By Joseph Boyle and Jonathan Powell
Good news, local beer aficionados: now that the weather is finally beginning to settle down, Milwaukee’s beer gardens are getting ready to open for the summer.
So if the bar scene is starting to look a little cramped after last winter, you can get your fill of social drinking fun in the sun starting this month at the Estabrook Park Beer Garden. It all starts with a free keg and live music. Need we say more?
Estabrook Park Beer Garden: There’s a garden, what a garden… The self-professed “first truly public beer garden in America in nearly 100 years” will be holding its 2016 season opener on April 23, where they’ll roll out a free barrel at noon. The barrel of fun that follows includes half-priced brews while Blaskapelle Milwaukee rings out songs of good cheer. Less than a week later comes Maifest, a springtime celebration that honors the city’s German roots with Maibock and music. Festivities kick off April 28 at 5 p.m. and continue through May 1. The beer garden is open through October.
Humboldt Park Beer Garden: The craft beer garden will be open from May 5 (“Cinco de Beer Garden,” as they call it) to Oct. 2, and will serve beer from noon to 9 p.m. every day in between. The garden’s Tap Takeover series will showcase a different Wisconsin brewery every week. Any up-and-coming brewers looking to contribute can contact Humboldt Park Beer Garden on their website.
The Landing at Hoyt Park: Starting May 18, the Landing will offer visitors live music, German-influenced food, and, of course, various draft and packaged beers. The park is open from 3 to 9 Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 9 on Saturdays and Sundays. However, it is closed during the beginning of the working week, so if you’ve got a case of the Mondays, you’ll have to find a cure elsewhere.
Scout Lake Beer Garden: This beer garden, operated by the same people behind Estabrook, offers imported beer from Munich’s Hofbräu Brewery and authentic German food. However, it will only be open from June 10 to June 21, so make sure to stop in for a brew while you still can.
South Shore Terrace: A newer addition to Milwaukee’s beer garden roster, South Shore Terrace first opened last August; County Executive Chris Abele cut the ribbon himself.
UPDATE (April 15): South Shore will host to the official opening of beer-garden season on April 20 with a ceremonial keg tapping at 4 p.m. Going forward, the terrace beer garden will be open Wednesday–Friday from 4–10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
The Traveling Beer Garden: Take in fresh brews and fresh scenery with this collaboration between Sprecher Brewing Co. and Milwaukee County Parks. With 12 stops on the tour from May 18 to Sept. 16, folks from Hales Corners to Fox Point and everything in between can enjoy 10 on-tap Sprecher beers, as well as five-sample flights, gluten-free beer, hard sodas, sodas, and root beer floats with souvenir glasses to boot, right in their own back yard. Plus, this year they’re introducing a series of 5K races that end at a Traveling Beer Garden so patrons can work up a proper thirst before guzzling down.