Do you hear that? Lowly, in the distance, that sound? What is that? The rumbling from some far off land. It’s getting louder. The ground is shaking. What could it possibly be? Is it… is it… choo choo! It is! It’s the Daze of Beer train getting back on track! #hollah
Well, here we are again friends. Another trip to another Milwaukee brewery. This time we visited one of the better known breweries in not just Milwaukee, but also the entire Midwest (maybe country?). We went to Lakefront Brewery. Now, you might be wondering, “Hey, Natalie, how do you qualify that Lakefront is one of the better known breweries?” And let me tell you, my sweet friend. I have determined this by the fact that according to Jake, somewhere on their website they brag about being the fourth best brewery tour in the country (New Belgium made the claim they were number one on that list so maybe this is a real thing) and also, when I was in Utah, one of my friendly bartenders who kept me more than a little hydrated throughout the weekend told me he once visited Milwaukee and did “that one brewery tour there.” And when I said, “Oh, the Miller tour?” He looked at me with big shocked eyes and said, “They brew Miller in Milwaukee? Wow, I didn’t know that! No, I did the other one! The other big one.” And I shrugged and guessed, “Uh, Lakefront?” And he nearly jumped over the bar and said, “YES! THAT ONE.” So, I think it’s safe to say someone, somewhere knows about Lakefront Brewery.
We visited the fine brewery on Saturday, August 19th and did the 6:30 tour. We had booked our tour only a few hours in advance, but it’s still important to plan as far ahead as possible because their tours routinely sell out. There are several things I hated about this situation before it started. One, there were people everywhere just existing. We all know how I feel about people who insist on existing. Drives me mad. Second, the entire pastiche is that everyone is SUPER excited to be WORKING there!!11!!!!!! I hate enthusiasm, and I especially hate over-hyped false enthusiasm. But it was fine.
With each tour you get four drink tokens so before our tour began we started with a round. My first beer was the hull melon. Jake’s first beer was the El Wisco, which I have at length discussed on the CurdFest post. Tim had the Amplified Ale, which is sponsored by 88.9, I believe? Ashley also got a hull melon to start. And Monica got a Fixed Gear. I wish I had something insightful to say about these beers, but guys, I have to be honest. We consumed more beer on this tour than any Daze of Beer event to date. Like, five a piece. Remember when I said we each got four drink tokens? Well, Monica and Ashley had an additional three tokens from a previous tour so we were really swimming in the beer. And it would be disingenuous to pretend I remember anything about anything regarding the tastes of the beer.
But what I do remember, because it mattered to me profoundly, was another one of Jake’s great useless stories about Milwaukee history that he imparted on us while waiting for the tour to begin. While sitting, enjoying our first beers, he told us about the lights that are hanging in the beer hall/tap room. Apparently, the lights are from an old hotel in Milwaukee that was never finished due to funding issues stemming from the Great War, now known as World War I (see Wonder Woman). No one took interest in finishing this hotel at any point, apparently, and the city finally hit a point where they were like “eff this, let’s just tear it down.” But they went through and pieced out items that were already in the building for auction and put these beautiful lights up for auction with the minimum bid of $1000. Lakefront, apparently, put up some silly bid like $1031 (that figure came from Jake, citation desperately needed) and were immediately outbid by some big shot Chicago company that was like “FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS PLEASE.” But in one of the city of Milwaukee’s finest moments in preservation, they thought it best to keep history here in Milwaukee and they were like “Nah, bruh, I think Lakefront should have these.” And now you can see the beautiful lights that Lakefront got a screamin’ deal on hanging up there, illuminating the world and the beer.
After Jake gathered us for this story, our tour began. We all filled up before we ventured off and with the second round, I had the IPA called IPA, Jake had the Organica, Tim tried the New Grist which is gluten free, Ashley also went with the Organica, and Monica tried the Pumpkin Ale.
Let me tell you a bit about our tour guide. He was nice enough and did grow on me. But let me tell you the two notes I took on him.
- Underemployed theatre major.
- Cuddle puddle.
Those were the two notes. I’m not 100% sure what I meant by cuddle puddle, but I’m confident it’s some gross thing he said to describe something about the beer making process. The underemployed theatre major thing speaks for itself. He had an enthusiasm and showmanship that can only be found at Disney World and breweries, the two places you’re most likely to find theatre majors trying to convince you they made the correct choice in majors while secretly crying themselves to sleep at night about how they should have went into accounting just like their wise cousin who sells cigarettes at the local gas station and vapes inside when their manager isn’t looking said.
Overall, the tour was entertaining. At first I had an attitude problem about the over-the-top underemployed theatre major tour guide, but in the end he made some decent jokes and we were able to riff on them a little bit in our side huddle, because we can never risk being in the presence of someone funnier than us. God forbid.
At midpoint in the tour came a refill station which housed four options for beer. Ashley, Monica, and I had a Clutch Cargo. Jake when with the White. Tim had the Pumpkin Lager, not to be confused with the Pumpkin Ale that Monica had earlier (can you tell it’s almost fall?). Again, if I was a good blogger I could have told you which beer option there was that I did not have, but as has been long established with this blog, I am not a good blogger. And also, for some reason (probably related to the lack of food), I was feeling these beers pretty decently at his point.
More touring happens, and at the end we all get to sing a song together. I won’t spoil which song for you, but I will tell you it’s a television theme song and I already knew all the words.
The tour dumps out on this beautiful patio right on the river. Saturday was a beautiful night and there was a beer man there ready to take our last tokens (which in practice were not Monica and Ashley’s last tokens) and fill your beer for the final time (which again, was not actually our final time). Last beer roundup is as follows:
- Me, Snake Chaser
- Jake, Smash Ale
- Tim, Riverwest Stein
- Monica, Riverwest Stein
- Ashley, Riverwest Stein
Before we departed the brewery, though, we ended back in the taproom to finish off the tokens. Monica’s last beer was an El Wisco, mine was a Fixed Gear, and Jake’s was a Pumpkin Lager. Included in the tour, also, is a free pint glass if you turn in your plastic cup you’d been sipping from all night and within that free pint glass is a coupon for a free Lakefront beer at Stubby’s, the neighboring restaurant. Obviously we were all starved, and we also have been sitting on a Stubby’s gift card for well over a year, so we went to cash in on our last free beer, which as a shitty blog would do, I did not write down what any of us got. But Stubby’s has great cheese curds and I’d definitely recommend them to anybody.
Overall, great trip to Lakefront. Lessons were learned (five beers is TOO MANY when blogging). Friendships were formed (I watched two people beat a keg together and become illegally wed). And mistakes were made (Jake knows what mistake he made). I’d recommend it, for sure. Definitely a great stopover for people visiting Milwaukee, like your one friend from college that lives in the Northwoods who thinks you lead a really exciting life in the “big city” of Milwaukee but really you just go to Target and watch Netflix but you’ve gotta show her a good time so, take her here.
Our next post is going to be on big name giant industry leader MillerCoors. Sneak peek from the next post: A beer gave me hives!