At the busy interchange where I-39/90, I-43, and Wisconsin Highway 81 meet in Beloit just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line, you’ll find the “World’s Largest Can of Chili.”
The “can” is part of the large Hormel plant in Beloit, which cranks out plenty of chili and other meat products here. This is one of the storage tanks, visible from the interstate. How much chili can fit inside that “can”? Estimates are between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons – that amounts to a LOT of beans!
In Elkhorn, Walworth’s County Seat, you’ll find the home of composer Joseph Philbrick Webster, who songs were popular through the Civil War and beyond. The well-maintained Greek Revival-style cottage was constructed in 1836 and was originally located in Elkhorn’s public square (today’s Courthouse Square) and served as the federal land grant office, which sold land to Walworth County pioneers before Wisconsin’s 1848 statehood. It was also used as a temporary courthouse before a “real” one was constructed.
The Websters moved in after the house was moved to its current location at Rockwell & Washington Streets, where they added a kitchen and bedrooms while also creating a music room.
Webster’s descendants sold the house to the county in 1955; it opened a museum the following year. On August 8, 1970, the Webster House Museum was named a Wisconsin State Landmark and the official marker went in.
A tour of the museum shows off plenty of period items, including the square rosewood piano on which the composer created and played old classics like “Lorena” and “Sweet By and By.”
The Webster House Museum is just south of Elkhorn’s downtown and the junctions of Highways 11 and 67; U.S. 12 and I-43 are also nearby.
Mid-May through mid-OctoberWednesday through Saturday, 1-5pm or by appointment
9 E. Rockwell Street
Elkhorn, WI 53121
(262) 723-4248 Website
Enlightened Brewing started in 2014, setting up shop in the Lincoln Warehouse complex, a 1928-era building on 1st Street in Milwaukee that one served as an A&P grocery distribution center. The Twisted Path Distillery and Bittercube, a specialty maker of bitters, are also in the building and Horny Goat Brewing is right across the street; the Kinnickinnic River runs along the side. This is definitely a craft beer-loving area of town, and it’s easy to get to: Highway 32 is just to the east, Highway 38 is just to the south and west, and I-94/43 is a few blocks west.
Their beers include their A Priori Pale Ale, their 53207 (a California Common style, also their zip code), Dark Matters Black Wheat, Sustained Thought Stout, From the Roots Dark Ale, Leap of Faith Gose, an American Wild Ale named Heather, an English Mild Ale called Polly Baker’s Porridge, a Farmhouse Saison called Amour de Soi, and The Luminary, a Belgian Blonde.
Enlightened is very much in the “nanobrewery” category but is growing; as of March, 2016 they’re in the process of preparing to open a new tap room and are targeting late spring/early summer for that opening. Their Facebook page will have the latest updates – and we’ll be there sampling soon!
2018 S. 1st Street
Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 744-2018 Website
Milwaukee Brewing, which almost sounds redundant, started in 1997 with the opening of Milwaukee Ale House on Water Street in the city’s Historic Third Ward district. Demand grew, and eventually the main brewery had to move south into the Walkers Point neighborhood along 2nd Street, one block west of Highway 32, three blocks north of Highway 59, and three blocks east of Highway 38.
The 2nd Street Brewery for Milwaukee Brewing Company kegged its first beer in 2007 and installed the first “micro-canning” system in Wisconsin a few years later. The brewery proudly implements a long list of “green initiatives” that include using the Milwaukee Ale House’s waste vegetable oil to help power the brewery’s heating needs.
Milwaukee Brewing Company (often abbreviated as “MKE”, the city’s airport code) produces a number of popular brews including flagship Louie’s Demise, an amber ale; Polish Moon, a stout named after the nearby iconic Allen-Bradley clock (ask for the story); the Hop Happy IPA; Booyah, a saison-style ale named after popular Flemish-Belgian-inspired stew; Outboard, a cream ale noting the invention of the outboard motor by local resident Ole Evinrude back in the day; and Litta Bitta, a Belgian Wit. Plenty of other seasonals and “herb-in legends” are also produced by the brewery, including a tea-infused wheat beer called O-Gii.
Tours are “beer-in-hand” and run every half hour from 4-6:30pm Fridays and 1-4pm on Saturdays, with a 5pm “open house” lasting two-hours that go even more in-depth and usually becomes a fun social convener.
613 S. 2nd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 226-2337 Website
Lakefront Brewery is actually on Milwaukee’s riverfront, and dating back to 1987 they’ve been one of the most popular breweries in Milwaukee. Their tour has been rated among the best in America! Their Beer Hall also whips up a terrific Friday Fish Fry; live entertainment is not uncommon, and it’s a popular place for weddings and other events.
Beers brewed by Lakefront include their Riverwest Stein Amber Lager, named for the neighborhood just to the north of the brewery; Fixed Gear, an American IPA; the Bridge Burner Imperial Amber Ale, after 19th century bridge-burning incidents along the Milwaukee River; the Extended Play IPA; a stout brewed with coffee called Fuel Cafe, named for a former popular coffee shop in town; the Eastside Dark; Kilsch Pilsner, named for its founder; and New Grist, a pioneering gluten-free pilsner-style beer brewed with sorghum that was the first gluten-free beer granted label approval by the U.S. government. There are many others that are seasonals or limited-edition specials, too.
The brewery is located in a 1908 former coal-fired power plant that powered the city’s interurban lines of the day. You’ll find it along Commerce Street, where the presence of the Holton Street Bridge above and Larry, Moe, and Curly out front make it unmistakeable. Tours are available on the hour and you can buy tickets there or online in advance. You’ll not only find brewing equipment and learn about their beers, you’ll probably spot the old Bernie’s Chalet from Milwaukee County Stadium and witness a brief show at the end related to “Laverne & Shirley.” Yes, take this tour.
1872 N. Commerce Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 372-8800 Website
Badger State Brewing Company is in the heart of Green Bay – and by that, we mean mere blocks from Lambeau Field in the “Titletown District,” which also includes the Resch Center and Brown County Arena.
Opened in 2013, Badger State operated a 15-barrel brewing system inside a 10,000 square foot building that was the last property left along Lombardi Avenue to be zoned manufacturing, allowing them to brew beer there.
They sell it, too: their tap room inside the facility opened in late 2014 and features two dozen Wisconsin-brewed beers, including their own flagship brands Bunyan Badger Brown Ale, Green Chop Session IPA, Porte des Morts Maple Porter, Green Chop Session IPA, Vive La Belge! Belgo-Pale Ale, Walloon Witbier, and the almost intimidating-sounding Dubious Ruffian Chocolate Stout. More recently, brews like their Resilience IPA and others have come aboard, and you can increasingly find their beers in bars and restaurants across the state.
You’ll find them southeast of – or behind – the Stadium View and Brett Favre’s Steakhouse on Tony Canadeo Run, where a lot of hotels are now going up, too. Lombardi Avenue, Oneida Street, and Ashland Avenue (Highway 32) surround this part of the Titletown District.