America’s Dairyland is known for more than phenomenal cheese—beer is also a huge part of the culture in Wisconsin.
After all, residents of the state have been crafting brews since the 1830’s, and its largest city, Milwaukee, is nicknamed Brew City. But it’s easy to miss some of the small yet amazing brewing companies sprinkled across the Badger State. So we’ve rounded up some longtime favorites, plus a couple new faces, to check out on your next trip up north.
Elkhart Lake, a scenic resort town roughly an hour from Milwaukee, is home to our first recommended spot. Housed in a historic feed mill in the cute and walkable downtown lies SwitchGear Brewing Co, a relatively new establishment that was founded in the spring of 2017. Noteworthy menu offerings include the owner’s favorite Resorter Red Ale, the best-selling Pontoon Pounder IPA and seasonal ApriHop Apricot IPA. SwitchGear also produces its own beer cheese dip, which can be enjoyed inside the brewery with some pretzels.
A Midwestern legend, New Glarus Brewing Company, is an absolute must-see when visiting Wisconsin. This well-loved spot is known for using natural ingredients to craft high-quality brews. The most popular is their Spotted Cow ale, but New Glarus offers five other beers all year long, as well as special seasonal varieties. Note that New Glarus is purposely only available in Wisconsin, despite tons of requests to distribute across the country.
Door County Brewing Company is another spot making excellent Wisconsin beer. This establishment is located on the quiet side of the popular Door County peninsula, which is sometimes called “The Cape Cod of the Midwest.” DCBC is known for using local Wisconsin ingredients, like the area’s famed cherries, and the family-owned and operated microbrewery has been serving up sudsy goodness since 2012. Try their Polka King Porter or Little Sister Witbier on your next visit.
Another delightful haunt can be found in Lake Geneva, the long-beloved resort destination in southeastern Wisconsin. Sprecher Brewery is most famous for its root beer, which is some of the best you’ll find anywhere. They also offer brews of the boozy kind, like the Bavarian ale Hefe Weiss and a German-inspired lager called Special Amber. Additionally, Sprecher’s boasts other old-fashioned craft sodas like cream soda and cherry soda and a line of hard ciders and hard sodas.
While these are only some of the great Wisconsin breweries in the Badger State, we recommend putting them at the top of your list during a visit.