PetSkull Brewing in Manitowoc

PetSkull Brewing Company

PetSkull Brewing logo, ManitowocManitowoc was known for its large malting plant with Budweiser slogans on it, now craft brewing with a tap room is back in town. PetSkull Brewery (weird name, we know) is located in the downtown area of the city between northbound and southbound U.S. 10, just blocks north of where U.S. 151 ends. Business Highway 42 also flanks PetSkull, running north on 8th Street and south on 10th Street just like U.S. 10. Following the main roads brings you within a stone’s throw of the skull, no matter what.

PetSkull is fairly small, making for a cozy bar and tap room area, complete with board games and other things to encourage group conversing. Their craft beers, brewed just feet away in the back of the building, are only served via tap inside their building, in samples, pints, or growlers to go. You can bring outside food in (in fact, it’s encouraged) but there is pretzel and popcorn sustenance for palate-cleansing available there. While brewing takes place most of the week at PetSkull, the Tap Room itself is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at this time.

PetSkull Brewing bar and taps

Beers rotate, but our last visit found a Northside Chocolate Oatmeal Porter, the 220 Double IPA, a German Hefewiezen called the Schnitzky, the Saturday @ 7 Saison, the Soulless Scotsman Scottish Ale, Udderly Peachy Milkshake IPA, and Sticky Fingers Honey Blonde. There were also two themed beers seemingly trading on the city’s Windigo Fest: the Living Dead India Pale Ale and Windigo Red IPA. As they grow, might they brew some beers saluting Sputnikfest? We’re preparing for that day.

PetSkill Brewing sampler

PetSkull samplers come in 4-oz glasses. The glasses themselves are labeled with the number of the beer, rather than the indication being on the sampler board or written on somewhere. That’s a lot of glasses to keep track of!

PetSkill Tap Room Hours:

Thursday 4pm – 9pm
Friday 4pm – 9pm
Saturday 3pm – 9pm

PetSkull Brewing Company Address:

220 N. 9th Street
Manitowoc, WI 54220
(920) 717-0237

PetSkull is just blocks away from Manitowoc’s 8th Street main street, within blocks of the classic Beerntsen’s Confections, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the U.S.S. Cobia, the Capitol Theatre, the Rahr-West Art Museum, and more.

PetSkull Brewing entrance, Manitowoc

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Stevens Point Brewery main entrance along Water Street

Stevens Point Brewery

Stevens Point is home to the 5th oldest continuously operating brewery in the United States. The Stevens Point Brewery started up back in 1857 and supplied beer to Civil War troops, near-beer to people waiting out Prohibition, and Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko in 1973, whose choice of Point Special as the best-tasting beer in America launched it to new heights. Today, Point sells their beer in 27 states.

Point has since expanded its line to include a variety of craft-style beer and ales, including several seasonal varieties. Along with flagship Point Special, they feature Point Cascade Pale Ale, Beyond the Pale, Drop Dead Blonde, Nude Beach, Horizon Wheat, Point Smiley Blue Pils, the 2012 Black Ale (which played off the end-of-the-world predictions that year), and a line of gourmet sodas that includes a tasty root beer.

Stevens Point Brewery taps for sale

Among other things, the Gift Shop at Stevens Point Brewery offers a variety of their tap handles.

Stevens Point Brewery gift shop

The Point Brewery Gift Shop even has clothes for a littlest ones, who of course, ARE home-brewed.

Their hour-long tour takes you through all facets of the brewing process, including a look inside the copper kettles and samples of the resulting products. This really goes bring you through the middle of everything; closed toed shoes are required. Tours are available Monday-Saturday on the hour, usually from 11am-2pm but it can vary by season. Their Gift Shop features plenty of memorabilia to take home, including of their legendary advertising slogans and designs. Definitely one of the most comprehensive brewery tours in the state!

You’ll find Stevens Point Brewery about a mile south of downtown along Water Street. It’s a few blocks west of Business U.S. 51. Highway 66/Historic U.S. 10 is nearby to the north and Highway 54 approaches within several miles to the south. I-39/U.S. 51 is about three miles east.

Stevens Point Brewery Address:

2617 Water Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
(715) 344-9310

Stevens Point Brewery front

Stevens Point Brewery is a little secretive about the origins of their mascot, who may have inspired “The Coneheads” on SNL,.

Northwoods Brew Pub, Osseo

Northwoods Brew Pub

Originally in Eau Claire, Northwoods Brew Pub moved into a massive former condensery in Osseo in April, 2016 and now sports an incredibly impressive space featuring its brewery operations, full restaurant with a front patio, and bars on two levels with event space that rivals anything we’ve seen in Milwaukee or Madison.


Northwoods Brew Pub’s new building is gi-normous. During World Wars I & II, this place was a condensery.

They still brew Eau Claire’s historic Walter’s Premium Pilsner, a brand they resurrected in the 1990s after decades of dormancy. Northwoods Brewing Company brews quite a few of their own brands, including:

  • Floppin’ Crappie Pale Ale (voted the #1 “Biker Beer” in Sturgis in 2004)
  • Lil’ Bandit Brown Ale (a silver medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival)
  • Rowdy Rye Ale
  • Prickly Pike’s Pilsner
  • Bumbl’n Bubbas Buzz’ Brew
  • Red Cedar Red
  • White Weasel Light Ale
  • Mouthy Muskie Light,
  • and – lest you think we’re getting too light here – Kelly’s Stout.

Northwoods Brew Pub front tapsThey add seasonals here and there including a Ripplin’ Red Raspberry Wheat (from mid-May ’til it’s gone), their Chippewa Valley Oktoberfest Lager (available in fall – you know, around Oktoberfest time), their Buckshot Buck in February, and more.

Northwoods offers tours of their brewing facilities. They’re open seven days a week at 11am.  Their closing times are 10pm Monday through Thursday, 11pm Friday and Saturday, and 8pm on Sunday. Winter and holiday hours can vary; call 715-597-1828 for updates.

Their main brewery, bar, and restaurant is located on the main floor, but worth a look (at the very least) are the beautiful second and third levels. With original wood floors, sandblasted brick, original ceilings, and impressive new bar facilities, they’ve made the most of this solid old building.

Northwoods Brew Pub, 2nd floor

Part of second floor event space at Northwoods Brew Pub.

You’ll find Northwoods Brew Pub one block north of U.S. 10/53 on West Street, just west of Osseo’s downtown (the other big attraction in town, the Norske Nook, is less than half a mile away.) I-94 travelers reach Osseo via Exit 88 (U.S. 10) and going west about one mile and then one block north on West Street. The Buffalo River State Park Trail runs right past the building.

50819 West Street (just off U.S. 10/53)
Osseo, WI 54758
(715) 597-1828


Fox River Brewing Company

Fox River Brewing Company started up in 1995, an early entry in the craft beer resurgence across the country. It started with Fratello’s Waterfront Restaurant in Oshkosh and expanded to Fox River Brewery & Restaurant in Appleton’s bustling Fox River Mall in 1997.

The beers brewed in their Oshkosh and Appleton facilities encompass a wide variety, depending on the season. Popular picks include Fox Tail Pale Ale, their Hoppyface IPA, the Badger Bitter ESB, the Trolleycar Stout, and Vader’s Imperial Stout. But there are many seasonal and special beers available at different times of the year.

The Oshkosh location has a terrific outdoor patio along the Fox River right at the southeastern end of Lake Butte des Morts. Highway 21 meets U.S. 45 nearby, and the large new bridge carrying U.S. 41 (I-41 later this year) across the lake is visible. The patio is great in summer for enjoying their beers, live music, and occasionally some volleyball an boating activities.

Appleton Oshkosh
Fox River Brewpub & Restaurant
4301 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Appleton, WI 54913
(920) 991-0000
Fratello’s Waterfront Brewery & Restaurant
1501 Arboretum Drive
Oshkosh, WI
(920) 232-2337
Common Man Brewing, Ellsworth

Common Man Brewing Company

Common Man Brewing keeps it modest: “we are just a couple storefronts east of the Family Dollar” is how they describe their location in Ellsworth, both Pierce County seat and the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin.

The “nanobrewery” started out in 2015 and their restaurant grew so fast they had to hold off on releasing their own beers. While they gear up for brewing during the winter of 2017-2018, Common Man currently offers 22 beers on tap from around Wisconsin and the region. Common Man also serves cocktails and has an awesome food menu, including burgers so popular they’ve been featured on the Discover Wisconsin TV show. The menu also features fairly unique foods for small-town Wisconsin, like Korean Kimchee Fries. And don’t think the presence of Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery just down the street doesn’t affect the menu here, too!

Common Man Brewing Address:

193 E. Main Street (US 10/63)
Ellsworth, WI 54011
(715) 941-4060

Common Man Brewing Hours:

Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 11:30 am to 10 pm (kitchen until 8 pm)
Wednesday – 11:30 am to 10 pm (kitchen until 8 pm)
Thursday – 11:30 am to 10 pm (kitchen until 8 pm)
Friday – 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm (kitchen until 9 pm)
Saturday – 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm (kitchen until 9 pm)
Sunday – 11:30 a.m. to 10 pm (kitchen until 8 pm)

You’ll find Common Man Brewing right along U.S. 10/63 in Ellsworth, just east of downtown and not far from Highways 65 and 72.

Central Waters Brewing Company

Located right in central Wisconsin, Central Waters Brewing Company fired up in 1998 inside a former Model-A Ford dealership along U.S. 10 in Junction City. By 2007 they had grown so much they moved to a newer facility in nearby Amherst, where today they brew over 20 styles of beer.

Central Waters building

Central Waters Tap Room

Central Waters is expanding like donuts on a jelly injector. A sizeable Tap Room shares space with a growing set of brew kettles and fermentation tanks, and a new meeting room with outdoor patio seating fronting the building. During busy times, food trucks offer up fare out front that complements their beers.

Central Waters’ most popular brew is their Mudpuppy Porter, with the Ouisconsing Red Ale – named after a French version of the state’s original name – not too far behind. While they have a few lighter (and very good) varieties like a Honey Blonde Ale and Shine On Ale, their specialty tends to lean towards hoppier varieties like the Glacial Trail India Pale Ale or HHG APA (the “HHG” standing for “horseshoes and hand grenades, after a local band) as well as darker, flavorful selections like the Satin Solitude Imperial Stout. They also feature seasonals like Cherry Stout, the Bloody Sunrise (featuring Bloody Mary mix), and Bourbon Barrel Barleywines and Scotch Ales.

Central Waters tap selections

Their Tap Room is open 3pm-10pm Friday, noon-10pm Saturday, noon-7pm Sunday. During the day the rest of the week you can stop over, get a growler filled, use the restroom, drink a sample out front, but the Tap Room won’t be available.

Central Waters sampler

You’ll find Central Waters just off the U.S. 10 freeway via the County B exit in Amherst, about 15 minutes east of Stevens Point. The historic route of the Yellowstone Trail runs within eyeshot of the brewery, too!

351 Allen Street
Amherst, WI 54406
(715) 824-2739