I believe taking brewery tours is a civic duty if you are a Milwaukeean. I used to think they were just something to do when friends came from out of town, but here’s the thing; If you’re from Milwaukee, it just seems like you should be able to tell anyone who might stop you on the street how beer is made. It’s a matter of pride and history and the evolution of the city. Plus, you can get a buzz while you’re learning. Milwaukee Brewing Company is a fun place to do just that.
WMSE Development Director Justin Shoman and I grabbed a few friends and joined the crowd gathered at the 2nd Street brewery to learn about the operation that has been bringing us Louise’s Demise and Pull Chain Ale since 1997. Upon arrival we were handed a MKE Brewing pint glass and asked with what we would like it filled. Then, after a charming introductory video, Jeremy, our tour guide, gave us the agenda for the rest of the tour. “I blather at you, we go get beer. I blather at you some more, we go get more beer, etc.,” he said. The group seemed pretty amenable to this plan.
I will not lie, I seem to remember the stuff from the beginning of the tour a little better, as one might imagine, like all the great ways MKE Brewing uses green technology to make their product including solar energy, sending the used mash to Growing Power for use in compost, and water conservation. They are so committed to recycling, if a bottle is not filled properly, instead of dumping the beer out, they drink it.
I’m not going to tell you all we learned on anyway, because the brewery tour is your civic duty, too. In fact, when you take the tour, find the answers to these questions to prove your devotion to the industry that made Milwaukee famous:
1) From what 70s TV icon did the brewery purchase equipment?
2) Before prohibition, Wisconsin led the country in production of what?
3) How is the brewery kept at a reasonable temperature?
4) Beer tastes better out of a (fill in the blank).
Milwaukee Brewing offers several year-round and seasonal beers fitting the varied palates of our party members. Justin and I were particularly fond of Black Iron, an India Black Ale. Somebody did not bother trying the other beers and stuck to refills of this black beauty.
WMSE has a mutual love fest with Milwaukee Brewing. They have been long-time sponsors of both the Food Slam and Chili Cook-off, donating a significant portion of the beer for both events. As further proof of the fine pairing of brewery and radio station, while we were there we ran into WMSE Music Director Erin Wolf and Brandon Malacara who happened to be sporting some WMSE swag.
Milwaukee may be the butt of jokes and the holder of certain reputations because of its brewing foundation (possibly, of course, because of one debatably hilarious/corny TV show ), and while perhaps we are sometimes deserving of said jokes and reputation, a tour at Milwaukee Brewing Company can bring out a certain pride of living in a city that, like the folks at the brewery, is innovative, hard working, committed to craft and, of course, fun-loving.
Justin’s musical pairing: “Drunk Girls” LCD Sound-system
by Food Slam blogger Steph Kilen