The beauty of being a craft beer fan is that it’s a pursuit that doesn’t have to break the bank — assuming that you refrain from spending your paycheck by ordering rare brews online or stocking up on limited $25 four-packs at your favorite liquor store.
$25 and Under
Attend a Milwaukee Beer Society weekly meeting
Membership at the Milwaukee Beer Society isn’t exclusive. Show up at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) or wherever the group is taking a field trip on most Wednesdays of the year. For $10 to $20 the friendly society educates you on a specific style and lets you sample a few brews as well. It’s a learning experience, with plenty of flavor.
Spend Sunday with the Sugar Maple Brewery Series
On the last Sunday of each month, Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.) invites a craft brewery into the bar to explain their beers and their brewing process. For around $20, those in attendance can try a flight of four or five of the honored guest’s brews. Rare pours are frequent, which means you can try some pretty amazing beers at a bargain price.
$10 and Under
Take a brewery tour
Breweries like to show off how they do things, and beer fans benefit. It’s a safe bet that your favorite local brewery offers a tour of some sort, and it’s also highly likely that a sample or two is included with the visit. Two of Milwaukee’s craft beer pioneers, Lakefront Brewery (1872 N. Commerce Ave.) and Sprecher Brewery (701 W. Glendale Ave.), offer tours that include a fair amount of tasting. The weekend Lakefront tour costs just $11, and a Sprecher tour is a reasonable $8.
$5 and Under
Flannel Friday at Black Husky Brewing
Harkening back to its Northwoods roots, Black Husky (909 E. Locust St.) encourages its Friday patrons to wear flannel shirts. Those who comply with the dress code drink $4 pints until 5:55 p.m. If you happen to have a Black Husky flannel in your wardrobe, wear it because it’ll earn you a free first pint.
The Brewmaster’s Toast at Third Space Brewing
Every Friday at 5:45 p.m., Third Space (1505 W. St. Paul Ave.) taps a ceremonial “brewmaster’s keg” for thirsty patrons. A celebratory toast is given, and afterward everyone in the crowd drinks $1 beers from that keg until it runs dry. Cheers to frugality!
Volunteer at a Seek the Good Saturday
One Saturday morning each month, Good City Brewing (2108 N. Farwell Ave.) recruits volunteers to help out at a local non-profit for a couple of hours. It could be pulling weeds at the Urban Ecology Center or repairing donated books for the Next Door Foundation. Your good deeds don’t go unnoticed by Good City. Each volunteer (of legal drinking age) is rewarded for their altruistic efforts with a free beer.
Free Beer Friday at Old German Beer Hall
Show up at the Old German Beer Hall (1009 Old World Third St.) on Friday to partake in a free keg that taps at 6 p.m. It’s the cheapest of happy hours. Gemütlichkeit doesn’t have to be expensive.