One of the original craft breweries in Milwaukee Lakefront Brewery has been brewing long before it was the cool thing to do. With 18 great beers on tap, a fun brewery tour, and some excellent traditional Milwaukee foods – you need to put this place on your list if you are visiting from out of town.
The History of Lake Front Brewery
This brewery has been around since 1987, it is a Milwaukee landmark with humble beginnings. The brewery was started by brothers Russ and Jim Klisch. They started brewing for family and friends, then were encouraged to set up a location which led to a lot of success. The current building is filled to the brim with Milwaukee history having been a government building that housed the cities coal power plant in the early 1900s.
The Beer and Service
The Lakefront Brewery has a huge selection of beer available every day. They also have fun seasonal options. What is really great are the organic and gluten-free options available. Finally, they offer limited releases of very special beers. Some of their most popular beers on tap include the Lakefront Fuel Cafe, an organic coffee stout. The Lakefront IPA, which is an India pale ale that is delicious. There are also the Lakefront Pils, a German Pils which is a favorite.
The Famous Lakefront Brewery Tour
The tour at the Lakefront is unique compared to other tours and they come packed with freebies and a great time. The tour currently comes with a free pint glass, and 2 – 16 oz pint pours. In the past, there was more beer, but too many people had too much fun – and they’ve had to scale it back a bit with the beer. However, the jokes and fun are still very much a part of the experience and this tour is still one of the best brewery tours in Milwaukee.
First, this brewery is family-friendly but if you choose to bring anyone under 21 you’ll have to be their legal guardian. This means that brothers and sisters, as well as aunts, uncles, or grandparents, do not count. So plan ahead if you are bringing kids.
For those under 21, they have ways for you to participate too. They have their very own house-made Maple Root Beer and sodas like Coke and Sprite as well.
The tour will last about 45 minutes. This length may not be suitable for smaller children. It is geared to adults even though families are welcome. A great benefit is that kids 12 and younger will not be required to have tickets
Buy Tickets for the tour online
If you are going to go, definitely buy the tickets online. They presell 45 tickets online and will only take 15 people as walk-ups for every tour. If you don’t pre-buy your tickets you’ll risk not being able to go on the tour.
If you do walk up for tickets know that everyone has to do so. They won’t issue tickets unless there is a person for every ticket. Consider your plans when buying tickets because they don’t offer refunds. You can call early to see if they have tickets available and for when so you’ll only have to take one trip.
The tours from Monday through Thursday are only $11. This would be the best time for kids. That’s because the tour will be briefer due to the production of beers and drinks that happen in the brewery. The price is a bit cheaper as well as the smaller crowds will make it easier to do with a smaller crowd.
Mini Tour (currently not running)
Another option is their 8 dollar mini-tours on Saturdays that happen 5 minutes after every hour. They have the same free items but its brief and does not include a full tour of the brewery, instead, you can look through large windows as your guides explain. These tours aren’t always offered, just when the regular tours are full. However, if you have the chance it can be a great option.
The weekend are $12 and are going to be busier. If you are going on the weekend it is even more important to buy your tickets online. Otherwise, you’ll have to come really early to get those walk-up tickets.
Something really unique to the lakefront tours is that they give full tours in Spanish. They do have to be arranged in advance, but that is a really great option.
Technical Tour (not currently running)
The technical tour is a newer option on Saturdays at 11:00 AM, however since covid this has been suspended indefinitely. This is for the homebrewers or those really enthusiastic beer drinkers wanting to learn more. You will learn the actual process of beer making. This tour has a special tasting that pairs food like especially meats cheeses, fruit, and chocolate with the beers. It is a small tour that has tickets that must be purchased in advance online.
If you are going on this tour make sure to wear closed-toe shoes! If you have a group of 20 or 50 you can arrange a private tour.
Lakefront Brewery Food
The food options at the Lakefront are what most would consider to be upscale bar food. They have pretzels, chicken strips, chili cheese fries, mac and cheese that can come in several ways.
On Fridays, they fry up a lot of fish putting on one of the best fish fries in Milwaukee. For both lunch and dinner, you can grab a basket of freshly fried cod. If you happen to visit on a day other than Friday, you can still get a beer-battered fried fish taco, while not the same – it’s still pretty darn good.
In our humble opinion, Lakefront has some of the best cheese curds in Milwaukee. Fresh, gooey white cheese in a thin crispy batter.
They also have tacos, sandwiches, sausages, and salads of all kinds. Their vegetarian options are great too. Oh and ice cream sundaes made with beer caramel and candied pecans!
Lakefront Brewery Hours of Operation
- Monday – Thursday: 4:00-9:00pm
- Friday & Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm.
- Sunday’s 11:00am- 5:00pm.
The space inside the brewery is large enough for any big group to feel comfortable. Their beer hall is lively and fun. Even with the larger crowds, it’s family-friendly. Lakefront Brewery a perfect place to have a couple of beers with some great snacks. The parking is fairly abundant.