and quaffable. You just have to be lucky enough to have the opportunity to try some.

Enlightened Brewing Company

While many Milwaukeeans are fans of Enlightened Brewing Company, in my opinion, the beers don’t quite match up to my “best of” list. However, the beers go down easy, and they have a huge taproom and some patio space.

The Bottom Line: There’s nothing exceptional about the beers, but they do everything decently enough. It’s worth stopping if you’re wandering around the hip Bay View neighborhood and want a fresh, cold pint in an open and inviting taproom.

Black Husky Brewing

Another Milwaukee import, Black Husky Brewing expanded its market by moving here from Northern Wisconsin after it found success with its flagship Black Husky Pale Ale. This is another place to stop when in the eccentric Riverwest Neighborhood for a decent beer. 

The Bottom Line: Their hop-centric offerings are pretty good and worth a try, while everything else is pretty good, but unexceptional. The outdoor space is small, but both the outdoor and indoor spaces are dog-friendly.

Mobcraft Brewery

One of the first crowdsourced breweries in the United States, Mobcraft Brewery creates a new beer every month based on the flavors that received the most votes from its patrons. They also create a bevy of unique beers on their own – some of which can get pretty wild. They do have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and typically a large tap list.

The Bottom Line: Most of the beers on tap are created with the intention of pushing the envelope a little or a lot. And while I feel they are quite interesting and fun to try, I have not found any to be exceptional.

Now It’s Your Turn to Try Some Milwaukee Beers

Milwaukee has a rich history of breweries, and we’ve highlighted 9 that are currently excelling with a few honorable mentions. 

From small-batch beers to unique brewing methods, these places offer something for everyone in the city who loves good craft brews. Which brewery from our list is your favorite? Let us know why by leaving a comment down below!

More Wisconsin Beer Content:
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Wisconsin Brewery Map

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