Milwaukee Ale House

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BEER AVG
3.45/5
Based on:
21 Beers
186 Reviews
Place Score: 87
Reviews: 57
Visits: 81
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
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 

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Place added by: brakspear

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Visits: 81
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I wanted to try at least one brewpub/brewery in Milwaukee and, based on reviews, chose Milwaukee Ale House.

This is a sprawling restaurant in a beautiful old building in MKE's Third Ward. It´s got a chain feeling to it.

Nice beautiful seating outside by the river! Service is nothing great, just fine, she didn´t really know a lot about beers.

Food is OK, lots of sandwiches and the typical stuff. Fairly priced, some lunch deals. Great onion rings.

The beer? Alright but not great. I had the Hoptoberfest, Porter (on cask) and Monkey Paw, which the waitress described as a "strong red ale" but BA labels as a DIPA. They were all average to good. A tad watery.

Would I come back? Maybe. But more for the river view than the beer. (740 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

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. (670 characters)

Photo of Yetiman420
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5

Stop #403 on my world brewery tour.

Research warned me that downtown Milwaukee was a challenge for visiting a high-quality craft brewery. Have to say I disagree with that finding based on my experience at the Milwaukee Ale House.

Sure, this place probably draws the masses which tends to turn off us beer dorks. Not much going on downtown the Friday night in early November that I visited. They had a 70's rock cover band that only played three songs (around 9) while I was there - maybe a sound check?

I had their seasonal flight plus the cream and hoppy beer. All the beers were very well done in terms of balance and mouthfeel. As a home chef, I'm embarrassed to admit my fondness for wings as bar food. The MAH has probably the best wings I've ever had. No bad too-long-in-the -freezer taste and a great sauce.

I would definitely recommend a stop here is you're in the area. (885 characters)

Photo of Sixpoint
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

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. (891 characters)

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

I stopped here with my brother on a Saturday night. Place was pretty full, but managed to get a table. Tried a flight of their beers and they were solid, but not earth moving. I thought it would be nice to see some higher end beers here or some beers with some bold flavors... the place seemed too safe with their choices. The food looked good, but I didn't have any... probably would consider it next time. In the city of Milwaukee with its rich beer history this is one of the handful that might be worth checking out. I will probably come back for the food but hope the brewers try something more daring. (607 characters)

Photo of yemenmocha
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Enjoyed visiting this place since late 90's on Milwaukee trips. Good range of food options and sincerely appreciate the vegetarian menu choices. Most beers are fairly decent, none bad, but also none that were really hitting it out of the park. Examples for styles seemed aimed at a more general audience, which is fine with me because that's more in line with my tastes as well. Parking can be tough downtown in this area sometimes, which is a common annoyance with me. (469 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

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!) (768 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Conveniently located amid the Historic Third Ward District and easily accessible downtown via the Riverwalk, the Milwaukee Ale House is a mandatory stop for any Beer Advocate - at least it has been during my many trips to Irishfest (also nearby). It's riverside location also makes it a prime target for the tourist-laden Brews Cruises that ply the murky Milwaukee River.

It is a large establishment with a sizeable bar area, a smattering of high tops and tables towards the river side; of course, Milwaukee Ale House offers a waterfront patio, a prime location. Of course, for me, the bar is good enough.

There are several year round beers and a few seasonals, the former includes their Juneau Ale, Louie's Demise Ale, Pull Chain IPA and a stout, a creamy and delicious elixir whose name escapes me. But it was tasty.

In addition, the thirsty BA can indulge in an eclectic menu filled with a variety of filling entrees, soup and sandwiches. (For lunch, I enjoyed a tender roast beef on baguette with a hearty dollop of potato salad on the side; all of it being delish.) The bartender was efficient and knowledgeable as to the aforementioned beers. None of this, "It's the closest thing we have to Budweiser" here. Always an inviting touch.

In a city dominated by Miller Brewing, and haunted by the lonely ghosts of Blatz and Schlitz, the Milwaukee Ale House serves as a haven to anyone in search of quality beer. I recommend it during any trip to Cream City. (1,463 characters)

Photo of crossovert
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Stopped here today.

It was kind of dead on a Sunday mid-afternoon.

The taplist was pretty good and first of I ordered the Maker's Demise cask. It was pretty good. Then I went on to order a sampler which h was 6 beers for 8$ or 7 for 9$. I got a gamut of light to dark styles, most were impressive with only 1 or 2 being just decent. The Bock was very good.

The bartender, the curly haired older guy with moustache, was excellent.

The food was okay, all I ordered were pretzels, standard fare. Beware the Mustard they serve it with will clear your sinus.

When I left I got a growler of the bock for 12$ which I thought was reasonable and the bartender gave me some free cups. 10$ refills.

Overall it is a nice stop in Milwaukee on Water/1st/kinnikinac. (758 characters)

Photo of shivtim
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

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. (564 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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. (1,328 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Located in Milwaukee's historic Third Ward. A mix of industrial storage and now artsy lofts. And some trendy small plate dining/nightclub places. It really all built around the Ale House and the Milwaukee river. Parking can be difficult, just like anywhere in Milwaukee.

Quality of beers is quite nice. Nothing trendy big beer aged in 19th century whiskey stuff, just great session ales. Pull Chain Pale and Louie's Demise are my faves. Service is standard, server's won't hesitate to help you.

Food is quite nice for an alehouse, definitely try the onion rings. Can't say I've ever had anything bad. (602 characters)

Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

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. (1,824 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

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. (1,137 characters)

Photo of t0rin0
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited 10/10/2010 on a quick trip through Wisconsin. 12 taps plus bottles to go.

Came in on a Sunday evening and ordered a flight of samples. Kind of quiet with a few patrons hanging out.

The beers were all drinkable at least even if a few weren't quite to style. Didn't try the food so I can't comment on that.

The service was very nice and helpful for the most part even if it was a bit slow. The bartender was nice enough to mix a 6 pack for me with the 3 available bottled beers (IPA, Milk Stout, and Pale Ale). (522 characters)

Photo of pat61
3.09/5  rDev -19.7%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3 | food: 3

It's a big place with a deck over looking the river. We were there on a Sunday in March and service was a little lax. The food and beer were decent but not great. (162 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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. (607 characters)

Photo of botham
4.08/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 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. (665 characters)

Photo of gixxerman
3.58/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Popped in for a late lunch. It was about 2:00 and parking was available right outside the door on the street. You can't miss the place, the brewing equipment is prominently displayed behind giant ground to ceiling glass windows.

The place was pretty empty, besides the 3 or 4 people shooting pool, and 2 others at the bar.

I ordered up a Sheepshead Stout, it was good, a bit thinner than I am used to, but quite drinkable. I tried the macaroni bites for an appetizer, they were very good and quite cheesey. They were running a special on 'gumbo pot pie', so I gave that a shot. It was good, but I think next time I would order gumbo without the crust.

I also ordered up a Devil's Advocate to accompany my lunch. At 7.0% it was very drinkable and smooth.

At 2.50 each the beers were a bargain. They have bands here, and I am sure this place is quite lively later in the evenings. I would stop back here again for the beer and food. (934 characters)

Photo of joedon
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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. (552 characters)

Photo of Offa
3.81/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Overall, we found this to be a great pub.

It is an old brick building with a large bar area and large open seating area, the kind that is sort of a converted industrial building. It therefore has a somewhat cavernous feel with high ceiling, but is done pretty well. There is nice seating by back windows and out back, with nice views on the Milwaukee River. It's in the Third Ward area, an interesting old industrial-shipping area that has been gentrified a bit and converted to mixed uses.

Quality of the beer overall is very good, ranging from a few that are great to some that are decent, a bit better than mediocre. Overall, the beer is not exciting but is very good and solid in quality.

Service was excellent, efficient and friendly.

The beer selection is very good with a nice range but not extensive in styles and lacking cask selections.

Food we had was all excellent. Salads were great, made with good ingredients and made well. (944 characters)

Photo of granger10
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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. (766 characters)

Photo of birchstick
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Visited this while in town for some concerts at Alpine Valley with some buddies. This was located in a cool little historic neighborhood in what seemed to be a renovated warehouse or store. As soon as I walked in I knew I was in a microbrewery. There is a nice, long bar with a really cool area for the taps.

We pulled up to a long table within in view of numerous tvs. We really wanted to catch the Brazil / Italy soccer game, so we put on a request. Our waitress, a bus boy, and the bartender all made sure that the game was set on a tv that we could see from our seats.

The food was really good. I ordered a mandarin chicken sandwich, which was delicious. After looking at the numerous offerings they had, I ordered a Pressings 78 ale to drink with it. The brew wasn't the most impressive I have ever had, but that's okay. I tried some of the others that my buddies ordered, all of which were decent.

Overall, I am glad we stopped in and I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Milwaukee. (1,003 characters)

Photo of beerinator
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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. (698 characters)

Photo of cokes
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

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. (1,381 characters)

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Milwaukee Ale House in Milwaukee, WI
87 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.