The recent expansion of Milwaukee breweries was a long time coming. But with it came the need for promotion. Last summer a few local brewers got together and discussed that very need over a few beers. What came out of that meeting of the minds was the Milwaukee Craft Brewery League.
“Myself, Nick (Reistad) from Raised Grain Brewing, Mike (Brenner) from Brenner Brewing Co. and Matt (McCullough) from District 14 all sat down at a table in Brenner’s taproom and were talking beer,” said Henry Schwartz, founder of MobCraft Beer. “We thought we should do this on a regular basis. The conversation spitballed into involving more of the beer community. That’s how the first tap takeover started at Brenner last summer. We had a booming community, really overnight.”
Added Lakefront Brewery tour manager Dylan Mazurkiewicz: “The main focus of the league is to inspire Milwaukee residents, bars and establishments, and tourists to drink Milwaukee beer. Another focus is to show why we really are one of the leading cities for craft beer in our country.”
Since its formation the group has hosted takeovers and other events, but the big coming out party for the MCBL starts on Friday, July 28, with the start of Milwaukee Craft Beer Week.
The busy event schedule includes a food drive, tap takeovers, disc golf and a street party. But the highlight might be Wisconsin IPA Fest. On Saturday, August 5, breweries from all over Wisconsin are submitting their best IPA for judging and sampling at Third Space Brewing (1505 W. St. Paul Ave.). The event starts at noon and a winner will be chosen at 5 p.m. Admission is free and tickets for samples are available for purchase.
Milwaukee Craft Beer Week is just the start for a group that aims to buoy a rapidly growing Milwaukee craft beer scene. It’s nice to see that the MCBL is aware of its collective marketing power. Building new breweries is great, but in a crowded craft beer space it takes more than just that to get people drinking the locals.
“When you go to Denver or Portland, there isn’t a bar that you’ll go to that doesn’t have 80 percent local taps,” said Schwartz. “The communities are backing the breweries. There’s a lot more of that local love and we want to build that mentality here in Milwaukee. We want to get involved. We want to interact with people. That’s why we make beer, to enjoy it with other people who love it.”
Milwaukee Craft Brewery Week Schedule
Check out the event week poster for detailed information.
Friday, July 28: Collaboration release party. Travel between eight breweries—District 14, Enlightened, Eagle Park, MobCraft, Milwaukee Brewing, Broken Bat, Third Space and City Lights—via a free shuttle. 7 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, July 29: Milwaukee Brewfest at the Old Coast Guard Pavilion Park (1600 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.). 2 to 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 30: Brewmaster’s Open disc golf outing at Brown Deer Park (7835 N. Green Bay Ave.). Noon to 7 p.m.
Monday, July 31: Starting at Brewery: Risk, Reward and Red Tape hosted by The Explorium Brewpub (5300 S. 76th St.). 7 to 10 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 1: Liquid Bread Food Drive to support the Hunger Task Force at the Humboldt Park Beer Garden (3000 S. Howell Ave.). 3 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 2: #DrinkBrewCity Day means $1 off at all MCBL breweries.
Thursday, Aug. 3: MCBL Tap Takeovers at Urban Bay View (2301 S. Logan Ave.), World of Beer (418 N. Mayfair Rd.) and Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) .
Friday, Aug. 4: Amplified Ales Street Party at MobCraft (505 S. 5th St.). 3 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 5: Wisconsin IPA Fest at Third Space Brewing (1505 W. St. Paul Ave.). Noon to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 6: Project Terroir Beer Fest and Street Party at District 14 Brewery (2273 S. Howell Ave.). Noon to 7 p.m.