Waves creeping onto a sandy shoreline. The sun dipping into the glassy horizon. The sound of laughter and clinking bottles. These are the sort of recollections Big Bay Brewing wants to evoke with each sip of its frosty beers. The master brewers use natural ingredients, such as proprietary yeast and real sugar, while concocting the tasty pours that comprise their menu of small-batch seasonal ales and year-round staples.
Big Bay Brewing's tasting room and retail center also prompts visitors to recall memories of relaxing vacations with its teakwood tables, crackling fireplace, and confused tourists standing around with maps. Those enamored with the tasting room—described by Shepherd Express as decorated with boathouse adornments and daubed in aquatic blues—can rent out part or all of the space for holiday parties, fundraisers, and other gatherings.
Riverside dishes up a delectable menu of American favorites and handcrafted beverages against the backdrop of the Milwaukee River's placid flow. Feast on a fleet of specialty sandwiches, including a quartet of grilled paninis teeming with tasty portobello, prime rib, or tuscan chicken ($8.95–$10.95) and a saucy slew of barbecue baby back ribs lounging with fresh veggies on a grilled kaiser roll ($8.95). Carnivorous patrons can sink mouth swords into a lean petite sirloin filet ($15.95) or savor a cluster of skewered tequila-lime shrimp grilled in butter ($18.95). A crab and lobster ravioli bursting with crab mousse, drawn butter, and a charming bouquet of fresh herbs courts a shy blush alfredo bedecked in a ravishing parmesan crumble ($24.95).
Tighthead Brewing Company owner and brewmaster Bruce Dir—a tighthead prop back in his rugby days—taps nearly two decades of personal and professional brewing experience and transforms it into beer. His brewery regularly churns out several types of beer seen in local bars and restaurants, including Comfortably Blonde ale, named for its viability as a session beer, and Hat Trick Tripel, named for the Belgians’ proficiency at being magicians.
Attached to the brewery is a tap room, where guests can enjoy pints while watching games or catching up with friends. The watering hole also dispenses take-home growlers of any of the beers on tap, which include several experimental and theoretically impossible beers only available at the brewery. Though not a restaurant, the tap room keeps a stack of menus from local restaurants on hand, and orders delivery from them when asked.
Flatlander's pampers malt-pining palates by balancing a seasonal lineup of more than seven house-made brews with a diverse menu ranging from classic pub fare to gourmet entrees. Beer flights guide diners through five distillations and the on-site brewmaster ensures appetizers highlight each brews best qualities, matching seared asian ahi to the crispness of the Jackson Wit and spicy jumbo wings to the Flatlander IPA's training as a firefighter. Thick cuts of homestyle meatloaf and crispy morsels of fish and chips embody the roles of classic pub fare, subtly supported by gourmet-inspired castmates such as linguine pomodoro and USDA-prime center-cut filet mignon. An arsenal of 13 hearty burgers accessorized with toppings such as pulled pork, guacamole, or fried onions gratify any diet while bookended around a choice of USDA-prime chuck, ground turkey, veggie, or peppermint patties.
More than 25 breweries ready their kegs in anticipation of the Holiday Beer Tasting, where guests can sip more than 100 varieties of craft beer and ciders paired with a spread of filling snacks. Hops-wranglers from houses of brew such as Flying Dog, New Belgium, and Crispin Cider Company pour unlimited samples of their foamy creations for attendees to rank by taste, body, and how much the bubbling carbonation's sound resembles drum solos. Free-flowing foods accompany the libations, such as tacos, nachos, and sausages perched atop fresh rolls, intermingling their flavors with the beverages and soaking up any spilled head.
One of several annual fundraising events dedicated to subsidizing the Milwaukee Air & Water Show, Bay View Wine Fest gathers quality wines and wine aficionados for an evening of enological appreciation. Vendors dispense pours of reds and whites that attendees can pair with samples of locally made cuisine, and sommeliers in training can treat their palates to a reserved wine-flight tasting. Partial proceeds from the event go to Wisconsin Adopt a Golden Retriever. If guests tire of the puppies in attendance they can boogie the night away on the festival dance floor.
Play takes place on the brewery's brand-new sand courts. Each game comes with a free pitcher of Horny Goat beer for each team, and every member of your bikini/mankini squad gets a free T-shirt, ideal for competitive play or competitive drinking. Prizes will be awarded for the top 10 teams, with the champions receiving a party for 40 people complete with 80 beers and 20 pizzas.