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Milwaukee Ale House

July 2, 2018

  • 233 N. Water Street
  • Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • (414) 276-2337
  • Website
  • Menu

Our trip to Milwaukee was a quick one.  Just two days.  The main objective was to go to the Milwaukee County Zoo.  We did that on the first day.  The second day in town was oppressively hot so we needed to find an indoor activity.

There are a couple of options downtown for kids so we thought that’s where we would head.  But first…lunch.

Sure, Milwaukee is known for it’s beer, brats, and cheese, but it’s the city that helped make American Adjunct Lager’s famous.  The craft beer scene in Milwaukee is still catching up.  Most of the places I could find didn’t do food or didn’t seem super family friendly  There was one though that stood out….so that’s where we headed to eat.

Milwaukee Ale House is on Water Street in the Historic Third Ward in downtown Milwaukee.  The restaurant takes up the first few floors of the Saddlery building between Buffalo and Chicago Streets.  The building dates back to the late 1800’s and has been home to a variety of different businesses before sitting empty for some years. It’s big claim to fame (according to the brewpubs website) is being home to the inventor of the hula hoop…though I can’t find any reference to either of the men credited with it’s invention being tied to Milwaukee.

Parking was awful.  I mean, it was the biggest pain in the ass.  I have no problem parking in a ramp and walking a couple of blocks, but SummerFest is going on in Milwaukee right now and the ramps and area lots are all charging event pricing all day.  That means, if we were to park in a ramp for the hour it took us to eat, it would have cost $20-$25.  We drove around the block four or five times before we finally found a car leaving a metered spot on North Broadway.  One more time around and we were done.  We were about to totally abandon this idea because we couldn’t find a spot to park.

Fortunately, we did find that parking spot because Milwaukee Ale House is pretty good.

The host stand was in the middle of the restaurant space between the bar and the dining room.  The large bar area is the first thing you see when you enter.  There’s a decent sized bar along one wall that was already fairly full for a Thursday morning.

The rest of that front space has large pub tables and a stage on top of gorgeous hard wood floors.  There are counters wrapped around all of the wood columns that hold up the floor above.  The rafters are exposed as are the brick walls the surround the space.

The dining room looks pretty similar to the bar except the tables are mostly four tops and booths.  We were taken to a booth in the back corner which worked out great for us to control the kids.  When we sat down around 11:30, there was only one other group in the dining area.  By 12:30 when we left, the dining room was damn near full.

The other option for dining is a cool one…but not on this 100 degree day.  There is a great deck right outside the back door along the Milwaukee River.  There are even docks with access to the deck so you can dock your boat or kayak and stop in for drink or two.

I started off with a flight.  I feel like I’ve had one or two of Milwaukee Ale House’s beers before but I couldn’t remember which ones so, I picked the ones that looked good on the draft lift.

I started off my flight with Weekend @ Louie’s.  This is a Tea Infused Amber Ale.  They use Hibiscus tea and Rishi Organic Blueberry Rooibos to flavor this one.  The tea flavor is strong in the taste and the smell.  It’s not overpowering though.  Definitely a different taste than what I’m used to.

Beer number two was Mr. Crantastic.  This one is a hefeweizen that’s part of the Brewer’s Day Off Series.  Hefe’s aren’t always my thing but I enjoyed this one.  It was a good palate warm up for the lunch that was on it’s way out.

The third beer was the Grapefruit IPA.  This one’s pretty self explanatory.  It’s flavored with Grapefruit Juice.  It’s not as strong as a citrus flavor as Perrin’s offering, but still pretty light and refreshing for an IPA.

My final selection was Hop Freak Double IPA.   I mean, come on, you know I’m not gonna pass this up.  This one also has a little bit of a tea flavor as it’s infused with Organic Jasmine Tea.  The bitter is strong an delicious with this one.

Milwaukee Ale House doesn’t have any ciders of it’s own or on tap but they did have a few bottles.  J picked the Reposado from Wyder’s Cider.  This bottle is a pear cider that has been aged in reposado tequila barrels.  It only clocks in at 6.9% abv but it hits you pretty hard.

We’re not normally appetizer people, but this one was too hard to pass up.  We started with Cheese Curds.  I mean, duh….it’s Wiscosin.  These little fried balls of deliciousness are Cheddar Cheese curds from Sassy Cow Creamery near Madison.   The curds get a beer batter before being fried.  They’re served with fries and a chipotle aioli.  These curds could be addicting.  The large pieces of cheese cling to the beer batter when they’re cut open.  B loved these.  That kid doesn’t eat much of anything but he kept asking for more.  I didn’t even try the aioli with the few I was able to eat because they were so good without it.

I picked the Black and Bleu Burger for my meal.  The Angus beef is seasoned with a cajun spice mixture.  It’s topped with bacon, gorgonzola cheese, and a house made BBQ sauce made with their flagship beer, Louie’s Demise.  The sandwich is served on a Miller Baking Company brioche bun.  This bun played a lot more like Ciabatta than brioche.  It soaked up the juices from the bacon and the beef.  There wasn’t a lot of the BBQ sauce which is nice.  There was just enough to give a sweet kick to the sandwich but not so much it made a mess on the plate.  I picked the fries for my side.  They were skin on fries that looked and tasted to be house cut but I’ve been fooled before.  Regardless, they were tasty and the perfect side to this burger.

J ordered the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese.  Now, this one doesn’t look like anything special but it’s what you can’t see between the bread that makes it delicious.  Belgioioso Fontina cheese, a two year aged sharp cheddar from Carr Valley, and Van Gogh Gouda make up the Wisconsin part of this sandwich.   Those cheese are toasted between sourdough bread and normally served with a tomato basil soup….but it was too hot for soup so J got fries.  A grilled cheese is only as good as the cheese…..so that makes this one amazingly good.

There was no kid’s menu listed online but there was one given to us when we sat down.

B asked for the grilled cheese which he got with fries.  It looks pretty similar to the one J got but it’s just made with cheddar.  The bread was so buttery and toasty though.  B ate a little over half of this sandwich and a few fries before losing interest.

L ordered the chicken fingers and got fruit as her side.  She didn’t really like the fingers, but I think there might be something wrong with her taste buds.  These are delicious, house made, battered tenders.  The large pieces of white meat chicken were incredibly juicy and the batter was so golden brown and delicious.  She ate a few pieces with ranch but we ended up having to argue with her about eating more.  She did eat a few of the orange slices and we shared some of our fries so she would at least get something in her belly.

Our bill for lunch was around $65 and once we got the parking situation figured out, it was totally worth the hassle of going downtown.

Milwaukee Ale House is somewhat unique in Milwaukee right now.  They’re nestled in downtown Milwaukee with beer industry giants not too far away.  There are a number of delicious beer selections with a food menu to match.

Milwaukee Ale House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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