This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Wisconsin Beer Lovers festival. It was my first beer festival and, honestly, I did not know what to expect. We had VIP tickets, which meant we got to get in early (11:30 AM) and when we got there around 11:15 the line was already down the sidewalk and turning a corner into the parking area. The event was held at Bayshore Mall in Glendale, WI, about 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee.
The venue was perfect. Despite some early disorganization getting people checked in and wrist banded, the rest of the event was truly amazing. With 50 Wisconsin breweries in attendance and 24 food vendors, there was no shortage of delicious beer and food. Each ticket included a tasting glass and unlimited food and beer which we took full advantage of.
From my favorite breweries, to oldies but goodies to some newer faces in the brewery world, there was not a beer I did not like that I tried. There was a massive selection, each brewery bringing several beers in a plethora of styles.
Two of the best parts about the beer festival was the amazing community feel between people and the breweries (many brewery owners were there talking beer and life!) and that you could compare different styles of beer from different breweries right next to each other. Usually you go to a brewery and try all of their beers and then move on to the next brewery, but here you could grab a sample from one, then go grab a sample of the same style of beer from a different brewery and compare.
Here is my review of some of the awesome breweries I sampled beer from (this list does not include every brewery there as it was nearly impossible to hit them all)!
Breweries On the Rise
Pearl Street Brewery, La Crosse, WI
This is a new to me brewery though it has been around since 1999. You can tell they have many years of experience as their beer was clean, crisp, and unique. I tasted the 17-UP Anniversary Gose and loved it. They do distribute, mostly within the La Crosse area but you can also find it at Total Wine and More.
Stillmank Brewing Company, Green Bay, WI
Though I was first attracted to Stillmank for their truly cool tap handles, I also enjoyed the beer immensely! The brewery was started in 2011 so is quite young in brewery years, yet they have made quite the splash in Green Bay. They have relaxed tap room and wide selection of beer. At the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival, I tried their Awesome Sauce, an apple cherry ale and it was delicious. It was crisp and refreshing on a very hot day.
Inventors Brewpub, Port Washington, WI
Inventors Brewpub highlights not only their own beers, but beers of other local breweries. The beers they had (their own) at the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival were dynamic and delicious. It is a brewery I would really love to visit their brewpub in person and experience their beers in that setting.
Eagle Park Brewing, Milwaukee, WI
Eagle Park is a brewery I have been following closely since their inception as I went to grade school with one of the founders. Loop Station is their flagship beer but they have many others that are consistently delicious. Their spread did not disappoint at WBLF and I am excited to check out their new location.
Located just outside of the city of Milwaukee, this brewpub is making a name for itself in both beer and food. If you ever go there try their calzones, though I have never had a bad meal there. I have also not found a beer of theirs I dislike. Their owner was also in attendance and I talked with him for quite awhile. The brewery as a whole is extremely approachable. Putting this all together, they are awesome across the board.
Oldies But Goodies
Milwaukee Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI
I am a huge fan of Milwaukee Brewing Company. Dan and I attend a lot of their events and are in their new case club. It was awesome to have their beer at the festival. I can’t wait to see their new location opening up soon.
Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI
Lakefront Brewery feels like the flagship craft brewery. Granted that is just my personal opinion. But they are the first brewery tour I ever attended and continue to take visitors to whenever they come into town. Russ Klisch (owner, founder) attended the festival and I had the opportunity to meet him, which was awesome!
Ale Asylum, Madison, WI
Though Lakefront is my most visited brewery/brewery tour, Ale Asylum has my favorite brewery tour of all time. The beer I had at the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival was their Unshadowed, an amazing hefeweizen. If you are ever in Madison, their tour is a MUST.
Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI
A great brewery with awesome and consistent beers. Their amber is delicious; however their Blonde Doppelbock is one of my favorites. A brewery who has been on the skyline for over 30 years they have the experience and knowledge to continue being successful.
Third Space Brewing, Milwaukee, WI
My favorite of the newer breweries so much so that it has made my “oldies but goodies list.” They have an amazing space and a great atmosphere. In fact, Dan and I had some of our wedding pictures taken there! They offer a bags league in the spring/summer/fall.
New Glarus Brewing Co, New Glarus, WI
Obviously the biggest distributor of craft beer in Wisconsin, they cannot put out a bad beer if they tried. Though word on the street is my favorite beer of all time from them, Uff-dah, could be making a comeback this coming fall/winter. I love their classic beers as well as their new ones.
This was an amazing and I definitely plan on attending in the future. I hope to learn as much as possible about many breweries! Did you attend? What is your favorite brewery? Comment below!
Check out my previous posts on breweries below:
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