Image inside of a brewery tasting room

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

By: Craig

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Want to know the best Milwaukee breweries to check out while visiting Milwaukee?

Then you’ve come to the right post.

Why? Because I’m a beer-loving Milwaukean who loves to spend some of my free time sampling beers from Milwaukee’s breweries. I’ve lived in Milwaukee for 20 years and have loved watching (and participating in) the evolution of the Milwaukee beer scene.

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 almost 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

Image of Lakefront Brewery Beer Hall on a Friday Night fish Fry. Crowded with people holding beers and waiting for a table
Photo Courtesy of 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 and dining (more on this later). From spring through fall, they serve beer at their newly renovated patio situated along the Milwaukee River to create the perfect atmosphere.

Lakefront Brewery is also one of the few breweries in Milwaukee that still do tours. And it’s one of the best brewery tours in the city.

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 city’s most diverse and consistently drinkable beers.

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 city’s tastiest, most unique brews. 

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 Eagle Park beers- each 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 outside a former metal shipping container for when it gets really busy.

The Bottom Line: Always innovating and 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.

Supermoon Beer Company

With the addition of a taproom, Supermoon Beer Company has become one of the top breweries in Milwaukee.

Supermoon is a small family-owned brewery located in the Bay View neighborhood. They brew their beers in what used to be a basement/garage of a multi-unit house. And their taproom is located upstairs in one of the renovated apartments.

Their rustic, funky, and barrel-aged beers provide huge depths of flavors while staying light and quaffable. The beers are always interesting and provide a great subject for in-depth beer discussions.

With their limited releases, you will find something new and interesting whenever you visit the brewery.

Good City Brewing

Sometimes, you 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 offer various 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 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 interesting newcomers, including a wood-aged red ale using Door County, WI cherries. Seltzers and 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 and also an amazing rooftop seating area across the street called UpTop in the warmer months.

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

Central Waters Brewing Company

Another Milwaukee satellite brewery, Central Waters Brewing Company, comes to us from rural Amherst, Wisconsin. Dropping by their historic Brewery District location in an old church on the former Pabst campus is a must for any beer enthusiast. And if you are in the area, check out one of our favorite tours in Milwaukee at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery.

Similar to Indeed Brewing Company, Central Waters has a dedicated Milwaukee brew house focused on creating exclusive local offerings that are often innovative but always interesting. Of course, their flagships and many Amherst location exports are available as well, creating a diverse lineup of beer styles suitable for any palate.

Beer lovers with a “go big or go home” mentality will swoon with delight over the Brewer’s Reserve and bourbon barrel-aged stouts that are highly sought after. Clocking in anywhere from 11 to nearly 20% ABV, Central Waters creates flavorful, balanced, and boozy beers perfect for sipping on a chilly Milwaukee evening.

The historic taproom is large yet cozy, with plenty of room at the wraparound bar and many tables. The private balcony and outdoor beer garden can be rented for private group events. And if you’re hungry, do not pass up Troublemakers Cocina’s flavor-forward take on Mexican cuisine. Some of the best “fancy” tacos in the city.

The bottom line: The diverse beer list and historic locale will please any crowd, but the big beers are where it’s at for those feeling a little more adventurous.

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 Brewing found their niche by creating a diverse roster of highly drinkable beers. You’ll always get a solid offering, whether a sour fruited gose or an imperial oatmeal milk stout.

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 will 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.

Third Space Brewing

There’s no glitz, no gimmick, and 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 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:
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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.

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, 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 have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and 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.

City Lights Brewing Company

To get a 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 also great. 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 lineup of traditional beers and fruity and refreshing sparkling hard teas.

Now It’s Your Turn to Try Some Milwaukee Beers

Milwaukee has a rich history of breweries, and we’ve highlighted nine 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!

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