Some of the Best Beer Ive ever had…I found in Glendale…Wisconsin.

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So many breweries so little time. If you think Wisconsin only brews Miller you’re wrong. Wisconsin has quite the craft beer scene. Being in Milwaukee only 4 days and there for a family reunion with my sons in tow I couldn’t visit every brewery so we chose a few. One I had been eyeing from afar (Los Angeles) via family check ins on Facebook was Sprecher Brewery. http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/index.php
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Although it seemed all of Wisconsin Breweries were family friendly (Bierlady advice: know your beer limits and only take well behaved kids) I was drawn to this Brewery as they seemed to have as many choices in soda as they did beer. http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php

As well as their “mascot” or their Label photo, it’s a Griffin. And if you know me Im a big fan of the Griffin, especially my 4 year old named, Griffin. I cant believe I missed the Rootbeer Griffin in the gift shop. I may have been eyeing the beers not the toys. http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/store/details.php?prodId=59&category=6 IMG_2361

The week before we headed to the Midwest I shoot out a few tweets to breweries we were interested in checking out. Would you believe Sprecher was the only brewery who immediately tweeted me back. Not only that but within minutes Anne Sprecher tweeted and messaged me that she would meet me at the brewery. Now that’s Midwest nice. I did end up meeting her and she was awesome.

It was the last full day of our trip, and really I should have learned by now that LA Siri does a lousy job in Milwaukee, we used my Iphone to get us to the brewery and of course she took us off course. Maybe she was confused as we have some great breweries in Glendale, CA…sigh…SO we were 10 min late and missed the noon tour. The next was at 1:30 and we werent quite sure if we would be there that long (boy were we wrong, 3.5 hours later…) so we asked if we could just go in their tasting room. The staff was quick to accommodate us and it actually ended up being great. We brought several relatives along. Remember Julie who left me the beer, and Dale and Melissa who were our beer buddies all weekend? They were there. Along with my sweet Aunt Karen and our boys.

They gave us our tasting bracelets IMG_4690that you get with the tour price of a mere $5 (no seriously giant tasters, a tour and you get to keep the glass for 5 bucks) and sent us into their beer hall. The bartendress was kind enough to give us our first taster IMG_4673 before she started taking our tabs from our bracelets.

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So many beers to taste. WHERE do we start? In truth I don’t remember where I started but I will say there was not ONE fail in the bunch. Not only did I get my tasters but we kinda all shared at the table, and then went back for our favorites. Along with a few tasters Anne gave me so that I didn’t have to wait in line. (Our private biergarten quickly filled up with the tour of probably 60 people).

In my time there I tried, Sprechers Hard RootBeer. IMG_4677 Now this could REALLY get you in some trouble. WOW was this good! It was Rootbeer, with a kick I didn’t really taste, hence the trouble part. In the same vein they had a Hard Ginger Beer, which was pretty fantastic as well. I could make a GREAT Moscow mule with that one. Rounding out the sweeter “beers” and “ciders” I tried my FAVORITE of the bunch, Sprechers Hard Apple Pie.

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This is a must try for all cider drinkers/lovers. So good. So apple. So Pie.

I can’t even describe it other than saying it was perfect.

Some of our other tasters include their Pub Brown Ale, Special Amber, Black Bavarian, http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/beer.php?cat=1
Irish Style Stout, Witty, Abbey Triple, http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/beer.php?cat=3 IPA2, Summer Pils, Piper Scotch Ale, Cider De Pomme, and their Grapefruit Radler. WHEW! I told you we tried all of it! And not one bad one in the bunch. They really hit the taste of everyone in our group. IMG_4661 My husband liked the Abbey Triple, Cousin Julie liked the IPA2, Dale was drinking the Black Bavarian and his dad works at Miller, and as I was leaning toward the ciders and the Summer Pils…my cousin Melissa who I have NEVER seen drink any beer other than a cider not only loved but ended up buying their Pipers Scotch Ale, http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/beer.php?cat=3

I wont go into great detail on the “malty flavor” or the “hops used” cause I know you don’t care that much. But what I will tell you is these beers should be available in CA well EVERYWHERE for that matter. I think their ciders and sodas would bring such joy to the LA VEGAN BEERFEST. http://www.veganbeerfest.com/

IMG_4701And really I want to be able to go to my local store and get them.

I did a lil research and Im pretty sure my LA friends would love them too. Look when Sprecher entered some of their beers in the LA COUNTY FAIR competition

2006 L.A. County Fair
Special Amber: Gold Medal – Vienna Style Lager

Oktoberfest: Gold Medal – German-Style Marzen/Oktoberfest

Dopplebock : Gold Medal – Dopplebocks

Black Bavarian: Gold Medal – Robust Porter

Irish Stout : Gold Medal – Foreign(Export) Style Stout

Imperial Stout : Gold Medal – Imperial Stout

Winter Brew : Silver Medal – European-Style Dark/Munchnerdunkel

Sprecher Micro-Light: Silver Medal – English Summer Ale

Piper’s Scotch Ale : Silver Medal – Scotch Ale

Mai Bock : Bronze Medal – Bock Beers

Barleywine: Bronze Medal – Barleywines

Awards don’t lie! Check out some of their other awards: http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/awards.php

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Im always so impressed by a brewery that can do such a wide variety of beers and do them all well. We all know the breweries who have the lock on the IPA, or the ones we know can do a lager well, but to do them all across the board from a sweet apple cider to a Triple Abbey and everything in between without us spilling out one taster, IMG_2360not only has my attention but my respect.

I borrowed this from their websites History page, as I found it all interesting. And so true. This brewery can concentrate on making “craft” beer. That’s why its so good.
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Sprecher Brewing Co. was founded in 1985 by RANDAL SPRECHER, formerly a brewing supervisor at Pabst Brewing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From 1985 to 1994, the brewery was located at 730 W. Oregon Street in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point area. Through the first ten years the company grew steadily as more and more people found out about Sprecher’s high quality beers and sodas. …..
…..Like the biggest selling wines, many mass market beers are made to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible. This means they have to be produced at a highly competitive price and that they must offend no one. Much of the distinctive qualities of the traditional regional type brews is lost.
Sprecher and other micro-breweries have revived both the distinctive quality of regional beer and old world brewing methods as well. The term “Micro-Brewery” refers to the relative size of the brewery when compared to gigantic beer production facilities of mass marketed national brands. Where these “Mega-Giants” produce from 20 million on up to 90 million barrels a year each, a “Micro-Brewery” is a considerably small operation, brewing less than 15,000 barrels a year. Although some have grown to 50,000 to 100,000 barrels a year.
Quite a difference when you consider a barrel is equivalent to 31 gallons. In that respect, the smaller Micro-Breweries such as Sprecher can focus more on its specialty “Craft Beers” with an eye on the highest quality and tradition of European style brewing.
At the Sprecher Brewing Co. we are proud to participate in Milwaukee’s great brewing tradition and we’re grateful for the opportunity to present our best to you.

So happy to have tried all of the beers we could. Even happier they had a gift shop where we could bring some home. But now Im on a quest to get Sprecher out to Los Angeles for us all to enjoy. Cause I didn’t bring home enough to share with all of us. Sorry. I only had two suitcases.
For my Milwaukee relatives, keep up with them at http://blog.sprecherbrewery.com/

Anne thank you for your immediate kindness, and I look forward to you visiting Los Angeles, I promise to take you to Tony’s Darts Away http://tonysda.com/ for some CA Brews!

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PS When Your RedHead Ale is around will you let me know. I will send a super cool cousin to pick some up for me and send it to this redhead!

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Bierlady on Tour LAX TO MKE or BUST Volume 1

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LAX to MKE or bust the Bierlady traveled to the mothership of beer. The beer state. Well I guess technically its the Badger state, but I didn’t see any badgers.

I just spent the last 4 days in Milwaukee Wisconsin, in for a family reunion, but also there for research. Now I won’t lie coming from So Cal and being a beer person I’m a bit of a beer snob. I like good beer. And I went into my travels with a nose up. But Wisconsin you set me straight. Not only were you one of the first beer producing states in the U.S. But you’re still going strong. And your craft brews were awesome.

In full disclosure my husband said we’d checked into 35 new beers on Untappd Untappd_logoin those 4 days.

Mic drop our job is done.

So I have to do a running blog here of our trip. This entry, I’m going to start out with the beers we found and loved. Then do individual blogs for two of our favorite Breweries we went to: IMG_2181Lakefront Brewery and IMG_2363Sprecher both OUTSTANDING beers and tours and people, then blog about our Tour of the vast small city of Miller. IMG_4483 My Uncle works for Miller Coors so it was amazing to see beer brewed at that capacity. More on that later.

Upon arrival in Wisconsin we were greeted in our room by beers left for us from my cousin Julie. (Love you Jules) it was our first beer in my homeland and ended up being from a brewery that was for sure in our top 3. IMG_4349 New Glarus. http://www.newglarusbrewing.com/ We were told prior to our trip about their magical brews and wanted to visit them but alas we were only there a short while and it was a few hours away. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying many of their Beers. We had a 6 pk of Moon Man (abv 5%) IMG_4346 waiting for us in our room and I gotta say that remained in my top favorites. A No Coast Pale Ale (being west coaster I laughed aloud). Great beer exactly what you want from a pale ale. Not overly hoppy and full of flavor slightly citrusy but don’t let that sway you away, you pilsner drinkers. This is a great beer.

That night we met up with my cousins Dale and Melissa (our beer buddies for the weekend,) and we visited theIMG_2144 Safe House http://safe-house.com/mainmenu.html a super fun bar restaurant where you have to know the secret location and password to get in. Or they may make your family act like cheerleaders in front of a secret camera that projects to everyone inside the bar (I tried the password of beer didn’t work) there we tried the infamousIMG_2143 Spotted Cow also from New Glarus. We heard if you’re in Wisconsin you must try that beer from more than a dozen people. They were right. Spotted Cow is that beer I search for. Now their website calls it a “Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale” but I put it on par with a great session (meaning low alcohol, this one is 4.8%) beer packed with flavor. And that great bread finish that says beer to me.

After the Safehouse,IMG_4365 as responsible parents do, we dropped our boys off with another cousin to babysit as my cousin Julie, remember her, she left beer in my room, well she took us to Delafield Brewhaus IMG_4401http://www.delafield-brewhaus.com/ where we had our first tasting of many Wisconsin beers. They brew their own and of the ones I had and Mr Beerman I can were great!
We tried, the Naga-Wicked Pale Ale, the Pewaukee Porter, Bengal Bay IPA, and their Oats and Barley Stout. I wont talk too much on this topic, as they are a brewhaus and as far as I know don’t bottle so unless you are headed to Milwaukee..but none the less wanted to mention them.

On Friday we were lucky enough that the party my aunt through for us (love you Aunt Karen) had some of New Glarus’s Black Top IMG_2281 a black IPA this has a slightly higher Abv (6.9%) but again just a super drinkable beer.

Saturday we headed to my family reunionIMG_4588 and picked up a 6 pk of their Totally Naked.

IMG_2296This is one of their seasonal beers so guessing if you can get it, get it now, its described as a Wisconsin Lager. And that it is! That’s the beer I think my folks drank but with FAR more flavor. That perfectly balanced malt, hop with a bread finish. So good.

We heard about their Two Ladies beer (Note my cousins think it’s funny when my Uncle has a Totally Naked, and Two Ladies, a lager in hand. Well played brewers and namers) we have not tried it but brought some home to LA along with their Yokel another seasonal Lager. I’m sure they will be great.

New Glarus I can see by your website and Beer Advocate I have barely scratched the surface of what you brew. Sorry we couldn’t make it up to try you in person. Next trip for SURE!

Some other beers we had to take note of because they were super tasty were:
Capital Brewery’s Amber, http://capitalbrewery.com/beer-type/wisconsin-amber/,
Point from Stevens Point Brewery, thanks to my cousin Jason who lives near there, http://www.pointbeer.com/point-amber-classic/ and
Oktoberfest from Water Street Brewery, https://www.waterstreetbrewery.com/.
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Special shout out to this brewery because of its memorabilia wall.IMG_2174 Walls and walls of vintage beer cans. So cool. And taps as well.IMG_4412 I wish we were not on our way to another brewery tour and had to eat and drink fast. Or we would have sampled more of their beers. But I did have this one twice, once at the brewery and I found it again at Summerfest http://summerfest.com/ .IMG_2319

This was just the tip of the beer iceberg for our trip. Friday day we took a tour of Lakefront Brewery and sampled all of it. And did that Miller Tour I spoke of. Sunday we thought we were going to spend an hour at Sprecher Brewery, well, 4 hours later, and several 6pks to bring home…means these breweries deserve their own blogs.

Stay tuned for more LAX TO MKE or BUST!
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The Bierlady reserves the right to update the blog should her husband or any cousin remember a beer she liked and forgot to mention. 4 days, 35 beers, things are slightly blurry.