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Milwaukee Ale House

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BA SCORE
88
very good

76 Ratings
Ratings: 76
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 9.04%
Active Beers: 20
Beer Ratings: 353
Beer Avg: 3.49
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

233 North Water Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53202
United States
phone: (414) 226-BEER

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: brakspear)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of botham
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%

a fine little establishment in a beautiful part of town: right in the third ward, which is where my office is, so i get here every now and then.

the atmosphere is great. right on the river, and big, so there is plenty of room for live music and a small brew area right off the street. outdoor dining and drinking are also available when weather permits.

service is always good. bartenders are talkative and friendly, and all know their way around a good brew.

the selection is not as good as other places, but the brews themselves are great! they only had 6 on tap last night though . . .

the food is not bad. nothing too special, but tasty nonetheless.

botham, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of ryantupy
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%

I went here back in May for the Twins-Brewers series. I found this place to be instantly cozy. We went around 11am and still found two red necks drinking at the bar! We sat out on the patio that over looks the river. Our waiter was kind of slow and defiantly possesed no beer knowledge. It was however very busy in his section. The menu had your typical menu items. Nothing really special or unique here. I found the food to be equally as average as the menu. The place was cool and worth checking out for lunch but nothing special here.

ryantupy, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of Flyer
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%

This is a really enjoyable place to pay a visit. A large, welcoming space in a renovated warehouse, part Cheers bar, part brewpub, part trendy restaurant on the riverwalk. One thing I like about it is its appeal to all ages -- the trendy 20-somethings I work with like it as much as the laid back middle-aged crowd. The live music likewise appeals to all ages. The beer they brew is only average to somewhat above, although I always enjoy the Louie’s Demise, a drinkable Scotch Ale. There’s a sense of authenticity to this place, highlighted by the "family history" they work into the stories of their beers. Truly, you’d have to stretch to call it a craft beer bar, but the vibe here is so content, I love the place. The food is solid-to-good, and the deck on the river is really nice. Also -- when the place is jammed, there’s a small, little-known basement bar (also with a view of the river) that can feel like a refuge.

Flyer, Jun 20, 2007
Photo of Sjixxxy
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%

Stopped in for lunch on a very nice Saturday afternoon. Inside area was pretty empty, while the outside seating was pretty much full of people eating & drinking & enjoying the good weather overlooking the river, Atmosphere was enjoyable.

The beers that I sampled were good, with an average sized selection to choose from for options. I didn't think any of the styles that I tried were weak, and would probably go back again to try them again.

Food however was a different story. No one in my group rated it better then mediocre, and the pulled pork sandwich I had was not good at all. It came out lukewarm, and had some big chunks of bone it in. It was not very enjoyable trying to get down.

Would go back again to try the brews, but I'll make sure I eat elsewhere before doing so.

Sjixxxy, May 20, 2007
Photo of logansboat15
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%

A local favorite brewpub in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Ale House has the most laid-back atmosphere of all the area haunts, with the possible exception of Lakefront Brewery's Friday Fish Fry. Elegant yet inpretentious, the Cream City brick construction Ale House has a nice selection of house beers. Louie's Demise is their flagship beer, with Pull Chain Pale Ale my #1 choice. During warmer months, the outdoor decks overlooking the Milwaukee River is one of the best places to drink and dine in town. Tour boats, coal barges and freight trains entertain the transport enthusiast. On weekends this establishment is on the three-brewery pub tour of the Brew City Queen, a pontoon river tour boat.

The Milwauke Ale House features a decent menu ranging from a light order of chips and salsa to excellent fish dinners and burgers and fries. I always take out of town visitors here, and they leave favorably impressed. Milwaukee Ale House's new bottling facility is almost ready to go into production, as it awaits licensing from the City of Milwaukee. When in the area, stop in and enjoy a brew and listen to some fine local bands on the weekend.

logansboat15, May 13, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

This is a nice place to hang out on a weekend or after work, has a good feel inside, is right on the river, and has a lot of events/music at it. Beer can be pretty good, and pub grub is decent (although I should caveat by saying my wife thinks the food's terrible).

I've visited the Ale House a number of times, mostly for lunch or for an after-work happy hour (I grabbed a burger there last night). This is a large brewpub, and is very active in the local community: they sponsored a race I ran in last year, have a lot of live music, and I saw the brewers once at a charity beer dinner I attended.

During my visit yesterday (a weeknight), they featured a number of special beers brewed for St. Patty's day, our service was good, and my $6.99 burger with chips was OK (home-made chips were disappointing). Pints were $5.

Ambience of this place is pretty cool, with a bar, stage, and tall tables up front and tables along big windows overlooking the river in back. Food is OK, but nothing to write home about. Beer ranges from OK to pretty good.

Probably the best brewpub in Milwaukee, but I've been to far better elsewhere.

BeerBelcher, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of granger10
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

In a nice area of downtown. Very nice looking on the inside. Indoor and outdoor dining which is nice. Two floors, tons of seating. Nice big bar. A few non-Milwaukee Ale House offerings for beer. They had six offerings. I got the sampler and it was a solid array of the standard styles. Good beers really but no style that would excite the beer nerd. I guess they have bands play, I could see that getting really loud. Food looked good but I was saving room in my tummy for beer. Menu like the beer offerings, was standard and not too exotic. If it's solid though, why complain. I'll make sure to get some grub next time. Hopefully with the new brewery being built, they'll experiment a bit more. Eitherways, the best of the 3 brewpubs beerwise in downtown Milwaukee.

granger10, Aug 28, 2006
Photo of shivtim
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%

This place looks nice, but it's something we've all seen before. Think dark wood and a stage... not particularly unique. It does have a nice long curvy bar at least. There was a mediocre band playing that was just loud enough so that you couldn't carry a conversation in the bar area. I'm not sure why they had a band at 7:30 on a Wednesday. Food was pretty good and unique. Six beers on tap, at $5 a pint. Service was not bad, pretty no-nonsense. Overall a nice place, just needs some personality. I get that feeling that most people don't come here for the beer.

shivtim, Aug 12, 2006
Photo of mynie
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%

Milwaukee is great in that places that look upscale from the outside are often, when you enter them, much cheaper and friendlier than you'd expect. This is one such place.

At first, I thought that the atmosphere was a little too bar-ry for me. Good amount of smoke, mediocre 70s rock playing. But some of the TV's showed CNN, instead of ESPN, and the clientele was far from a Sports Bar crowd. They were mostly professionals in their early to late 30s, mostly just looking to kick back after a day's work.

Service was great. Bartenders knew about the beers and they knew how to POUR the beers, too. Excellent heads. I ordered a growler with my last round, and the kid behind the bar put it on ice for me until I was ready to leave. Class.

Where this place really excels, though, is in the beer selection. I had three beers, and all of them were big winners, free from any traces of butter or underbrewed chemicals. The APA was perfectly balanced, the Solomon Juneau was crisp, refrehsing and wonderfully unique, and the cask milk stout was fantastic.

Happy hour runs from 4-8 on weekdays, and so pints were only 2.50, and growlers were only ten bucks! I didn't check out the food menu, though. And the selection of beers was pretty run of the mill, even if they seem to nail each style and even if they have a cask.

mynie, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of MeLikeBeer
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%

I've visited the Ale House on several occasions and everytime I have had exceptional service and solid beers. The brew kettles are on full display from the Water Street entrance and also visible once inside. The bartenders are very knowledgeable about the beers and if you visit during the day, you'll probably run into the head brewer. The waitstaff and servers are friendly enough, if it's really busy, you can expect a wait for food, but not on refills! They have six beers available, 5 regulars and a seasonal. On my most recent visit, I took advantage of the warm weather and sat out on the patio overlooking the river. Great atmosphere here! There's also a bar downstairs (Hop-Side-Down) that serves the full menu and is a great escape on a Friday or Saturday night when the band can make the upstairs a little packed and the bands can really drown out your thoughts.

I've tried all the beers here, and I'm partial to the Pull Chain Pale, which is a very hoppy American Pale, and that's what I had on this recent visit. The Sheepshead Stout is good, but a little too smooth for my tastes.

I had the Ale House Burger on this trip and it was cooked just as I asked, with large portions and a decent price. I've also had the Blackened Chicken Sandwich, very tasty.

I would highly recommend this as the first stop on a tour of many of the great brewpubs and breweries in Milwaukee!

MeLikeBeer, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of joedon
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%

Very attractive old building, remodelded into a modern brew-pub. Nice, outdoor patio overlooking the river for diners, too.

Excellent quality beer and service; at least in the quiet afternoo, before happy hour rush time, when I was there.

Six taps available with on-premises brews. Only regular taps, no cask-conditioned or "seasonals" to try. No off-property beer available. Lots of spirits and wine list also for sale.

Did not try the food; what I saw, looked good, though.

Decent prices, even pre-happy-hour. Would defenitely come back.

joedon, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of orsulacp
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

I visited the Milwaukee Ale House on a business trip. It is in a large building on the river in the 3rd Ward area of Milwaukee. There is a bar area with high tables and a separate dining area behind that with an open area over looking the river. The food was typical brew pub fare, pizza, burgers, pastas, and sandwiches. The waitress I has knew about the beer and was very friendly. When choosing sides I highly recommend the blue cheese potato salad. I tried three of the beers, the Maker's Demise, Bloody Third IPA, and the stout. The stout was the best of them. Overall it had a nice atmosphere and the wait staff was excellent.

orsulacp, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%

This is a large brewpub on the Milwaukee River in the Third Ward. The selection of beer was adequate with seven diverse offerings--ranging from Light to Stout. I felt the brew offerings were very good.

The atmosphere is typical for this genre: high exposed ceiling, both bench and chair seatings, ample TV's in the area. The menu offers good pub food. I was impressed with the volume of choices, all traditional.

The service was exceptional. Not only was it Wisconsin-friendly, it was prompt and continuously attentive.

While I'm not in Milwaukee very often, I will likely make this a regular stop.

smcolw, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of beerinator
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%

I stopped here for lunch, before the weekend brewery river tour. The service was quick and helpful. They have a nice upstairs and downstairs bar, with two great decks overlooking the river. On a nice day, this could be a great spot to hang out.

The beers were pretty good. Nothing extraordinary, but they were clean and drinkable. There were quite a few people who were drinking bottled macro brew, even though the Ale House brews it's own lighter styles. I don't like this situation, but I guess they know better than me what is needed there.

The food was served quickly and I think everyone was pleased with what they ordered. Everything was priced similarly to other brewpubs I've visited.

beerinator, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%

This place was interesting. On water street in the old third ward part of Milwaukee the atmosphere of this neighberhood is pretty cool, but this place was kind of lacking! The dark wood, cookie-cutter brewpub atmosphere that I am so bored of greets me (yet again!). The quality of the beers was also just cookie-cutter lame, with no real beer standouts in the bunch. I ordered a pale ale and it was pretty lame as well. Selection was OK, 5 or 6 house brewed beers on tap and 1 or 2 macros as well, wtf?! Food was awesome though and super cheap as well. I had some sort of crazy fajitas. This place is totally worth it just for the food and the value! Maybe they even have a good brew on tap once in a while as well. If not, just go with a glass of water (always good!)

francisweizen, Jul 07, 2005
Photo of brewQ
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%

Visited on a Sunday afternoon. Nice and quiet- but like other times I'd been over past two years the place feels cold at times. Maybe better with a band.

Bar help was very attentive. Served sample trays and insights to my buddy and me. As others have noted the beers are good but not exceptional. Louie's Demise and Sheepshead Stout were best of the six we tried.

We had wings and quesadilla- better than average.

Now they have beer bottled at Gray's in Janesville but soon will start their own brew and package facility near the brewpub.

All things considered- when at Summerfest grounds this place is a definite stop!

brewQ, May 31, 2005
Photo of MNBEN
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%

Didn't actually go to the ale house actually went to hopside down which is below the ale house but has the same beers and kitchen as the ale house without the hour wait for a table. (plus the down stairs is smoke free which I like) Beer selection is there own beers so it is small but unique, the food was fantastic would highly recomend it to a non-beer person just for the food. I only had the louise demise and that was pretty good accompanying my meal. the food was just a tad pricey as far as brewpubs go. I am sure I will make it back this way the next time I am in milwaukee

MNBEN, May 03, 2005
Photo of bnuttz
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%

The Milwaukee Ale House is a nice brewpub located near downtown milwaukee in the third ward. The atmosphere is typical of the third ward, very open and warehouse like. Bands often play here, which is a treat. The beer selection is the six standard beers, with one or two seasonals, which they call session beers, and a cask beer. The standard brews are all decent, but none hit me as fantastic, the session beers range from outstanding to mediocre, and the cask beers are usually high quality. They have a happy hour during the week, 2.50 imperial pints, cant beat that. The food is fairly good but a little overpriced for what you get in my opinion. I have had some very good servers here and some very snooty ones. I guess it all just depends on who you get. Overall a good stop in the downtown area, with decent to great beer.

bnuttz, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
4.18/5  rDev +8%

This place is very impressive. The location is the Third Ward, a former warehouse and factory district in Milwaukee. It is definitely one of the most beautiful and skillful renovations I've ever seen. They kept the cream-city brick and authentic timber rafters and added a brewery up front. All of the hardwood floors were sanded and varnished. There is an amazing balcony out back that overlooks the Milwaukee River. What an awesome location.

There are five beers that are always on tap. I had the Sheepshead Stout when I was there, and it was pretty good. The brewers are really friendly, and you can often see them working while you are there enjoying a pint.

In addition to having fresh beer, this is a great place to see live music. The acoustics are great and the scene is lively and friendly. It's definitely worth a visit, especially if you appreciate history and architecture.

Sixpoint, Nov 16, 2004
Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%

I visited this place on a Friday night, Labor Day Weekend; I was with a party of twenty! We had no reservation and we didn’t arrive until after 7:30 pm. We had a 1-½ hour wait. No biggie, that gave me sometime to enjoy some of the house beers.

There is a rather large bar area, with a decent amount of open space for standing and walking. The bar is to the right as you walk in the door, it is long with a good number of stools. High tables scattered about. I sat by the glass wall with the exposed brewing equipment. There were many TVs, with a pre-season Packers game on, and a band was playing on the smallish stage. There was some pool tables in the bar area too. It was very busy. There is exposed brick and dark wood, somewhat rustic looking. Dim inside but no too smoky.

The bartender was great, she was quick to serve me and she poured a great pint. The only beef though is when I asked about the seasonal beer, she wouldn’t just tell me what it was, she would only compare it to another house beer (that I’ve never had). I tried twice and when see wouldn’t tell me the style or the NAME I gave up.

So after our wait we were seated in the dinning section, it adjoins the bar and isn’t really separated. At dinner our waitress was very quick, she never let a glass go dry. I was very impressed at how well one person handled twenty people. We sat in a little enclosed area, perfect for a group like this. The menu had good variety. I was hungry so I just ordered the cheeseburger. It was excellent. The steaks and fish were popular as well.

The outdoor seating looking promising as well.

I would definitely go back, there was about 7 beers on-tap, the typical styles but I liked the beer I tried. This is a solid brewpub, while nothing out of the ordinary it was a pleasant place. Worth a visit.

bditty187, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of woodychandler
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%

This is another place without any secrets. The brewhouse sits in the window overlooking N. Water St. There are exposed heavy wood beams; exposed cream brick; a long, curving bar; an extensive restaurant area; a great view of the MIL River from both the patio out back, as well as the downstairs lounge. It is my kind of place. I only remain ambivalent about the black porcelain urinals. Very unusual. The Mug Club is the Greek letters Tau Kappa Delta, which stands for Tappa Kegga Dei, which I was told that no one had ever guessed before (I left a tip for that ego boost). The club's coat-of-arms is equally inspired, but I don't want to give away all of their secrets.

woodychandler, Aug 21, 2004
Photo of inebrius
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%

If anything, the Milwaukee Ale House will likely provide some form of entertainment if you choose to visit: from the terrace view of the Milwaukee River carrying floating garbage into Lake Michigan to a quality live jazz show on the main stage. Nicely designed, this place, plenty of warm wood and cream city brick—I don’t really know what cream city brick is but I feel obligated to mention it. Rather large with a curvy-long, inviting bar. IT IS your standard brewpub and restaurant.

I nearly went through their whole line-up of brews, again, the standard fare. The stout was quite good and session able, Juneau ale was nice, but got old quick, and it took a little effort to finish a pint of the Scottish ale. IT IS your standard brewpub line-up. They do offer a rotating cask beer though, and that’s usually a sign of business folks that probably drink their own beer.

The food was okay, again, unimpressive. My burger was thick and juicy, but unfortunately lacking any real flavor, which is generally a requirement for me to enjoy my food—call me kooky. Perhaps my mistake was not ordering the bacon topping. I guess I’ll never know. I’ll admit, I could have eaten those deep-fried Wisconsin cheese curds all friggin’ night though. There’s just something about a cheese curd.

This joint really reminds me of my local brewpub Rochester Mills: big, trendy, and thoroughly mediocre food. But I keep going back for the fresh beer.

Next time I’m in the area I’ll probably spend my cash at the market and bring home some fine Wisconsin beer and cheese, unless, maybe, that jazz band is on again.

inebrius, May 30, 2004
Photo of cokes
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%

3rd ward, on the river. This is downtown. All brick from the outside. Brick from the inside too.
Big room with lots of painted murals. Wood adds a cozy feel. But foremost, this is spacious. There is room outback overlooking the debatably "scenic" Milwaukee River. Waterfront is always a plus, but drifting garbage and farshore Citgo stations are not as big a draw.
We were forced inside due to an oncoming weather system. The crowd was sparce and varied. Inside, there was not a whole lot to do. Some Golden Tee up front. And some darts too. Billiards, perhaps (though I don't recall them). But none of this mattered, however, once the superb jazz band began playing.
Sevice was attentive, attractive and prompt.
Beerwise, "session" seem to be the operative word. Year round there is an 80/- (Louie's Demise), a pil-esque ale (Solomon Juneau), a Brit/US Pale Ale (Pull Chain), an Oatmeal Stout (Sheepshead) and a light beer (City Lights Honey). They label their seasonal as the "session" ale. It was a hefeweizen on my visit, though it appears to change often. Two cask offerings.
As for food, I had the cheeseburger, and it was average. But the menu itself was fairly diverse.
All in all, It screams brewpub, and may appear as though you've been here before, or at least some sort of close replicant.
But the live jazz made all the difference. The spaciousness helps too.

cokes, May 13, 2004
Photo of Ave
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

On the south side of downtown, along the banks of the Alleghany & Milwaukee Rivers, sits the Milwaukee Ale house. A spacious place with a long curving bar, few bar-dart machines, pool tables, small band area, & tables fill the most of the front half of the space. The back half is sit-down dining. The dining area has a nice view of the river behind it, even if there is nothing more than a truck yard on the other bank. We went on the day after Christmas for lunch, & it was only maybe ¼ full. The fire code sign on the door said it had a 400 person capacity, but you could easily put 600+ in the place if you had to.

The service was adequate, but not nothing spectacular.

The food was good, but not great, a good variety of standard brew house fare. Steaks, burgers, fish Fridays, nachos. I had a veggie sandwich on that was very nice, relatively fresh squash, yummy cheese. Don’t know what they did to them but the fries were firkin great! Had a artichoke spinach dip appetizer that was good. Again nothing to rave about, but nothing to bitch about either.

The beer selection was not huge, but being a brew on premises joint, you can only have so many at once I guess. They had 6 year round offerings, 2 seasonal, & 1 cask. See my review of the Cask Honey Wheat Bock. I was floored by it, gave it a 4.9. & that was the only beer I could bring my self to order once I had tried it. So I don’t have a great handle on all their brews. I did try my wife’s Sheepshead stout which seemed to be a solid all around stout. But going just off the Cask Honey Wheat Bock, this place can make some damn fine beer.

All in all, when I’m in the area again I may try out another venue just to try some new stuff, but I will at some point certainly be back in the Ale house again.

Ave, Dec 29, 2003
Photo of Winter
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%

Arguably the city’s best brewpub. Established in 1997 the Milwaukee Ale House is located in downtown’s Historic Third Ward and right on the Milwaukee River. The renovated building that is now home to the Ale House once served as an old saddlery facility. From the street you can see the brewing vats through the large glass windows. The interior consists of Cream City brick, exposed timbers and wooden floors. Various paintings, vintage beer posters and photographs adorn the walls.

The brewpub’s main floor is essentially split into two areas. The main bar is up front, with tall table seating and a stage for live musical acts. Separating the main bar area from the restaurant seating inside is and open brick archway. You can also choose to dine outside on the deck overlooking the Milwaukee River and the newly extended Riverwalk deck below. Downstairs, the Ale Houses 2nd bar, Hop Side Down, serves those frequenting the outdoor lower deck.

The Milwaukee Ale House has five handcrafted beers on tap and each of which are named after a local lore pertaining to the city or the owners’. Louie’s Demise, Sheepshead Stout, Solomon Juneau Ale and the Pull Chain Pail Ale are all excellent. It’s also worth trying whatever the current Session Ale is at the time. In addition, a cask-conditioned ale is often usually available. You might consider grabbing a growler on your way out. The Ale House also does a good job of featuring several local city micros on tap.

The menu ranges from various pub sandwiches and burgers to dinner entrées featuring some of the Ale House’s own beers. The food has always been tasty and seems to compliment a lot of their brews. Service is friendly and accommodating, especially considering that the place can get pretty busy on weekends and warm summer evenings when the outdoor deck is open.

Highly recommended.

Winter, Jul 29, 2003
Milwaukee Ale House in Milwaukee, WI
88 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.