While Milwaukee has had over 100 breweries in its history, there was really a dearth of such places as recent as 2013. Only 4 breweries in the city existed at that time – Miller (1855), Sprecher (1985), Lakefront (1987), and Milwaukee Brewing (1997). With the craft boom of the past few years, however, the number of breweries in Milwaukee metro will be pushing an astonishing 25 by next spring.
The microbrewery that led this wave of Milwaukee’s reemergence in 2014 as a major brewery player was one of the city’s most unique breweries, Brenner Brewing Co. While the beer is the main entrée, there are healthy doses of art on the side. As Milwaukee’s most art-centric brewery, Brenner has an attached art gallery with rotating exhibitions throughout the year. For instance, the labels of the various Brenner beer bottles and 6-pack holders are from the works of local Milwaukee artists. These pieces, as well as others from these individuals, are currently on display in the gallery. (By the way, these labels can be found on the company website with details about each of the artists). Additionally, there are also 22 individual artist studios in the complex known as The Pitch Project .
Mike Brenner, a local Shorewood native, is the mastermind behind this distinctive concept. With an extensive background in art and music, Mike has turned his passion into part of the brewery’s mission – to promote local art and music however possible. The City Fox Pale Ale label, for example, adorns one of the pint glasses. (Fun Fact: Once you finish off a pint, you will actually see a little fox etched onto the bottom of the glass.)
A formally trained master brewer of the Siebel Institute (Chicago) & Doemens Academy (Munich), Mike offers a lengthy list of top tier beers to keep you coming back time and again. While the tasty City Fox is a best seller, it’s hard not to try the Butterfly Farts citrus ale, both for its fun name & delicious taste. The signature Bacon Bomb, a German-style smoked rauchbier, is definitely one of the coolest beers that you can come across in the city. With the aroma and flavor of bacon, it’s actually 100% vegan. (Fun Fact: If you are a bloody mary fan like myself, do what I do at home. I use 4 parts Zing Zang mix, a shot of vodka (or 2 if I’m depressed), and 2 parts Bacon Bomb IN the bloody mary. You get a nice, smokey taste in the back of your throat. Plus, you can use the rest of the bottle as a chaser!)
With tours available Thursday through Sunday, one can get the full Brenner Brewing Co. story & see first-hand how beer is made in this hip microbrewery. Plus, with its 14-foot HD projection screen, the tasting room is a prime spot to watch your favorite sports team – Packers, Badgers, Bucks, Golden Eagles, and Brewers. And feel free to play a game or two of bags on the side. Finally, with the near completion of S. 5th Street and its new 17.5 feet sidewalks, outside seating will be a perfect way to enjoy your favorite Brenner brew on warm days and nights.
To schedule a tour or learn more, go to www.brennerbrewing.com