Miller Park

Miller Park is home to the Milwaukee Brewers and the only stadium in North America with a fan-shaped convertible roof. The roof can open or close in about 10 minutes and – along with the panels in the outfield capable of blocking the lake breeze – allows the ballpark to be heated up to 30 degrees warmer than the conditions outside. After all, Wisconsin weather conditions can be suspect in April, May, and September – and hopefully it’ll be an issue for the Brewers more often in October, too.

Completed in 2001, Miller Park officially has a capacity of 41,900 for baseball although on numerous occasions, standing room-only crowds have allowed attendance to peak over 45,000. Concerts and other sporting events ranging from bowling tournaments to international soccer/futbol matches have also brought huge crowds. The stadium weighs half a million tons, 12,000 tons of which are from the roof, which spans 600 feet and covers nearly 11 acres. Inside, the roof reaches as high as 200 feet over the playing field; outside, the highest arch over the roof reaches as high as a 30-story building.

Miller Park, father and sonNatural grass flourishes under the retractable roof; large glass panels on the sides let plenty of light in and occasionally create some shadow challenges during games. One of many traditions brought over from Milwaukee County Stadium – the previous home of the Brewers – is the Klements Sausage Race, where five “sausages” compete in a foot race during the middle of the 6th inning and Brewers fans place bets on who wins: the Polish, the Brat, the Italian, the Hot Dog, or the Chorizo. It’s not uncommon for national sports reporters to note the winner of the Sausage Race when recapping Brewers games.

Plenty of kids’ activities can keep them occupied beyond the game, while a “loop” around the ballpark is a must. You can walk all the way around Miller Park on the lower level, taking in views of the field and the game from every angle.

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
The first “no-hitter” in Miller Park history was thrown on September 14, 2008 by the Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano… against the Houston Astros. The two teams were using Miller Park due to Hurricane Ike’s arrival in Houston. Miller Park also hosted a Cleveland Indians-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim series in April, 2007 when snowstorms in Cleveland forced a relocation of their series – one of many reasons why having the roof paid off!

Miller Park offers tours of the facility on most days during baseball season when there isn’t already a home game taking place. Check here for dates and pricing.

Miller Park from the Highway 175 bridge over I-94 in Milwaukee.Miller Park is easy to spot, of course, and sits at the junction of I-94 and Highway 175 in the city of Milwaukee, about three miles west of downtown. Highway 59/National Avenue is just to the south and U.S. 18/Bluemound road is just to the north.

Address:
One Brewers Way
Milwaukee, WI 53214
(414) 902-4000
Website




Milwaukee Public Market from across Water Street

Milwaukee Public Market


Milwaukee Public Market from the top levelConsidered one of “America’s Best Public Markets,” the Milwaukee Public Market opened in 2005 and offers a variety of one-of-a-kind, high quality artisan & ethnic products, fresh produce and prepared foods, beer and wine from crafters all over the world, demo kitchens, and even places to pick up fresh-cut flowers and goofy Milwaukee-themed clothing, such as a t-shirt with a bottle opener embedded in it – we found that at Brew City Beer Gear.

Independent merchants make up the Milwaukee Public Market, an indoor venue complemented by its Outdoor Urban Market along with craft fairs during the summer months. The MPM itself crowns the north end of the vibrant Historic Third Ward neighborhood, right along St. Paul Avenue between Water and Broadway and literally nuzzling up against I-794, under which parking is available. The new Milwaukee Streetcar System, known as “The Hop,” is being constructed along this corner; the Public Market will undoubtedly be a key stop along this new route.

You can get everything from fresh fish at St. Paul Fish Company to exotic spices at the Spice House, prepared soups, scratch-made specialty chocolates – and much more. The meat and deli counters at Foltz’s Family Market and West Allis Cheese & Sausage offer anything you could want. For vegans, On the Bus features everything from avocado toast and seitan sandwiches to take-home vegan ingredients for meal prep. Margarita Paradise offers Mexican fare and ingredients; Aladdin has you taken care of on the Mediterranean side. Kehr’s Candy Kitchen is a continuation of a long-traditional shop in the city with specialty chocolates and treats; while C. Adams offers incredible bakery across the way. Thai-namite offers fresh sushi, sashimi and similar fare while the Soup & Stock Market creates new concoctions every way. Bring any food to Thief Wine and sip a variety of wines from around the world at their counter while you enjoy, or peruse bottles to bring home. Brew City Beer Gear covers you with your favorite Wisconsin and Milwaukee t-shirts, hoodies, even socks – with creative messages. Plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants flank the Market in the Third Ward, which has become a prime boutique shopping destination for people from as far away as Chicago.

The Milwaukee Public Market is open seven days a week. Hours are 10am-8pm Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday. Early morning coffee lovers can grab a fresh cup as early as 7am on weekdays at Anodyne Coffee, and wine enthusiasts can enjoy extended hours until 9pm Thursday-Saturday nights at Thief Wine in the middle of the Market.

I-794 is one easy way to reach the Milwaukee Public Market via exits to St. Paul or Jackson Street south; Highway 32 flanks its east side as Broadway, U.S. 18/Michigan Avenue is just two blocks north, and Highways 38, 59, and 145 all get you close.

Milwaukee Public Market Address:

400 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 336-1111
Website




Milwaukee Public Market towards Brew City Beer Gear

Grumpy Troll Pub & Brewing Company


The Grumpy Troll lies just off the main “Trollway” (Highway 78) in a former creamery and cheese factory in Mount Horeb. Opened in 2000, you’ll find a nice selection of craft beers which can be enjoyed anytime, but especially during “Grumpy Hour” (Sunday-Wednesday 4-6pm, ’til close on Thursdays.)

The Grumpy beers include the Sunflower, a Farmhouse Ale; Trailside Wheat, a Hefeweizen named for its location along the Military Ridge Trail; Captain Fred, an American lager; E.O. Dark Strong Ale; Over N Under Pale Ale; Norski Nut Brown; Hoppa Loppa; Erik the Red; a Maibock; their Whiskey Barrel Stout; and more. The sampler can be as large as 15 beers.

The restaurant features a full menu and popular pizza pub; all of the items can be paired nicely with the variety of beers brewed at the Grumpy Troll. Every year on the 2nd Saturday in September, the brewpub hosts Thirsty Troll Brew Fest in Grundahl Park nearby.

The Grumpy Troll is just off Highway 78 and Business U.S. 151; the U.S. 18/151 bypass is just to the south, and Highway 92 comes in from the southeast.

Address:
105 S. 2nd Street
Mount Horeb, WI 53572
(608) 437-2739
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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Lakefront Brewery


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.

milwaukee_lakefrontbrewery01

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.

Address:
1872 N. Commerce Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 372-8800
Website

Gray Brewing Company, Janesville

Gray Brewing Company


Gray Brewing Company – originally Gray’s Brewing – dates back 1856 and is in its fifth generation of family ownership. Through the years (centuries, really), Gray Brewing has both brewed specialty beers and created gourmet sodas; beer production ceased in 1912 but came back in 1994 and today Gray offers a variety of year ’round and seasonal brews. They include a Honey Ale, the state’s original honey beer; a hearty Rathskeller Amber Ale; Rock Hard REd; the “56” Oatmeal Stout, named for the year of Gray’s founding (1856); Rock Hard Red, a berry-flavored beer named in part for Rock County); the unfiltered Wisco Wheat; the Tap Joclkey Irish Stout; and the colorfully-named Irish-style Busted Knuckle.

Gray’s Janesville brewery is located along historic Highway 11/Court Street on the west side of Janesville.  Their Janesville Tasting Room re-opened in 2015. Hours are Friday from 4:30 to 9:00pm and Saturday from 2:00 to 7:00pm. The Growler Hour is on Saturday before tours, starting at 2pm. The “Owners Brewery Tours” take place every second Saturday of each month at 3:00pm.
Tour Prices are $5 for the regular tour, and $20 for the VIP Tour, which includes the Owners Brewery Tour, unlimited samples until 4:00pm that day, and a souvenir pint glass.

All ages are welcome into the Gray Brewing Tasting Room and on the Owners Brewery Tour, but you must be 21+ with a photo I.D. to enjoy alcoholic beverages. Group tours (12+) are available for reservation on non-regular Owners Brewery Tour Saturdays. Call their office at 608-754-5150 or email them for more information.

In 2016, Gray Brewing expanded into the restaurant business in booming Verona just off U.S. 18/151 near Highway 69 with Gray’s Tied House, where you can try all of their beers and gourmet sodas before checking out their full menu of food… because you can’t eat on an empty stomach.

Gray Brewing Company Addresses:

Gray’s Brewery, Tasting Room, Tours Gray’s Tied House
2424 W. Court Street (“City” Highway 11)
Janesville, WI 53548
(608) 754-5150
Website
950 Kimball Lane
Verona, WI 53593
(608) 845-2337
Website

Fixture Brewing Company


Fixture Brewing popped in downtown Waukesha a few years ago and have become a fixture, so to speak, for thirsty patrons in the city famous for streets that go all over the place.

Beers include the “‘Sha-Shank” Stout and Fox River Red; their Wizard Weissbier is a salute to Waukesha native Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar; the “Wauk-A-Shame” Apple Ale, where there’s probably a good story behind that; and the 1906 Forward Pass Pale Ale salutes the fact that Waukesha’s Carroll University – then Carroll College – was home to the first forward pass ever thrown in a college football game.

Fixture serves up their brews and some guest beers at their Clinton Street location, and bands often play on weekends.

You can navigate into downtown Waukesha via U.S. 18; Highway 59‘s original routes of Arcadian and St. Paul Avenues will bring you downtown, as well as Highway 164‘s original routes of County F from the north and East Avenue from the south.

Address:
716 Clinton Street
Waukesha, WI 53186
(262) 446-0770
Website

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

Delafield Brewhaus

Delafield Brewhaus


Delafield Brewhaus is perched above I-94 just east of Highway 83 in Delafield, serving up a variety of craft beers including three medal winners in the 2014 World Beer Championships.

In-house brews include the “always on tap” Dockside Ale, Delafield Amber, Pewaukee Porter, Naga-Wicked Pale Ale (named somewhat for nearby Lake Nagawicka), and Sommerzeit Hefe Weizen.  Seasonals include a Strawberry Lager, Golden Promise (featuring a specialty Scottish malt), Green Bullet IPA (with unique hops from New Zealand), Einhorn Bock, a Belgian Quadrupel (10.5 ABV… whoa!), and the Oats and Barley Stout. Additional specialty beers, including some aged in whiskey barrels, are available from time to time.

The bar area and restaurant are adorned with plenty of Brewerania collectibles and old-school signs, and some of the shiny copper kettles used in brewing are smack dab in the middle of the place.

Easy to spot but tricky sometimes to get to, Delafield Brewhaus is along I-94’s frontage road on the south side about one mile west of Highway 83 (Exit 287 off I-94). From Highway 83, turn east on Hillside Road, weave your way past some big-box stores, and it will be on your right just past the big “Hotsy” sign familiar with I-94 drivers. From the east/Milwaukee direction, exit Highway SS (Exit 290) and head west on the north side frontage road before cutting over to the south frontage road via Elmhurst Road or County E/Maple Avenue and heading west.

Address:
3832 Hillside Drive
Delafield, WI 53018
(262) 646-7821
Website

Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens


The Milwaukee County Zoo is one of the nation’s best, hands down! Opened in 1958, it’s home to over 2,000 animals including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles – many of whom reside in specialized habitats. The grounds of the Milwaukee County Zoo spread across over 200 acres of forests, exhibits, a large pond, indoor and outdoor habitats. Along with viewing and learning about animals, the Zoo offers opportunity to enjoy wildlife shows, ziplines, a carousel, a 15-inch gauge miniature railway the whole family can ride that loops around the grounds, and more.

Other fun features of the Milwaukee County Zoo:

  • The Zoo features one of the largest groups on bonobos in one location outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The aviary features over 60 species, including one large “cage-less” room where the birds fly free.
  • The “children’s zoo,” now called the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm, gives kids educational presentations and access to hedgehogs, porcupines, box turtles, bald eagles, and more.
  • At the Giraffe Deck, you can climb a deck to end up face-to-face with them – and even help feed them.

You’ll find the Milwaukee County Zoo nestled between I-94, I-41/U.S. 45, Highway 100, and U.S. 18/Bluemound Road on the far west side of Milwaukee, with Wauwatosa to the north, West Allis to the south, and Brookfield & Elm Grove to the west. The main entrance is off U.S. 18/Bluemound Road.

The Zoo’s hours vary by season. Admission fees run as follows (Milwaukee County residents with ID get additional discounts, see their website for details.)

ADMISSION
January 1 through March 31 & November 1 through December 31
Adult: $11.75
Child (age 3 to 12): $8.75
Child (2 and under): Free
Senior Citizen (age 60 and over): $10.25

April 1 through October 31
Adult: $14.25
Child (age 3 to 12): $11.25
Child (2 and under): Free
Senior Citizen (age 60 and over): $13.25

Parking is an additional $12 for passenger cars.

Address:
10001 Bluemound Road (U.S. 18)
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 256-5412
Website