Feb 25, 2015

Milwaukee Part 1

As we've mentioned a few times, it can be hard to survive a winter in the Midwest - with all the snow and below freezing temps, it's difficult to find the motivation to leave the house. To beat the SAD, we've tried to plan fun activities throughout the winter so we don't become hermits. Last year we decided to explore the beer scene of Milwaukee and, because we had so much fun, we decided to do it again - this time with 7 girls! 

Milwaukee is only about a 90 minute drive from Chicago, so we left mid-morning to get to there in time for lunch and to check into our hotel. Sidenote: I don't know Milwaukee extremely well, but we stayed at the Aloft hotel and I would recommend it. We didn't spend too much time there but it's trendy and on the cheaper side. They also had Bliss products in the bathroom, which was a plus for me!
The Hotel! via

We didn't have a plan for lunch but we spotted the Ale Asylum River House from our hotel and decided to go there. The Ale Asylum River House is located right on the Milwaukee River and in the summer I'm sure it is a great place to sit on the patio and relax. In the winter, it seems like a great place to watch a Marquette basketball game. For us, it was a great place to have a drink and eat lunch.

The beers at Ale Asylum River House all sounded delicious - all of the beers come from the brewery which is based in Madison. But because it wasn't yet 1:00pm, I decided to go for the (relatively) lower alcohol Hopalicious - a 5.7% American Pale Ale. Despite the "hop" in the name, it was actually less bitter than I thought it would be and was pretty easy to drink. It was a nice first drink for a day of drinking craft beers. A few of the others got the Unshadowed (a Hefeweizen), which I heard was also good. 
My poor attempt at capturing my beer (below empty cheese curd plate)

The menu at Ale Asylum was on the healthier/upscale side - meaning NO FRENCH FRIES - so I was a little skeptical. However, when my Avocado-BLT arrived (which the majority of our group ordered), I was completely satisfied. While I would have enjoyed some french fries with it and not root veggie chips, I would still probably eat there again. We also ordered the cheese curds as an appetizer and they were extremely delicious.

After lunch we headed to Lakefront Brewery. The Lakefront Brewery tour is really fun and a great deal. For $8 you get 4 6oz. beers (more like 8oz.), a tour, and a pint glass. Every beer that I had was very good. I had following: the Big Easy - an Imperial Maibock; the Oktoberfest - a little unseasonal but probably my favorite; the Cream City Ale - not at all creamy, see here; and Extended Play - a India Session Ale, less alcohol than a standard IPA which was good news for me.  While Lakefront is not a huge brewery, you can purchase their beers in almost every state

This was my second time on the Lakefront tour and it was just as enjoyable as the first (maybe one of the best brewery tours I've been on). The tour guides are always very knowledgeable, friendly, and witty. They also stop about halfway through the tour so that you can refill your beer! While I had heard everything on the tour before, I still had a lot of fun and our tour guide, Jack, was a treat. I highly recommend stopping by Lakefront, if you're ever in Milwaukee.

We went to another brewery and several other bars on Saturday. However, I reached my limit for craft beer after the Lakefront Tour and the rest of the day was a blur. I've only been to Milwaukee in the winter and I think I'm probably missing out - on more beer, cheeses, and sunlight. I'd love to go back in the summertime and actually be able to sit outside and walk around. There are a lot of great bars and restaurants and 24 hours did not give us enough time to explore. 

Part II coming on Friday!

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