These are our beer expert's best-of-the-year picks
By a conservative estimate, Milwaukee-area breweries debuted well over 100 beers in 2018, and I drank every single one of them. Ha, no. But I try as many as I can, and these were my favorite new brews this year.
from Vennture Brew Co.
The Washington Heights neighborhood has embraced this brewery/coffee shop since it opened in July, and this breezy saison is a fitting tribute. Almost always available, it’s Vennture’s worthy bestseller: dry and bubbly, with gentle malt sweetness and just enough of the peppery phenols that make saisons so delightful.
It’s a shame that this helles was available only at Lowlands Group restaurants and the Good City taproom. Delicate but flavorful, nuanced but supremely drinkable, it’s everything a German lager can be. Here’s hoping it’s on tap next spring when a new Good City location opens in the entertainment complex next to Fiserv Forum.
This imperial stout take on Irish coffee – heavily dosed with Stone Creek’s 3 Volcanoes blend – was my favorite of Third Space’s first and wildly successful series of barrel-aged releases. The intense, roasty coffee aroma was tempered into balance with the barrel character and the stout’s own creamy, chocolatey deliciousness.
Really, this pick could be made by a random throw at a dartboard with any of maybe a half-dozen of Eagle Park’s fluffy New England IPAs. They’re varied in their hop flavors and aromas but consistent in excellence, and Demon Haze’s juicy pineapple-citrus character is nicely cut with a dank edge that’s rare in NEIPAs but welcome here.
OK, this Kölsch is an odd duck here as it debuted when Gathering Place opened in 2017, but it may be new to you because this Riverwest joint flies further under the radar than it ought to. Treffpunkt is a signature beer from a place that features traditional styles like Kölsch and hefeweizen accented with well-selected trends like brut IPA (the first in Milwaukee). Overlook it no longer.