It was a few days before Memorial Day and we realized we were without plans. So we hopped on priceline and a few minutes later had booked the Hilton in downtown Milwaukee for just over $50 a night. Not too bad!
Saturday morning we stuffed our bikes in the car and took the quick drive up. Our first stop (after lunch) was at Great Lakes Distillery.
It was the perfect first stop!
They have a lovely tasting room and a great bartender who pretty much pointed us in the direction of everything we did that weekend.
We started out by trying a little sample of each of their spirits:
A gin, vodka, citrus vodka, rum, Kirsch, Grappa, and 2 kinds of Absinthe's.
The absinthe's are getting ready for us to drink them.
But first, they need some ice cold water dripped in so they do their magic!
See it changing colors? See the oil slick on top? That means it's almost ready to enjoy!
After a tour, our bartender offered us a cocktail. He could tell we were into the good stuff so he brought out all of his homemade bitters and syrups.
And then he mixed up this puppy which contained lime juice, pepper infused vodka, and rose water (along with a few other things...)
Next stop - Sprecher Brewery.
We took a tour
And then did their 10 course Reserve Beer and Cheese Pairing.
These were all the beers we tried:
I highly recommend the Reserve tasting but all-in-all, the beer's were just ok.
I can't remember where we went next... maybe just back to the hotel to relax for a little bit. But pretty soon after we found ourselves with more cheese...
... at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart Cheese Bar.
I had a wine flight, Adam had a few beers, and we enjoyed this delicious aged cheddar flight
Next, we went back to the hotel and found the series finale of Lost was re-airing on ABC. I refused to leave the room until it was over and then refused to leave the room because I was crying so hard but I finally cleaned myself up enough to head out for a nightcap and a late dinner.
At the recommendation of our new friends at Great Lakes Distillery, we walked over to Bacchus where Ira, the mixologist (who used to work at the Violet Hour in Chicago) crafted us a few amazing cocktails.
Ira sells his line of Bittercube bitters at Bacchus so we picked up a few flavors. I didn't get any pictures here but we highly recommend it, especially if Ira is working the bar!
Sunday morning we went to breakfast at Honey Pie. Oh My. Let me show you what Adam ate.
You start with a giant pile of handcut fries. You top them with BBQ pulled pork. And cheese sauce. And 2 eggs. And Bacon. And pickled jalapeno's if you are feeling saucy. Adam is always feeling saucy.
Nothing like a nice healthy breakfast to start the day off right!
Our big plan for Sunday was to take one of the Riverwalk Boat Brewery Tours. It was a 4 hour ride that took you to 3 breweries. You could take a tour and enjoy 2 pints at each one.
We started the tour at Lakefront Brewery (which is also the best of the three)
This also happened to be the best brewery tour we'd ever been on (and trust me, we've been on a lot!)
This guy is what made the tour so great. He was hilarious. And poured a mean pint.
After about an hour at Lakefront, we got on the boat.
The next stop was Milwaukee Ale House which has an awesome outdoor space.
And finally, we went to Rock Bottom, which is a chain. Some Rock Bottoms (Chicago, for example) are amazing. Some are not.
Either way, we were feeling pretty good when the boat pulled away from RB.
We rode our bikes back to the hotel and relaxed for a little while before trying to track down some dinner. Which sounds easier than it was. A lot of places were closed Sunday nights and we are too picky to just go anywhere without a recommendation, so instead, we went to the place that all of the other bartenders recommended (but which didn't have food) - Bryant's Cocktail Lounge.
Walking into this place is like walking into another time.
Like... 2am maybe?
Seriously, pitch black. You walk in and just stand there for a minute while your eyes try to adjust because you cannot see anything.
This place mixes up some amazing cocktails though. You just tell them what you like to drink and they will whip you up something brilliant! They make three types of drinks there: ice cream, tiki-inspired hurricane, and depression-era cocktails. I'm going to go ahead and insist you order a depression era cocktail ;)
Like I said, it's pitch black in there but I did get this picture of our awesome bartender
And this is with a 2 second exposure (ISO at 800)!
Since we seemed to be doing so well with our bartenders recommending the next place we went, we let him pick our dinner location: Lulu
Yup, Lulu also made great cocktails. I had the Mid-East Falafel Pita for dinner and loved it. Their Asian Slaw was awesome! I don't remember what Adam had but I know he didn't like it as much as I enjoyed mine. Guess he picked the wrong thing!
Well, that's our quick weekend tour of Milwaukee. We loved it! Who knew Milwaukee was such a classic cocktail haven? Can't wait to go back!