Widmer’s Cheese Cellars

Located in Theresa at the northeast corner of Dodge County, Widmer’s makes brick, cheddar, and colby cheeses that are popular around the state and much of the country. The factory in downtown Theresa dates back to 1922 and today they crank out over 360,000 pounds of cheese per year – so yeah, about 1,000 pounds per day.

Their 12,000 square foot facility includes the original cheesemaking vats, which you can see when you walk into their store. They have a great selection of their fresh and aged cheeses – right from the source.

Their facility is just off Highways 28, 67, and 175. I-41 just a few miles to the east.

Address:
214 W. Henni Street
Theresa, WI 53091
(920) 488-2503
Website

Ice Caves at the Miller Brewery Tour, Milwaukee

Miller Brewery Tour

One of the largest and most popular brewery tours in the nation, the Miller Brewery Tour covers the grounds of MillerCoors’ Miller Brewing plant, Wisconsin’s largest with an output of over 10 million barrels per year.  The brewery sits on land purchased by Frederick Miller back in 1855 and fermentation has been happening here ever since.

Beers such as Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Miller Genuine Draft, and Milwaukee’s Best have been churned out for decades here; with mergers and acquisitions, Leinenkugel’s and Coors products are brewed in the Miller Brewery, as well as a ton of “old school” brands by contract: Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, Old Style, and more all still exist as brands but are brewed by Miller.

Miller Brewery Tour kettlesThe Miller Brewery Tour begins at the Visitor Center along State Street, which of course includes a large gift shop along with historic exhibits on Miller’s history here, from its humble beginnings in 1855 to being MillerCoors today, one of the largest breweries in the country and part of Molson Coors (there were a lot of parent company changes from 2002 to 2016.) After a 15-minute film describing the company, its history, and art of macro-beer brewing, the tour hits State Street for a walk to the Brewhouse. An optional stair climb offers a view from above of the shiny copper brew kettles. Then the tour heads back across the street to the Miller Inn, a Bavarian-style bar where free samples are offered. Next stop is the historic Miller caves, where beer was chilled with ice cut from area lakes before mechanical refrigeration made the process a bit easier. Next up is a look from above at the bottling and canning lines (you’ll hear “Laverne & Shirley” references on this part of the tour as sure as you’ll hear “Caddyshack” references on golf courses) where statistics on how many cans and bottles get filled per minute – it’s rather staggering – and how they deal with short fills, etc. are covered. A walk-through of the shipping and distribution warehouse follows. This massive shipping area is larger than four football fields, and you’ll frequently see forklifts plying the aisles hustling that beer into ready trucks. The tour then heads back to the Visitor Center to wrap up with additional samples, outdoors when weather permits and inside otherwise. And of course, that’s right next to the Gift Shop.

Tours cost $10 and include a souvenir glass and beer samples along the tour. If you’re not of legal drinking age, well, they’re free – but you don’t get beer.

Residents and anyone else with a Wisconsin state-issued ID get half off, so for state residents the tour is $5.

In winter, tours run six days a week (closed Sundays) from 10am to 3:30pm, kicking off every half hour. In summer, tours run 10-6 Monday-Wednesday and 10am – 7pm Thursday-Saturday. On Sundays in summer, there are no tours but the beer garden is open from 10am to 4:30pm. Call 414-931-BEER for details or go here for the latest updates.

In December, you can enjoy the "Holiday Lights" on a Miller Brewery Tour.

“Miller Valley” lights up with an animated display during the holidays. It can be part of the Miller Brewery Tour, or you can just drive by on State Street.

Miller Brewery Tour and Visitors Center Address:

4251 W. State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208
414-931-2337
Website

You can access State Street easily from the Highway 175 freeway, just about a mile north of I-94 and Miller Park. Follow State Street east just a few blocks and you’ll see the Visitors Center right there. U.S. 18 is also right there, passing by via Wisconsin Avenue with a view of the whole complex from the bridge leapfrogging the Menomonee River and “Miller Valley.” You can access Miller’s Visitor Center from U.S. 18 via Highway 175’s connections to State Street or by connecting directly to State via 35th Street, which U.S. 18 follows between Highland Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue.

Miller Brewery Tour




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Big Head Brewing Company


wauwatosa_bigheadbrew_outsideBig Head Brewing sits just a little over a mile west of the behemoth known as the Miller Brewery. Opened in 2013 just off State Street in Wauwatosa, Big Head brews a variety of craft beers, with an eye also on specializing in a diabetic-friendly line of beers with low carbs that still taste like craft brews.

wauwatosa_bigheadbrew_taps

Along with the beer variety, they have quite the tap handle variety – including ball-peen hammers, wrenches, and custom metal designs serving to help draw the draught.

Their Tasting Room is open Thursday-Saturday and features pool, darts, games, and bands playing on select evenings. While still new and brewing under 1,000 barrels annually, Big Head has big plans.

You’ll find Big Head about 1 1/2 miles west of the Highway 175 freeway, one mile east of Highway 181 (76th Street/Harmonee Avenue), one mile north of U.S. 18/Bluemound Road, and a few miles north of I-94 and east of I-41/U.S. 45. It’s also just east of the Village of Wauwatosa, a charming little area in its own right. It’s also mere minutes from Miller Park.

wauwatosa_bigheadbrew_coolers

Clearly, the cooler named after The Fonz is cooler than the cooler named for Richie Cunningham.

Address:
6204 W. State Street
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
(414) 257-9782
Website