Beer Recommendations From Two Very Different Local Experts

One’s a politician, the other a certified beer judge.

With winter coming on fast, and the need to entertain oneself behind closed doors, preferably a pair belonging to a drinking establishment, we asked a couple well-known movers and shakers (in politics and beer, respectively) where they like to drink, and what they like to drink there.

Nik Kovac, East Side Alderman

Nik Kovac (left) and Rob Henken. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

Where to Drink

“There are too many great bars in this town for anyone to have a favorite, but if you’re looking for that classic corner bar, the three I would most recommend are actually all located mid-block. Wolski’s, Champions and Henry’s are neighborhood bars where you become a neighbor as soon as you walk in.”

What to Have

Riverwest Stein and East Side Dark are the two beers that made Lakefront Brewery famous, and deservedly so. You can’t have a bad sip of either.”

“The best newcomer on the scene is Black Husky Brewing. I like Dogfather and Vain [pale ales], but there is nothing bad on tap. Nobody else brews beer quite like Tim and Toni [Eichinger at Black Husky]. Every sip tastes like they meant it — nothing thin, nothing tame, and don’t drink too many because they pack a punch.”

Tom “Grynder” Ciula, Certified beer judge

Where to Drink

Tom Ciula. Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

Champps Americana is my go-to pub. They have over 50 taps and [owner Tony Lewanovich] always gets some of the highly prized new releases.”

“I love listening to Mike [Romans’] stories, and if a special beer is coming to Milwaukee, it always tastes best at Romans’ Pub.”

Erv’s Mug has been doing craft beer longer than people realize. I love Danielle, the owner, and Jason the bartender, and they serve my favorite wings in the city.”

What to Have

“Good City Brewing has quickly become a favorite of mine. A glass of Reward IPA is mandatory, as is an order of curry fries.”

 “Tyranena Brewing was my first love affair with a brewery. I always get a fresh glass of Bitter Woman IPA there. It’s my forever go-to IPA.”



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.