By Daniel Rose
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that “beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Given the abundance of breweries in Wisconsin, it’s safe to say that Ben Franklin would have considered the land of dairy to be blessed.
Joking aside, the explosion of microbreweries in Wisconsin truly exemplifies the state’s diverse and fun-loving spirit. According to the Brewers’ Association, there are about a hundred craft breweries operating in the state.
Below, we’ve selected seven breweries (and beers) that deserve to be included in your next Wisconsin road trip.
Built in 1852, this is one of the oldest operating breweries in Wisconsin. The Potosi Brewing Company offers brewery tours, a restaurant, beer garden and a National Brewery Museum.
Beer: The Fiddler Stout is currently on tap, and pairs flavors of coffee and chocolate with a medium hop bitterness. This is a great beer for someone who wants to explore bitter flavors that are less intense than a typical IPA.
This brewery got its start in 1996 when two friends purchased and restored an old brick building in Junction City. They quickly became known for producing high quality and unique beer recipes. Today, you can tour their new Amherst facility over the weekend and sample beers in the taproom any day of the week.
Beer: The Mudpuppy Porter is famous and sold in almost 200 retail locations around the state. Accurately described by the brewers as a refreshing porter, it is beloved by dark beer fans.
Take a seat in the “Engine Room” of this brewery where you’ll have a great view of the production floor and can see how this great beer is made while you drink it! Plus, you can enjoy some popcorn and pretzels on the house.
Beer: The Million Dollar Smoked Maibock, a dark beer with a smoky flavor, will be around this spring for a limited time.
Ray Wagner, O’so’s Head Brewer, was not fond of the beer at his college parties in 2001, so he started brewing his own. Beginning as a literal B.Y.O.B. operation in college, O’so has since grown into one of the real craft gems in Wisconsin.
Beer: Rusty Red is available year round at O’so. It’s malty and well-balanced flavor makes it enjoyable from the first sip to last drop.
Located right on the Milwaukee River, this brewery was an electric railway and light company before it was renovated to produce great beer. Stop by for one of their popular tours and be sure to stay for the Friday night fish fry (often accompanied by traditional German polka bands).
Beer: Riverwest Stein, named after the surround area, is a wonderfully drinkable Amber lager that is smooth, rich and sure to please.
Pearl Street Brewery, founded by a Father-Son duo, offers a variety of beers and has tours every Friday and Saturday. Be sure to check out their event calendar before stopping in, as they frequently have unique events, beer specials and live music.
Beer: Me, Myself and IPA is brewed with more than 2 pounds of hops per barrel, giving it a powerfully bitter flavor that even the pickiest IPA lover will cherish.
You’ll find big flavors when you visit Tribute. Their taproom features 12 different beers that are brewed on-site, plus a selection of beers from other craft breweries around the state. Tribute is also blessed with a friendly staff and an atmosphere true to its North Woods location.
Beer: Don’t miss their Blueberry Train Wheat that balances the sweet flavor of ripe blueberries with crisp and refreshing notes of a more traditional wheat beer.
Ready for another round? Check out these five Wisconsin distilleries!