An Early Look at Like Minds MKE

Its original ownership now split, Like Minds MKE continues to match bites with brews.

[Editor’s Note: Like Minds Brewery ceased food service as of May, 2017.]

The year 2016 foamed over with craft breweries. Beyond the focus of beer in various styles, some area breweries are distinguishing themselves by the tenor of their taprooms. If they’re serving food, the idea is to end the perception that brew “pubs” are places that only pull the deep-fried card. Joining that redefined “tap-food” movement is Like Minds MKE.

The setting is like a minimalist Nordic beer hall, with seating that can be communal, or at the concrete-topped bar (facing the TV that shows old concerts by bands like Talking Heads) or with a bit more privacy – at a simple maple banquette. Graphics by the Like Minds’ beer label artists are expected to have a growing presence on the walls.

An interesting thing happened as we were going to press. A partner in Like Minds, Justin Aprahamian (also Sanford’s owner/exec chef ), decided to pull out of the business to focus on Sanford and his growing family. Aprahamian’s input on the beer and the cuisine were certainly felt on visits I made before his departure, which came just a few months after Like Minds’ delayed opening. Taproom chef Paul Funk, a Hinterland alum, was – at press time – continuing to run the kitchen.

Sesame roasted carrots. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

John Lavelle, the other half of Like Minds, says he expects the menu to reflect more of Funk’s influence. But hopefully some nuggets of the original offerings will remain, as they were not only tasty, but paired well with Like Minds’ niche-y beers. Best of them were the battered, fried preserved lemon slices with watercress aioli ($4); sesame roasted carrots with tahini, Syrian red pepper, orange-sumac oil and walnut puree ($10); and – an Aprahamian contribution – Armenian flatbread topped with spiced lamb, fresh mint, yogurt and lemon cucumber ($9). The house-ground burger ($12) was certainly juicy enough and sered on a good, chewy pretzel roll, but I wished for more flavor from the foie gras butter and pickled grilled onions. An unusual plate I’d like to see again is the sisig – Filipino fried pork (pig head) with rice, pickled veggies and a poached egg ($13).

This transition means significant challenges, and I hope they weather them all. The beers are the heart of Like Minds, and our brew scribe Dan Murphy thinks they continue to impress. For which beer matches your taste, see his chart at left. ◆

Like Minds MKE
823 E. Hamilton St., 414-239-8587

Tues-Sat dinner; Sat lunch; Sun brunch.


Young, still learning.

Accepted for parties of four and up.

Which Like Minds Beer Is For You

By Dan Murphy

Palate: Hopheads who like things bitter
Match: Horehound IPA

Palate: Malt lovers who prefer stout to be decadent
Match: Dark Tower Imperial Stout

Palate: Hopheads who prefer a citrus bite
Match: DK-67 Pale Ale

‘An Early Look at Like Minds MKE’ appears in the January 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.