The thing about brewery tours is that sometimes people take themselves WAY to seriously. At Lakefront this is not the case. I walked into the large beer hall and found myself a spot at the bar. To familiarize myself with their beer I ordered a taster plate. Since I was indecisive about which beers I wanted to try the bartender picked them out for me. I could tell he was sizing me up as to what kind of beer he would choose for me. He poured a few beers and after I noticed the light colors of the beers that he was bringing back to me I announced “I like hoppy beer”. No need to beat around the bush, I wasn’t going to be happy if he brought me a bunch of blonde ales.
The tasting plate had the following beers: Klisch Pilsner. Eh it’s a pilsner and tasted like a German beer should. I quickly moved on to the next beer, Wheat Monkey. This beer was cloudy, like a good wheat beer should be. It had an interesting lemony flavor that was very pleasing. My third beer was the Riverwest Stine. This is the beer Lakefront is known for. It is a classic amber lager which was low on hop flavor but had good malt flavors. Fixed Gear was my fourth beer. It is a red beer and about a year ago I was all about red beers… now I’ve moved on to IPAs. Their low hop is not enough to satisfy my palate. I also did not get the supposed citrus pleasure the tasting notes had promised. My last taste was the Bridge Burner. This was recommended by our tour guide and it was delightful. This beer is classified as a red but it had some good hop to it as well as caramel malty notes.
So speaking of the tour guide, Sammy the “cutie on duty” as he introduced himself to us informed us that a beer was required for the tour. Once we had all obtained our beers we were filed into a room overlooking the fermenting tanks. Here Sammy gave us a brief history of the brewery including the story of how the old industrial brick building that the brewery is in was acquired by the owners for $1. The building had been destined to be taken down as the area was run down and underdeveloped. Since the brewery’s arrival the area has been built up complete with “brewery themed” apartments next door.
As we moved through the brewery Sammy gave us opportunities to win additional beer tasting tickets, quizzing us on brewery equipment and our knowledge of the Laverne and Shirley song lyrics. Laverne and Shirley worked in a brewery in Milwaukee, hence the reference, if you did not know 🙂 We also learned about the inappropriately named bunghole and bunghole whacker… The bunghole is the hole in the side of a keg and the whacker whacks the bunghole into the hole. Sammy of course got a kick out of telling us as majority of us did not know bunghole as beer terminology thanks to our friends Bevis and Butthead.
The tour ended back in the tasting room and I was starving. The bar was outfitted with a small menu of food so I ordered a cheese plate (I was in Wisconsin, how could I not?) and a couple of soft pretzels. I also pretty much shut the place down by myself… they close at 8pm and with my time difference it was still 6pm for me!
Lakefront Brewery is located at 1872 N Commerce Street. They are open 7 days a week, offering tours all 7 days. Tour tickets will set you back $7 but you do get 4 drink tokens and an amusing tour throughout their brewery.