Wisconsin is well known as a mecca for great beer. For literal centuries, we’ve been making some of the best beer in the world and have developed a reputation for it. Before, it was for big name breweries that mass produced some not-so-exciting flavors, honestly. But the craft beer movement has been a boon for us all and Wisconsinites have embraced the change with aplomb. Dotted all across our landscape, there are a dozens of small craft breweries creating some of the very best beers and flavors in the world. Some you’ve heard of, some you’ve yet to discover, but all of them are great and we’re so lucky to have them here. For this list, we’re focusing on the folks making great beers in some Wisconsin’s smallest towns. In no particular order, here are 14 small-town breweries you need to check out:
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Tyranena Brewing - Lake Mills
Located just off I-94 between Madison and Milwaukee, this is an awesome stop for folks from our two biggest cities. Pretty much all the pictures on their Facebook page are of the brewery dog, which basically means I never want to leave here, but I suppose if that's not your thing, try somewhere else? The tap room is lovely and lively and in the warm months, the party spills outside. The Bitter Woman IPA and Chief Blackhawk Stout are two of their best beers.
Located at 1025 Owen St, Lake Mills, WI 53551.
2. Angry Minnow Brewery - Hayward
The perfect spot to unwind after a day of fishing up north, these guys have a nitrogen tap oatmeal stout you have to try. Stay for dinner, grab a sampler and stay awhile. Located at 10440 Florida Ave, Hayward, WI 54843.
3. Central Waters Brewing - Amherst
Well known for their special release beers, Central Waters is a brewery far bigger than the tiny town of Amherst. Making some of the best beers in the state, it's well worth a pilgrimage to the brewery to see all they have to offer. Their Mudpuppy Porter is a staple in our house. Located at 351 Allen St, Amherst, WI 54406.
4. The Hop Garden - Belleville
There might not be a better location than this one. Connected to an old mill and on the Sugar River, this place spills out into the gorgeous local scenery. Plus, they locally grow their own hops. It doesn't get more homegrown than this.
Located at N8668 County Rd D, Belleville, WI 53508.
5. New Glarus Brewery - New Glarus
To be honest, this is the brewery that I judge all other breweries by. If you've never taken the trek out here, do yourself a favor and plan one now. New Glarus is a beautiful and quirky small town that's wonderful to wander and then the brewery is up a hill, with this fabulous outdoor space where you get to just relax and enjoy. If you've never tried the fruit beers here, you've really been missing out on one of life's great treats. They are some of the best lambics in the world. Located at 2400 WI-69, New Glarus, WI 53574.
6. Modicum Brewing - Altoona
These folks are small by design. They love beer and flavor and they love to play with them. They make some of the most nuanced and interesting beers you'll find anywhere. Peel is a stellar wheat beer. Located at 3732 Spooner Ave, Altoona, WI 54720.
7. O'so Brewing - Plover
The standard lineup here is very good, but I love O'so for their sours. They currently have no less than 11 bottled sours and a schedule for a whole mess more. O'so good!
Located at 3028 Village Park, Plover, WI 54467.
8. Barley John's Brewing Company - New Richmond
These folks just make straightforward good beers. The 6 Knots IPA maintains an awesome malty mouth you don't always gets with IPAs. You've probably never had anything like the Wild Brunette. Located at 1280 Madison Ave, New Richmond, WI 54017.
9. Lake Louie Brewing - Arena
These guys only do tours once a month and otherwise aren't open to the public, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out their list of darn good beers. They make a cream ale the likes of which you won't find elsewhere. Located at 7556 Pine Rd, Arena, WI 53503.
10. Oliphant Brewing - Somerset
Frankly a little weird and darn proud of it, these folks are making some odd beers that are incredibly delicious. If you've never had a gruit, here's the place to try it. Located at 350 Main St #2, Somerset, WI 54025.
11. The Lone Girl Brewing Company - Waunakee
A truly beautiful location with a rooftop beer garden, this place has to be on your radar. The Quadnado Belgian Quad and the Red Banks Amber are two of the standouts. Located at 114 E Main St, 101, Waunakee, WI 53597.
12. Hop & Barrel Brewing - Hudson
This is another spot with a great location. Enjoy their patio or the games while sipping on some delicious beers, including the Raspberry Dirty Scowl. Located at 310 2nd St, Hudson, WI 54016.
13. Potosi Brewing - Potosi
One of my favorite ever road trips had Potosi as the final stop before heading home. This tiny river town is home to a delicious and historical brewery as well as a brewery museum that's absolutely worth checking out. The restaurant is delicious and the beer even better. The Czech Style Pilsner is super interesting and the Fiddler Oatmeal Stout is my favorite. Located at 209 S Main St, Potosi, WI 53820.
Have you been to any of these small town breweries? Do you have a different favorite that we missed? Let us know in the comments!