Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Beer And Cheese Pairing In Milwaukee, Wisconsin


by Maryanne Blocker



Welcome to the vibrant and flavorful city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where beer and cheese reign supreme. Known as the Brew City and the Dairyland, Milwaukee has a rich history and culture deeply rooted in the art of brewing and cheesemaking. For food and travel enthusiasts, a visit to Milwaukee is an opportunity to indulge in the perfect marriage of beer and cheese, experiencing unique flavors and pairings that can only be found in this Midwestern gem.


The love affair between beer and cheese dates back to the early European settlers who brought their brewing and cheesemaking traditions to Milwaukee. Over the years, the city has honed its craft, perfecting both its brews and cheeses to become a destination for food lovers from around the world.


When it comes to beer, Milwaukee boasts a diverse selection of locally brewed beers, ranging from crisp lagers to hoppy IPAs and rich stouts. These brews are carefully crafted by passionate brewers who take pride in their creations, resulting in a wide array of flavors and styles to satisfy every beer connoisseur’s palate.


But what is beer without cheese? Milwaukee’s cheesemakers are equally dedicated to producing outstanding cheeses, using time-honored techniques and top-quality ingredients. From creamy cheddars to tangy blues and aged goudas, the city offers a cheese for every taste preference.


Pairing beer and cheese is an art form in Milwaukee, with locals and visitors embracing the challenge of finding the perfect combination of flavors. Each beer and cheese has its unique characteristics, and finding the right pairing can elevate the taste experience to new heights. Whether you’re a seasoned beer and cheese enthusiast or a curious newcomer, Milwaukee promises to deliver an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.


In the following sections, we will delve into the fascinating history of beer and cheese in Milwaukee, explore the different types of beer and cheese available, discuss the factors to consider when pairing them, and highlight some popular and unique beer and cheese pairings. Additionally, we will recommend the best places in Milwaukee to indulge in these delectable combinations, ensuring that your food and travel experience in the Brew City is truly exceptional.


So grab a pint of Milwaukee’s finest brew, a plate of artisanal cheese, and prepare to embark on a mouthwatering journey of beer and cheese pairing in the heart of Wisconsin.


History of Beer and Cheese in Milwaukee

The history of beer and cheese in Milwaukee can be traced back to the city’s early European settlers, who brought with them the age-old traditions of brewing and cheesemaking. These traditions took root in Milwaukee’s fertile land and quickly flourished, laying the foundation for what would become the Brew City and the Dairyland.


In the mid-1800s, German immigrants flocked to Milwaukee, bringing their expertise in brewing. They established breweries and introduced techniques that would revolutionize the local beer scene. Breweries like Pabst, Schlitz, and Miller became household names, solidifying Milwaukee’s reputation as a brewing powerhouse.


During this time, cheesemakers from Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands also settled in the area, bringing their knowledge and skill in cheesemaking. They utilized the rich dairy resources of Wisconsin to produce high-quality cheeses, which quickly gained recognition for their exceptional taste and texture.


The growth of the beer and cheese industries in Milwaukee was fueled by several factors. First, Milwaukee’s location on the shores of Lake Michigan provided easy access to transportation, allowing breweries and dairies to distribute their products across the country. Second, the city’s abundant natural resources, including fertile farmland and pure water sources, were instrumental in producing the finest ingredients for brewing and cheesemaking.


As Milwaukee’s beer and cheese industries flourished, they became integral parts of the city’s culture and identity. Breweries and cheesemakers became important employers, contributing to the local economy and providing livelihoods for generations of Milwaukeeans.


Prohibition in the early 20th century posed a significant challenge to the beer industry in Milwaukee. Many breweries were forced to close their doors or transition to producing non-alcoholic beverages to survive. However, after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the beer industry experienced a resurgence, with Milwaukee breweries leading the way.


Similarly, the cheese industry in Milwaukee continued to thrive despite the challenges of the Great Depression and changing consumer preferences. Cheese production techniques evolved, and new varieties emerged to meet the demands of a growing market.


Today, beer and cheese remain deeply ingrained in Milwaukee’s cultural fabric. The city celebrates its brewing heritage with numerous beer festivals, brewery tours, and a vibrant craft beer scene. Likewise, the cheese industry continues to innovate, with artisanal cheesemakers pushing boundaries and creating unique flavors that reflect Milwaukee’s rich traditions.


Visitors to Milwaukee can immerse themselves in the history and legacy of beer and cheese through visits to historic breweries, cheese factories, and culinary experiences that showcase the local flavors. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beer aficionado, or a cheese lover, exploring the history of beer and cheese in Milwaukee is a fascinating journey that highlights the city’s rich culinary traditions.


Types of Beer and Cheese in Milwaukee

When it comes to beer and cheese, Milwaukee offers a wide variety of flavors and styles to tantalize the taste buds. The city’s brewing and cheesemaking heritage have paved the way for an impressive selection of beers and cheeses. Let’s explore the different types of beer and cheese that you can discover in Milwaukee:

Types of Beer:

  1. Lagers: Known for their crisp and clean taste, lagers are a popular choice in Milwaukee. From light and refreshing pilsners to smooth and malty bocks, lagers are the go-to beer for many locals.
  2. Ales: Ales offer a wider range of flavors and styles in Milwaukee. From hop-forward IPAs to rich and complex Belgian ales, there is an ale to suit every beer lover’s preferences.
  3. Stouts and Porters: Known for their dark color and roasted flavors, stouts and porters are perfect choices for those seeking a full-bodied and robust beer. Milwaukee offers a selection of smooth and creamy stouts and porters that showcase the city’s brewing prowess.
  4. Wheat Beers: Wheat beers, such as Hefeweizens and Belgian Witbiers, are beloved for their refreshing and citrusy profiles. These beers are often enjoyed on sunny days, making them a staple in Milwaukee’s beer scene.
  5. Sour Beers: For those with an adventurous palate, Milwaukee offers a selection of sour beers. These brews, often aged in barrels or infused with fruits, deliver a unique tanginess and complexity that can complement a variety of cheeses.

Types of Cheese:

  1. Cheddar: Cheddar is a classic cheese that comes in various flavors and ages. From mild and creamy to sharp and tangy, Milwaukee’s cheddar cheeses are a staple in many households and pair well with a range of beer styles.
  2. Blue Cheese: Blue cheeses, characterized by their distinct blue veins, offer a pungent and complex flavor profile. Milwaukee’s blue cheeses range in intensity, from milder varieties to bold and creamy options that can be a delightful contrast to certain beer styles.
  3. Gouda: Known for its smooth and buttery texture, Gouda is a versatile cheese that pairs well with many beer styles. Milwaukee’s cheesemakers produce a range of Gouda cheeses, including young and mild varieties as well as aged and robust options.
  4. Swiss: A staple in deli sandwiches and fondue, Swiss cheese is known for its distinctive holes and nutty flavor. Milwaukee’s Swiss cheeses are made with care, resulting in a deliciously smooth and slightly sweet cheese.
  5. Alpine-style Cheeses: Milwaukee’s cheesemakers also produce Alpine-style cheeses, inspired by the traditions of Switzerland and the surrounding regions. These cheeses, with their nutty and complex flavors, are a perfect pairing for many beer styles.

Whether you prefer light and crisp lagers, bold and hoppy IPAs, or creamy and tangy cheeses, Milwaukee has a beer and cheese combination to suit your taste. Exploring the different types of beer and cheese in Milwaukee is an opportunity to discover new flavors, expand your palate, and indulge in the delightful harmony of these two culinary delights.


Factors to Consider when Pairing Beer and Cheese

Pairing beer and cheese is an art that involves considering various factors to create a harmonious combination of flavors. While personal preference plays a role, here are some key factors to consider when pairing beer and cheese in Milwaukee:

Flavor Profiles:

One of the most important factors to consider when pairing beer and cheese is their flavor profiles. Look for complementary or contrasting flavors that enhance each other. For example, a hoppy IPA can balance the richness of a creamy blue cheese, while a malty stout can enhance the nutty flavors of an aged cheddar.

Intensity of Flavors:

The intensity of flavors in both the beer and cheese can impact the pairing. Consider whether the flavors are bold and robust or more subtle and delicate. A strong-flavored cheese like a smoked gouda might overpower a light and delicate beer, whereas a milder cheese like Swiss may be overshadowed by a bold, hoppy beer.

Texture and Mouthfeel:

The texture and mouthfeel of both the beer and cheese can greatly influence the pairing. Creamy cheeses, such as brie or camembert, often complement beers with a smooth and silky mouthfeel. On the other hand, a crisp and effervescent beer can provide a refreshing contrast to a firm and crumbly aged cheese.


The aroma of both the beer and cheese should be taken into account when pairing. Look for complementary or harmonizing aromas to enhance the sensory experience. For instance, a citrusy and floral beer can complement the earthy and mushroom-like aroma of a washed-rind cheese.

Regional Pairings:

Milwaukee has a rich tradition of regional pairings, where specific beers are traditionally enjoyed with local cheeses. These pairings have developed over time and often showcase the unique flavors and characteristics of both the beer and cheese. Exploring these regional pairings can provide a deeper appreciation for Milwaukee’s culinary heritage.


Experimentation and personal preference are also important aspects of beer and cheese pairing. While the factors mentioned above offer guidance, don’t be afraid to try different combinations and discover your own favorite pairings. Ultimately, the joy of beer and cheese pairing lies in the exploration of flavors and finding combinations that tantalize and satisfy your taste buds.


Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the factors to consider, it’s time to embark on a delicious journey of beer and cheese pairing in Milwaukee. Each pairing is a unique experience, offering a delightful fusion of flavors that highlights the best of both worlds.


Popular Beer and Cheese Pairings in Milwaukee

In Milwaukee, the art of pairing beer and cheese is taken seriously, with locals and visitors alike embracing the challenge of finding the perfect combination. Here are some popular beer and cheese pairings that highlight the flavors and traditions of Milwaukee:

  1. Pilsner with Fresh Mozzarella: The crisp and refreshing qualities of a pilsner create a delightful contrast to the creamy and mild flavor of fresh mozzarella. This pairing is perfect for a summer day, offering a light and satisfying combination.
  2. IPA with Sharp Cheddar: The hoppy bitterness and citrusy notes of an IPA can cut through the richness of sharp cheddar, creating a balanced and flavor-packed pairing. The intense flavors of both the beer and cheese create a memorable taste experience.
  3. Stout with Blue Cheese: The roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors in a stout complement the sharp and tangy notes of blue cheese. The creamy texture of the cheese enhances the smoothness of the beer, resulting in a decadently indulgent pairing.
  4. Wheat Beer with Goat Cheese: The fruity and citrusy flavors of a wheat beer harmonize beautifully with the earthy and tangy taste of goat cheese. This pairing offers a refreshing and light combination that is perfect for a leisurely afternoon.
  5. Belgian Ale with Gouda: The complex and spicy flavors of a Belgian ale pair wonderfully with the nutty and caramelized notes of gouda. The sweetness and depth of the cheese complement the unique characteristics of the beer, resulting in a harmonious combination.

These popular beer and cheese pairings in Milwaukee showcase the versatility and creativity of the city’s culinary scene. They represent a harmonious balance of flavors, textures, and aromas that highlight the best qualities of both beer and cheese.


While these pairings are widely enjoyed, it is important to remember that taste is subjective, and personal preference plays a significant role in determining the perfect pairing. Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore different combinations to find your own favorite beer and cheese pairing in Milwaukee.


Next time you visit Milwaukee, be sure to indulge in these popular pairings and discover the unique and delightful flavors that emerge when beer and cheese come together. The combination of Milwaukee’s exceptional brews and artisanal cheeses is bound to satisfy your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Unique Beer and Cheese Pairings in Milwaukee

While popular beer and cheese pairings in Milwaukee offer a fantastic taste experience, there are also some unique combinations that showcase the creativity and innovation of the city’s culinary scene. These one-of-a-kind pairings push the boundaries and take your beer and cheese tasting to a whole new level. Here are a few unique beer and cheese pairings to try in Milwaukee:

  1. Saison with Goat Milk Brie: The fruity and spicy flavors of a Saison beer complement the creamy and tangy qualities of goat milk Brie. The complex and dry nature of the beer brings out the subtle nuances of the cheese, resulting in a captivating and nuanced pairing.
  2. Barleywine with Aged Gouda: The rich and malty profile of a barleywine beer pairs beautifully with the dense and caramel-like flavors of an aged Gouda. The beer’s sweetness and the cheese’s toffee-like notes create a harmonious combination, perfect for those who appreciate bold and robust flavors.
  3. Fruit Lambic with White Cheddar: The fruit-forward and tart characteristics of a fruit lambic beer contrast with the sharp and tangy flavors of white cheddar cheese. This unexpected pairing brings together the sweetness of the beer and the tanginess of the cheese, creating a unique and refreshing taste experience.
  4. Rye Beer with Smoked Swiss: The earthy and spicy notes of rye beer complement the smoky and nutty flavors of smoked Swiss cheese. This pairing showcases the depth of flavors, with the beer’s spiciness playing off the cheese’s smokiness, resulting in a combination that is both intriguing and satisfying.
  5. Belgian Tripel with Truffled Brie: The bold and complex flavors of a Belgian Tripel beer harmonize beautifully with the creamy and luxurious taste of truffled Brie. The beer’s fruity esters and spicy undertones mingle with the cheese’s decadence, creating a pairing that is undeniably indulgent.

These unique beer and cheese pairings in Milwaukee showcase the city’s commitment to pushing culinary boundaries and creating memorable flavor combinations. Each combination offers a one-of-a-kind taste experience that tantalizes the palate and leaves a lasting impression.


When exploring Milwaukee’s vibrant food and drink scene, be sure to seek out these unique pairings and embrace the opportunity to try something new. The city’s innovative brewers and cheesemakers never cease to amaze, and you may discover a new favorite combination that you won’t find anywhere else.


Remember, the beauty of beer and cheese pairing lies in the exploration and the delight of discovering unexpected flavor harmonies. So, venture out and savor the unique beer and cheese pairings that Milwaukee has to offer.


Best Places for Beer and Cheese Pairing in Milwaukee

When it comes to beer and cheese pairing, Milwaukee has no shortage of exceptional establishments that showcase the city’s rich culinary traditions. These establishments not only offer an extensive selection of locally brewed beers and artisanal cheeses but also provide a delightful experience that celebrates the harmonious union of these two culinary delights. Here are some of the best places for beer and cheese pairing in Milwaukee:

  1. The Milwaukee Ale House: Located in the Third Ward, The Milwaukee Ale House is a popular destination for beer enthusiasts. With a diverse selection of craft beers on tap, including seasonal brews and small-batch specialties, it offers a great variety for beer lovers. The restaurant also serves a delectable assortment of cheeses sourced from local cheese artisans, allowing visitors to enjoy the perfect pairing while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere.
  2. Brenner Brewing Co.: Brenner Brewing Co. is not just a brewery but a complete beer and cheese experience. Not only can you enjoy their unique and flavorful brews, but they also offer a curated selection of local and international cheeses to pair with their beers. The knowledgeable staff can guide you through the pairing process, ensuring you experience the best flavor combinations that Brenner Brewing Co. has to offer.
  3. Clock Shadow Creamery: Clock Shadow Creamery is a cheese lover’s paradise. This urban creamery in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood focuses on producing fresh, sustainable, and artisanal cheeses. With a cheese counter that offers a wide selection of cheeses, you can create your own beer and cheese pairing experience. The knowledgeable staff can assist in selecting the perfect pairings and provide insights into how the flavors complement each other.
  4. Estabrook Beer Garden: For a unique outdoor beer and cheese pairing experience, head to Estabrook Beer Garden. Located along the Milwaukee River, this beer garden offers a vast selection of German beers, including traditional lagers and hefeweizens. Pair your beer with a platter of locally sourced Wisconsin cheese, and enjoy the serene atmosphere and beautiful views of the river.
  5. FreshFin Poké: While not a typical beer and cheese establishment, FreshFin Poké offers a surprising and delicious twist on pairing. Indulge in their creative and refreshing poké bowls, and complement your meal with a local craft beer. With their focus on using fresh and high-quality ingredients, FreshFin Poké creates a unique pairing experience by incorporating shaved cheese as a topping on their Hawaiian-inspired dishes.

These are just a few examples of the best places for beer and cheese pairing in Milwaukee. The city is adorned with many breweries, cheese shops, and dining establishments that offer unique and exciting combinations. Whether you’re a beer aficionado, a cheese enthusiast, or simply love culinary adventures, exploring these establishments in Milwaukee promises a truly memorable and flavorful experience.


So, grab a pint of locally brewed beer, savor a slice of artisanal cheese, and embark on a delightful journey of beer and cheese pairing in the heart of Milwaukee.



Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a city that embraces its rich brewing and cheesemaking heritage. The perfect marriage of beer and cheese is celebrated throughout the city, offering a gastronomic adventure for locals and visitors alike. From popular pairings to unique combinations, Milwaukee offers a diverse range of flavors and experiences that highlight the best of both beer and cheese.


Exploring the history of beer and cheese in Milwaukee reveals the deep-rooted traditions and craftsmanship that have shaped the city’s culinary landscape. The breweries and cheesemakers in Milwaukee take great pride in their creations, using locally sourced ingredients and time-honored techniques to produce outstanding brews and cheeses.


When it comes to pairing beer and cheese, several factors come into play, including flavor profiles, intensity, texture, and aroma. These elements combine to create harmonious combinations that elevate the dining experience. Whether you prefer classic pairings like IPA with sharp cheddar or you’re intrigued by unique combinations like Saison with goat milk Brie, Milwaukee offers a wealth of options to satisfy any palate.


Throughout the city, there are numerous establishments that excel in creating exceptional beer and cheese pairings. From breweries and creameries to beer gardens and eateries, these establishments provide a diverse selection of locally brewed beers and artisanal cheeses, expertly guiding visitors through the art of pairing and delighting their taste buds.


Indulging in beer and cheese pairing in Milwaukee is not just about the flavors; it is a celebration of the city’s vibrant culture and culinary heritage. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Brew City’s unique traditions, while also experiencing the creativity and innovation that continues to shape its food and drink scene.


So, whether you’re a beer connoisseur, a cheese lover, or simply a food and travel enthusiast, Milwaukee stands ready to impress you with its rich and flavorful offerings. Grab a pint of locally brewed beer, select a variety of artisanal cheeses, and embark on a journey of beer and cheese pairing that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you with a memorable experience of Milwaukee’s culinary delights.