Craft breweries abound all over Wisconsin, and there’s an especially interesting beer scene brewing (pun intended) in Eau Claire and its surrounding areas. These five breweries will not only quench your thirst, but they also fit in perfectly with the laid-back, approachable vibe this part of the state is known for.
With a mission to create beer that “not everyone will like but many will love,” boring is a word you won’t find in The Brewing Projekt’s vocabulary — or its beer selection. Founder Will Glass and his crew have created a palate-pushing collection of IPAs, stouts, sours, Wild Ales and more. The Projekt’s taproom sits in the brewery — meaning you can see the sights, smell the smells and hear the sounds as you’re sampling the goods. In addition to plenty of one-off experiments, the Projekt’s fan favorites are Resist, a milkshake IPA, and Dare Mighty Things, a hazy IPA — both with many variants.
A micro-brewery focused on traditional Czech and German lagers, Lazy Monk was founded by Leos Frank, who wanted to bring the beers of his homeland to the Chippewa Valley. Using grains and hops sourced directly from Europe, Frank and his team offer a slate of 14 beers at any given time (although it’s a given their flagship beers — Bohemian Pilsner and the Bohemian Dark Lager — are always on the list). The attention to Old World detail can also be seen in their family-friendly Bier Hall and outdoor Biergarten. If you weren't overlooking the Chippewa River, you’d swear you were in Europe.
Part of The Coffee Grounds, a coffee shop and specialty food store, this brewery features a small slate of stylish beers. Whether hanging out for some brews and fish fry on their outdoor patio or grabbing a growler or a K-Beer (a 32 oz can!) to go, K Point’s small but mighty beer list is filled with great choices. Head there for their Coffee Stout on Nitro — made with coffee sourced, roasted, and brewed by The Coffee Grounds.
The definition of modicum is “a small quantity of a particular thing, especially something considered desirable or valuable” — and that’s exactly what you get at this tiny brewery in nearby Altoona. The brewery is small and nuanced by design, which leads to a manageable, yet experimental approach to its operations. Their unfiltered lagers and Belgian-inspired ales are brewed just feet away from where they’re served, and all of Modicum’s offerings are sold onsite in their taproom only.
This Altoona brewery gets its name from H.L. Mencken, a Prohibition Era-journalist, who once described himself as “an ombibulous person” — one who enjoys all kinds of beverages. Mencken and his era are the inspiration behind the brewery’s speakeasy vibe, with dark wood, leather seating, and a shuffleboard game usually always happening on the second floor. Outdoor seating is plentiful as well, with a large patio that wraps around the brewery — perfect for enjoying beers with Jazz Age names like Bee’s Knees, Midnight Bootlager, and Dewdropper.
Keep exploring Wisconsin's craft brews with these seven breweries worth a visit!