You had to figure when a load of German immigrants moved into an agricultural area in 19th century America, beer was going to happen. And so it did in the state of Wisconsin. Many of the most famous names in American beer hailed from Milwaukee or other parts of this Midwestern state: Blatz, Leinenkugels, Schlitz, Heilemen (of Old Style fame), and of course Pabst and Miller. Everyone had their local brewery and many of these died during Prohibition. Competition and buy-outs whittled down the numbers when beer became legal again and really by about 1970 there were only a few giants left. Today, Miller is a global brand thanks to its merging with Coors and South African Breweries. But this is all just mass market beer. In the 1980s, starting with Randy Sprecher, a former Pabst employee, the “microbrewery” appeared. Craft brewing grew slowly then exploded as everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
Today there are over 90 breweries in Wisconsin and many of them can barely keep up with demand just as more and more towns show planned breweries in the coming year. Besides the obvious increase in choices for the beer drinker, this also means ROAD TRIPS! What better way to see this lovely state where the glaciers once hunkered down and created a crap ton of lakes? And for those interested in finding all these places, you are in luck: there’s a travel guide specifically aimed at taking you to the local breweries, and you might even be in for a free beer when you get there. Each brewery has its own pages with directions and the important details (got food?). There’s also info on what to see close by (Stumbling Distance). Get your book signed in the treasure hunt sort of signature pages in back, and most places are giving away something or offering a discount. Many them are offering a free beer, in fact. Talk about “added value.”
Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide started out in 2006 (as The Wisconsin Beer Guide: A Travel Companion) and is now getting updates about every two years to keep up with the changes and to add a few more beer-related attractions.
Looking for something to do? Here’s a nice plan for a pilsgrimage. And it pays for itself 5 times over in free beer and other offers. We expect a companion app in the near future!