Once the landmarks have been photographed, the museums browsed, and statues hugged, there’s no greater way to get to know a city than to drink its beer. That goes double for Milwaukee, a city that was once dubbed the the “beer capital of the world.” There’s countless Milwaukee tours available, but Milwaukee brewery tours offer a unique take on the city’s history and enduring legacy. But you’re short on time. That’s OK! There is a way to take it all in—and stay safe and sober—in just a single day. Here are our tips.Stop #1: Pabst Brewing CompanyOf course it starts at Pabst, arguably one of the country’s most influential breweries. Tours start promptly at 11 a.m., which should give you ample time to get breakfast under your belt. An all-ages experience, Pabst’s Best Tour begins in the Blue Ribbon Hall and navigates various nooks and crannies of the Pabst enterprise. Along the way, you’ll learn the brewery’s history, watch retro beer commercials, and get photo ops with the historic Captain Pabst and King Gambrinus statues. Tip: A beer is included with the tour, but opt for one of the nonalcoholic options instead. You’ve got a big day ahead.Stop #2: Sprecher Brewing Co.It’s a bit of a hike north, but you won’t want to miss Sprecher, a 30-year-old staple of the Milwaukee beer scene. Tours run throughout the day and take you from the brewhouse to the aging cellar and up through the bottling line and warehouse. Samples are then passed out at Sprecher’s indoor beer tent, be it of the beer or soda variety. That’s right, Sprecher makes sodas, and you can sample them to your heart’s content. Tip: A little beer, a little soda. Balance is everything.Stop #3: Lakefront Brewery, Inc. A quick jaunt south leads you to Lakefront, a modern craft brewery with an eclectic selection, gluten-free options, and a cozy spot along the scenic Milwaukee River. Weekend tours are abundant, but do make sure you sign up early online. If you aren’t able to secure a reservation, however, mini tours are held five minutes after the hour, every hour. You won’t get as in-depth a tour, but you’ll still get free samples and a souvenir pint. Tip: As you sample, take note of your favorites. A pint is in your future.Stop #4: Lakefront Brewery Beer HallYou won’t have to travel far for lunch, as Lakefront boasts an onsite restaurant. The Beer Hall specializes in hearty, housemade recipes incorporating fresh ingredients from Wisconsin farms and local entrepreneurs. Enjoy a pint of the Lakefront beer you most enjoyed. You’ve earned it. Tip: One pint is enough. And eat! But eat light. Opt for the Power Salad or a deluxe pretzel. Don’t want to get sleepy. Stop #5: Miller Brewing CompanyThe modern beer scene owes a lot to Miller, another staple of the macro-brewing industry. Guided tours run an hour and span 155 years of history and the entirety of Miller Valley. That includes the brewhouse, packaging center, warehouse, and the historic Miller Caves. Tip: Hey, a cold Miller High Life never hurt anyone.Stop #6: Brenner Brewing Co.New to Milwaukee’s craft-brewing scene is Brenner, a brewery that incorporates the city’s arts and culture into its mission. This means that, before and after the early evening tour, you can enjoy local artwork from an adjacent gallery. Brewmaster Mike Brenner is often on hand for the tours, happy to discuss both the beer and the art. Tip: Now’s the time to relax. Brenner is open later than other Milwaukee breweries, and it feels good to buy local. Brenner is as local as it gets.
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