Why You Don’t Want to Miss Winter Whales Brewfest This Weekend

It’s safe to say that the selection of local beers at the Winter Whales Brewfest, taking place on Saturday, is unlike any that Milwaukee craft beer drinkers have seen before.

In the world of beer, a whale is known as an extremely rare brew, and the Winter Whales Brewfest will be pouring 70 of them. 

This  inaugural beer fest includes pours like Eagle Park Naked Barrel-Aged Booze For Breakfast Imperial Stout, Gathering Place Barrel-Aged Wonderworker Biere de Garde and 1840 Brewing Hype Moves Fruited Sour Vegan Milkshake IPA. That’s just a small sample of all the whales this festival will offer. 

It’s an event that simply couldn’t have happened until recently, because only a few of the 19 Milwaukee-area breweries represented were in existence even four years ago. The fest is a testament to how Milwaukee’s craft beer scene has flourished, and gives craft beer fans the chance to taste some of the best beers offered by local breweries.

Winter Whales takes place on Saturday at Best Place (917 W. Juneau Ave.). It’s the creation of the Drink Brew City, a coalition of 20 Milwaukee-area craft breweries that was founded in 2016.

“As a collective brewery group, we are elated at the amount of truly spectacular beer being produced in our amazing city,” said Tim Pauly, who is on the Drink Brew City board of directors and is the owner of Broken Bat Brewery. “There’s creativity, ingenuity and downright amazing beers being pumped out on a monthly basis right now. A lot of the hard-to-find beers are only available for a short period of time at the taprooms and retail, so we wanted to find a way to bring most of those beers together in one place for folks to get their hands on.”

You can’t really have a beer fest without a wide range of breweries. Participation was a concern initially for Drink Beer City, but didn’t turn out to be a problem at all — a limited amount of VIP session tickets are already sold out.

“[We] were not sure what participation was going to look like,” said Elise Strup, the board’s president. “We knew that our five breweries would participate, then we looked at our list of members and knew there a were a few we could absolutely count on. We figured if we could get 12 breweries, we could pull off a fest. When we got 19, we were thrilled.”

Event Details

Location: Best Place (917 W. Juneau Ave.)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 11
Times: General Admission Session 1, noon to 4 p.m.; General Admission Session 2, 5 to 9 p.m.
Tickets: $50

Beer List

1840 Brewing Company

VIP (B2) | Sour/Wild Ale 6.7%
Hype Moves | Fruited Sour Vegan Milkshake IPA 8.5%
Damsel | Gose 4.5%

Bavarian Bierhaus

Schmutzig Helles | Helles Lager 5.2%
Baltic Porter | Baltic Porter 7.5%
Bells and Chains | Barrel-Aged Doppelbock 9%

Black Husky Brewing

Sproose | Double IPA 8.6%
Sparkly Eyes | Imperial IPA 10.1%
St. Nikkilaus | Spiced Holiday Beer 8.3%
Lemon Ginger Gose | Gose 3.9%

Broken Bat Brewing Company

762* | Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 10.1%
Barrel-Aged Barleywine | Brandy Barrel-Aged Barleywine 8.7%
Very Pale Ale | Double IPA 9.1%

Company Brewing

2018 Holiday Party | Rum Barrel-Aged Belgian Quad 12%
Thousandfold | Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 10%
Riverwest Brewery Syndicate Series #2 | Dulce de Leche Stout 9.5%
Moon Beer | Hazy IPA 4.9%

Component Brewing

Haze the Lord | New England IPA 6.5%
Stampede | Fruited Sour Ale 6%
Candy is Dandy | Fruited Sour Ale 7.1%
Chocolate Cherry Vanilla Stout | Stout 9%

Eagle Park Brewing

DDH Bowie’s Space Suit | New England IPA 8%
Brambleberry Puree | Fruited Sour 8%
Huey Lewis and the Booziest | Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown Ale 11%
Naked Barrel-Aged Booze for Breakfast | Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 12%

Explorium Brewpub

Milwaukee County Stout | Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 12%
Peanut Butter Jelly Tart | Flanders Red with Fruit & Peanuts 6%
ChocoLite | American Lager with Chocolate 5%

The Fermentorium

Cookies & Cream Sweater Weather | Imperial Milk Stout 8.4%
Pilot 0x65 | Raspberry Berliner Weisse 5.8%
2017 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Operation: Nighthawk | Imperial Stout 8.5%
2017 Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged Bootlegger’s Mark | English Barleywine 10.5%

Gathering Place Brewing

2017 Barrel-Aged Wonderworker | Biere de Garde 8.6%
2018 Barrel-Aged Wonderworker | Biere de Garde 8.4%
Storm & Stress | German Black Lager 4.9%
Conversation Starter | Indian Pale Ale 6.3%

Lakefront Brewery

2017 Black Friday Vintage Reserve XXX | Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 3 Year Blend 16.8%
My Turn: DeSantis | Italian Grape Ale 8%
Small Tank Series: Kveik IPA | Norwegian Kveik w/ Mango & Guava 6.6%

MKE Brewing Company

Plowed In Winter Ale | Imperial Brown 8%
Golden Lager | American Lager 4.3%
Admiral Stache | Bourbon Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter 8%
Louie’s Cherry Bounce | Brandy Barrel-Aged Amber Ale 10.2%

Mobcraft Beer

Mahallo Malo | Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 11.5%
Padishah | Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 11%
Brettanomyces | Brett Golden Ale 6%
2018 Existence | Belgian-Style Sour Ale 10%
2019 Existence Brandy Barrel | Belgian-Style Sour Ale 10%
2019 Existence Mango | Fruited Belgian-Style Sour Ale 10%
2019 Existence Raspberry | Fruited Belgian-Style Sour Ale 10%
Sour Golden Ale | Barrel Aged Sour 6.8%
MobCraft IPA | Classic IPA 6.5
Gier Bier Premium Lager | Lager 4.3%

New Barons Brewing Cooperative

Spike’s First Flight | Belgian Tripel 8.5%
4×4 | American Pale Ale 5%
You Down With OTP? | Extra Special Bitter 6%
Pecan Porter | Porter 6.3%

Raised Grain Brewing Company

2018 Anniversary Stout | Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 10%
Les Trois Docteurs Belgian Quad | Barrel-Aged Belgian Quad 9%

Sahale Ale Works

El Fuego | Imperial Stout w/ Cocoa, Cinnamon, Vanilla, & Peppers 8.5%
Warm Fuzzies | Double Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 12.6%
Maple Warm Fuzzies | Double Bourbon and Maple Syrup Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 12.1%

Sprecher Brewing Company

XII Dragons | Bourbon Barrel-Aged Belgian Quad 14.1%
Winter Lager | Munich Style Dunkel 5.5%

Stock House Brewing Company

Caramel Apple | Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cream Ale Blend 7%
Guten Tag | Table Beer 4.9%
Hindsight is 20/20 | Barleywine 9% (VIP only)

Third Space Brewing Company

2019 Haunted Barrel | Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter 11.5%
Tom & Jerry Nexus Variant | Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout 12%
Haunted Joy Haunted Barrel Variant | Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter 11.5%
Mystic Cortado Mystic Knot Variant | Barrel-Aged irish Coffee Stout 10%



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.