Top Picks: Discovering the Best Breweries in Wisconsin for Craft Beer Lovers

In search of the best breweries in Wisconsin? Whether you’re a resident or just passing through, we’re here to guide you to the top spots where craft beer culture thrives.

You’ll find no fluff here, just a straight shot to breweries that are local favorites for their quality, innovation, and authentic Wisconsin charm.

Key Takeaways

  • Wisconsin’s craft beer scene is booming with over 200 breweries, influenced by German heritage, and making a significant economic impact with job creation and international recognition for unique flavors.
  • Award-winning Wisconsin breweries like New Glarus and Central Waters offer immersive experiences, from tasting globally acclaimed beers to engaging in sustainable brewing practices.
  • Craft beer in Wisconsin isn’t just about the brews—expect unique brewery experiences like the world’s first crowdsourced brewery, Mobcraft, and breweries that pair great food with their craft beers, like Red Eye Brewing Company.

Exploring Wisconsin’s Craft Beer Scene

Wisconsin’s craft beer scene pays homage to the state’s rich brewing heritage while showcasing its vibrant present and promising future. Known for fusing traditional European brewing methods with local ingredients, Wisconsin breweries produce internationally acclaimed beers that continue to push the boundaries of flavors.

This thriving craft beer scene has given birth to over 200 fantastic breweries, contributing significantly to both the local economy and international beer culture.

However, the appeal goes beyond just the beer. These breweries have evolved into dynamic tourist destinations, offering:

  • Immersive brewery tours
  • Beer tastings that promise a full-fledged culinary and cultural journey
  • Open brewing areas to view
  • Live music to enjoy your favorite beer to the tune of
  • Fire pit evenings to bask in the warmth

Yes, all these and more await you in Wisconsin.

The Impact of German Heritage on Wisconsin Breweries

When German immigrants started arriving in Wisconsin in the 1830s, they brought with them brewing traditions and techniques that would significantly mold the state’s brewing culture.

Lager brewing techniques, in particular, became a staple in Wisconsin beer production, showcasing the deep influence of German heritage on the state’s breweries.

The enduring legacy of Wisconsin’s brewing roots, influenced by German traditions, can still be tasted in the beers today.

The Growth of Craft Breweries in Wisconsin

Craft breweries in Wisconsin have seen impressive growth, making a significant contribution to the $72.2 billion economic impact of the U.S. craft brewing industry as of 2022. By catering to consumer demands for diverse, high-quality beers, Wisconsin’s craft breweries have generated substantial economic value at local, state, and national levels.

This growth has also translated into job creation, with nearly 460,000 jobs across the country linked to the brewing industry, and almost 190,000 people directly employed in brewing and brewpub operations in Wisconsin alone.

The significant economic contribution and the wide variety of beers on offer highlight the central role of craft breweries in Wisconsin’s dynamic beer scene.

Award-Winning Breweries to Visit

Not only does Wisconsin boast a thriving craft beer scene, but it also serves as a hub for award-winning breweries recognized for their high-quality beers.

From the Gold-winning Belgian-Style Sour Ale, Vintage 2022 by New Glarus Brewing Co., to the Bronze-awarded Gluten-Free Beer, Ripped Jeans and Wolf Shirts by ALT Brew in Madison, Wisconsin breweries continue to shine on the global stage.

These award-winning breweries offer beer lovers an opportunity to savor beers recognized nationally and internationally for their excellence.

Whether you’re a seasoned craft beer enthusiast or a curious novice, these best craft breweries deserve a spot on your next trip itinerary.

New Glarus Brewing Company

Nestled in the village of New Glarus, New Glarus Brewing Company is one of Wisconsin’s most successful craft breweries and a must-visit destination for any beer enthusiast.

The brewery is known for its signature beer, Spotted Cow, a farmhouse ale that has become a beloved staple among locals and tourists alike. But that’s not all.

The brewery also offers Staghorn, an Oktoberfest-Märzen style lager with a rich copper appearance and a malty caramel flavor, exclusively sold in Wisconsin.

But the allure goes beyond just the beer. Visitors can embark on self-guided tours from Monday to Friday, soaking in the alpine look of the village’s historical buildings while savoring their favorite brews.

Central Waters Brewing Company

Central Waters Brewing Company is not only committed to brewing great beer but also to doing so sustainably. The brewery has implemented environmentally-friendly practices such as utilizing solar heat and water conservation in their operations.

They also innovate by using recycled grains during the brewing process, similar to the approach taken by One Barrel Brewing Company.

However, this focus on sustainability doesn’t compromise the taste. The signature beer at Central Waters Brewing Company is the Honey Blonde Ale, a delightful brew that showcases the brewery’s commitment to quality and environmental stewardship.

O’so Brewing Company

With two locations in Plover, O’so Brewing Company is a prominent fixture in Wisconsin’s craft beer landscape. The brewery offers a wide variety of beers on tap, each crafted with an unwavering commitment to quality and flavor.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional brews or eager to experiment with new flavors, O’so Brewing Company and Potosi Brewing Company have something to satisfy every palate.

Unique Brewery Experiences in Wisconsin

Apart from their award-winning brews, Wisconsin breweries provide unique experiences that turn each visit into an adventure. Some examples include:

  • Stepping into a baseball-themed brewpub at Broken Bat Brewing Company
  • Participating in the beer creation process at Mobcraft Beer, the world’s first crowdsourced brewery
  • Supporting community organizations and individuals through a pay-it-forward board at Swinging Bridge Brewing Company

These experiences add an extra level of enjoyment to your brewery visits in Wisconsin.

These breweries deliver more than a pint of beer, offering an engaging and memorable experience that stimulates all your senses, including the opportunity to taste unique barrel aged beers.

Broken Bat Brewing Company

In Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, you’ll find Broken Bat Brewing Company, a unique brewery that infuses a baseball-themed ambiance into the craft beer scene. The brewery offers:

  • an intimate look at the brewing process by providing visitor access to the brewhouse
  • a wide variety of craft beers, including IPAs, stouts, and lagers
  • a taproom with a cozy and welcoming atmosphere
  • a selection of baseball-themed merchandise, perfect for sports fans

The unique offerings at Broken Bat Brewing Company make it a must-visit destination for beer enthusiasts and baseball lovers alike.

Alongside their crafted beers, Broken Bat Brewing Company also diversifies its offerings with creative hard seltzers. So, whether you’re a baseball fan, a beer enthusiast, or both, Broken Bat Barrel Brewing Company is a home run.

Mobcraft Beer (Milwaukee)

If you’ve ever wanted to have a say in the beer you drink, Mobcraft Beer in Milwaukee is the place to be. Touted as the world’s first crowdsourced brewery, Mobcraft Beer embraces customer input in creating their beer recipes. Beer enthusiasts can submit their own ideas for brews, which are then put to a vote. The winning concepts are turned into actual products, resulting in a diverse and ever-changing lineup of unique beers.

From the gold-medal-winning Low pHunk Sour Ale to the fruity Squeezin Juice IPA, Mobcraft Beer offers a unique and innovative brewery experience you won’t want to miss.

Swinging Bridge Brewing Company

Located in the historic downtown of River Falls, Swinging Bridge Brewing Company offers a unique approach to community engagement. The brewery features a pay-it-forward board, allowing guests to purchase beers in advance for community organizations and deserving individuals. On top of that, they’re known for their rotating selection of beer flavors, ensuring visitors always have new tastes to explore.

So, whether you’re a beer connoisseur or a casual drinker, Swinging Bridge Brewing Company offers an experience that goes beyond the brew.

Breweries with Great Food Pairings

A great beer is made even better when paired with delicious food. Wisconsin breweries understand this, offering a variety of unique and diverse food options to enhance your drinking and dining experience. Some examples include:

  • Wild game dishes at Stone Arch Brewpub
  • Gooey pizza pairings at Thirsty Pagan Brewing
  • Craft beers designed to complement the menu at Red Eye Brewing Company, which includes unique items like the beer-infused Henny Penny with cranberry BBQ sauce.

There’s a multitude of culinary delights to explore in Wisconsin’s breweries.

These culinary offerings illustrate how breweries, including those with a beer garden, can serve as destinations for both beer enthusiasts and foodies, offering not only exceptional craft beers but also a complete gastronomical adventure.

Lakefront Brewery

Lakefront Brewery’s Beer Hall offers an experience that’s equally about the food and the beer. The brewery offers:

  • A daily dining menu with a variety of food items catering to various tastes, from the traditional to the innovative
  • Takeout seven days a week
  • Catering services for those who want to enjoy their meals elsewhere.

In the summer months, patrons can enjoy beer and food from the CurdWagon on the brewery’s patio. Whether you’re enjoying a meal on-site or taking it to go, Lakefront Brewery ensures that every bite is as enjoyable as every sip.

East Troy Brewery

East Troy Brewery takes the beer and food pairing game to the next level. The brewery dishes out an enticing array of appetizers, from loaded tater tot nachos to hand-battered cheese curds, all with their own unique sauces and toppings.

They also offer a rotating ‘Pizza of the Month’ and feature a classic Wisconsin Fish Fry every Friday, encompassing local culinary traditions.

The main courses round out the food offerings, with a variety of sandwiches for a filling meal to accompany their house-brewed beers. With such a diverse menu, East Troy Brewery is sure to satisfy both your beer cravings and your appetite.

Red Eye Brewing Company

Red Eye Brewing Company offers:

  • Award-winning beers intentionally designed to complement their menu of artisan foods
  • A welcoming atmosphere with comfortable seating
  • A focus on delivering a high-quality experience for visitors

Whether you’re trying their distinctive ‘GORP Be With You’ beer with a unique trail mix flavor profile or enjoying one of their other crafted brews, you’re sure to find a perfect pairing at Red Eye Brewing Company.

Family-Friendly and Dog-Friendly Breweries

Craft beer extends its appeal beyond just adults. Many breweries in Wisconsin cater to pet owners and families, providing dog-friendly patios and family-friendly environments.

Breweries like Black Husky Brewing and 3 Sheeps Brewing Company are known for welcoming families and offering a comfortable atmosphere for all ages.

Even places like Tyranena Brewing Company and Capital Brewery have made their patios dog-friendly, so your furry friend can join the fun.

Whether you’re planning a family day out or want to bring along your four-legged friend, Wisconsin breweries cater to your needs.

Black Husky Brewing

Black Husky Brewing is a brewery that the whole family can enjoy. This family-friendly brewery offers a comfortable atmosphere where everyone, regardless of age, can have a great time.

Whether you’re sampling their wide variety of craft beers or just soaking in the energetic atmosphere, Black Husky Brewing is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

3 Sheeps Brewing Company

With a spacious 10,000 sq. ft taproom, 3 Sheeps Brewing Company offers:

  • A great place for families and dog-lovers alike
  • A rich variety of brews on 25 taps
  • A dog-friendly environment, allowing visitors to enjoy their beers alongside their furry companions
  • Enjoyable events, including the popular Yoga and Beer sessions

All of these add to the memorable experiences available at the National Brewery Museum, making your visit to the brewery truly unforgettable.

So, whether you’re a craft beer enthusiast or just looking for a fun, family-friendly venue, 3 Sheeps Brewing Company is a great choice.

Seasonal and Limited-Edition Brews to Try

As if the Wisconsin beer scene wasn’t exciting enough, seasonal and limited-edition brews add an extra layer of intrigue.

These unique creations offer beer lovers a chance to sample innovative flavors that perfectly match the changing seasons. Some examples of these brews include:

  • Tropical Slush from Eagle Park Brewing Company: a fruity and refreshing option
  • Lead Vocal from 1840 Brewing Company: a bright and effervescent choice
  • Vintage 2022 Belgian-Style Sour Ale from New Glarus Brewing Co.: a Gold-winning beer with a unique flavor profile

These brews, crafted by Milwaukee Brewing Company, offer a refreshing take on Wisconsin’s craft beer scene, making them a perfect choice for those attending the Great American Beer Festival. With the exceptional quality of Wisconsin Brewing Company, this brewing company truly stands out in the world of craft beer.

Keep in mind, these brews are available for a limited time, so don’t miss the chance to try them!

Eagle Park Brewing Company’s Tropical Slush

Eagle Park Brewing Company’s Tropical Slush is a must-try for any fruit beer lover. This highly-rated fruited sour beer boasts an impressive 4.29 out of 5 score on Untappd, with over 3,855 reviews. The beer is overfruited with a combination of passionfruit, pineapple, and mango, creating a sweet yet sour experience bursting with tropical fruit flavors.

Available on draft or in cans at Eagle Park Brewing Company’s locations, Tropical Slush is the perfect brew to transport your taste buds to a tropical paradise.

1840 Brewing Company’s Lead Vocal

If you’re looking for a unique beer experience, look no further than 1840 Brewing Company’s Lead Vocal. This Farmhouse Ale Saison delivers a bright, clean taste with an effervescent, champagne-like quality and a touch of spice.

Brewed with Pilsner, Oat Malt, White Wheat, Rye & Munich and hopped with Magnum, Lead Vocal has earned a favorable reception among beer enthusiasts, scoring 3.96 out of 5 from over 105 ratings on Untappd.

So, if you find yourself at 1840 Brewing Company’s taproom, be sure to give Lead Vocal a try.

Summary

From traditional brewing techniques to innovative craft beers, Wisconsin’s brewing scene offers a rich tapestry of experiences for beer lovers. Whether you’re exploring the state’s German brewing heritage, savoring award-winning brews, or sampling unique food pairings, Wisconsin breweries offer something for every palate.

With family-friendly and dog-friendly breweries, even your loved ones and furry friends can join in the fun. And let’s not forget the seasonal and limited-edition brews that offer a refreshing twist on classic flavors.

So, whether you’re a seasoned beer enthusiast or a craft beer novice, embark on a journey to discover Wisconsin’s best breweries – a journey filled with unique experiences, unforgettable flavors, and, of course, great beer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Wisconsin’s craft beer scene unique?

Wisconsin’s craft beer scene is unique because it combines traditional European brewing methods with local ingredients, resulting in a diverse range of acclaimed beers. Breweries in the state also offer unique experiences, such as open brewing areas, live music, and fire pit evenings.

Which Wisconsin breweries are known for their award-winning beers?

If you’re looking for award-winning beers in Wisconsin, check out New Glarus Brewing Co., Central Waters Brewing Company, and O’so Brewing Company. These breweries have earned significant accolades for their high-quality beers. Cheers!

What unique experiences can I enjoy at Wisconsin breweries?

You can enjoy unique experiences at Wisconsin breweries, like Broken Bat Brewing Company’s baseball theme, Mobcraft Beer’s crowdsourced approach, and Swinging Bridge Brewing Company’s pay-it-forward board. Cheers to that!

Which breweries in Wisconsin offer great food pairings?

Check out Stone Arch Brewpub, Thirsty Pagan Brewing, and Red Eye Brewing Company in Wisconsin for delicious food pairings with your beer, from wild game dishes to artisan foods. Enjoy!

Which breweries in Wisconsin are family-friendly and dog-friendly?

You can bring your family and furry friend to breweries like Black Husky Brewing, 3 Sheeps Brewing Company, Tyranena Brewing Company, and Capital Brewery in Wisconsin for a relaxing and enjoyable experience. No need to leave anyone behind when you visit these family and dog-friendly spots.