Potosi Brewing Company


Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

209 S Main St
Potosi, Wisconsin, 53820
United States

(608) 763-4002 | map

Site of the National Brewery Museum.

Added by SurgeonGeneral on 06-01-2008

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 37
Photo of Wolffy
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

What a find in the southern edge of Wisconsin a town of 685 people the beer museum is awesome the new 150 Barrel brewery is more awesome take the beer tour $11 you get a free pint glass full of beer and a one year admission to the museum and the day I was there they were more than generous with the beer on the tour very nice people that work there

 365 characters

Photo of MilwaukeeBeerMaker
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A hidden gem of SW Wisconsin. Visited a couple times and always enjoyed the stay. The brewery and history museum are nice to visit. The food has always been well made, along with the beer and the staff has always been super friendly. Their bar is a visual marvel; extremely well made and just beautiful to look at. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself near there.

 377 characters

Photo of bismarksays
3.95/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

The best reason to go here is the museum. It is full history, both in terms of beer and advertising.
The food here is very good. Sweet potato fries with any of their burgers and you can't go wrong.
Selection can really vary day to day, both in number of different beers and in different styles. The website always seems behind, so either call or just show up and hope for the best. There is normally something for everyone though.
If you have kids, their root beer is top notch too.
Visit if you can.

 504 characters

Photo of Josievan
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Brewery, museum, and brewpub all under one roof! The museum contains interesting brewing memorabilia from all around the country. $5 gets you a self-guided tour and a complimentary beer. The service at the bar and gift shop were both excellent. The atmosphere was family-friendly, although my group of several single guys also felt very welcome. The brewpub has a wide variety of Potosi beers on tap, many of which have not been bottled. There was also one Capital beer on tap. A pleasant beer garden adjoins the brewpub. No one in my group ordered food. Definitely worth a stop if you're in southwestern Wisconsin!

 615 characters

Photo of dethomp
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Loved it.

Pretty hard to to get there from here, but well worth it. My brief recommendation is: go there if you're within 50 miles and have some time to explore.

The population called Potosi is probably large enough to be considered a village. On my drive into the place (from the SW, I think) I quickly saw the legless water tower in the shape of a humungous Potosi Beer can. Too bad there was not a motel or campground or other way to stay overnight.

On entering the restaurant you'll first see the Beer Museum. At the first opportunity I went through the museum (free!). It's actually in a cave with a flat concrete floor. For some purpose there's a one half old classic car positioned like it's coming out of the cave wall. A bit later you'll go through a glass door into the humid part of the cave in which brewing was actually done, way back when.

Aren't many actually old breweries to visit.

Sorry, but the atmosphere and food were so great I've probably given beer rating a bit too high.

 1,000 characters

Photo of Bowers-Brew
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Neat brewery with an interesting/unfortunate location. Had some troubles traveling there...

Food at the restaurant was okay, not great but still good bar food.

Bar was pretty cool and seemed to draw some regulars.

Outdoor area looked nice, but it was cool when we visited.

Museum is an interesting touch and a good way to see some beer memorabilia.

 355 characters

Photo of jimbrinkruff
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My family and I were in Dubuque, Iowa for a half marathon and found this place on the internet. It was well worth the drive from Dubuque, although I must admit I wondered where we were going as it is on the outskirts of a Mississippi river town in the middle of nowhere. We arrived on the Sunday before Labor Day and were told there was a 45 minute wait because we didn't make reservations (which were recommended on Yelp) We instead decided to place our order at the bar and sit in the beer garden. My kids enjoyed wandering around the beer garden as we waited for our food. We need more beer gardens in America! The food was excellent and the beer was good too. Although the best part was the atmosphere. The museum was closed so we only saw the first floor and the gift shop. We got a growler of the Tangerine IPA and Root beer for the kids which was excellent as well and headed back for Dubuque. If we're ever in the area again (which I can't imagine why) I would definitely stop. Come and enjoy the beer and bring the kids.

 1,029 characters

Photo of crossovert
3.95/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This place is really nice. The beer museum is geared only towards old guard macros but it is only 5 bucks plus a free beer so it isn't bad.

They have a biergarten out back which was nice if not as charming as a Bavarian one. The place apparently got an unusual spike at noon so the service was slower but they made up for it by being very friendly. The food is pretty good and the beer is very good.

There is also a nice gift shop. Maybe it is worth a stop for some people alone, for others it won't be that important. It is in the middle of nowhere after all.

 562 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Potosi, WI, population 711.

The restoration project to rebuild the Potosi brewery took 7 years, and they did an amazing job. The best part about this place is the history really, and seeing an old brewery re-purposed as a brewpub and National Breweriana Museum. The architecture is cool, as the brewery was originally built into the side of a hill, and partially into a cave for cold storage.

On the first floor, the restaurant is to the left, and the free Potosi Brewery Transportation Museum is to the right. In back is the beer cave, and a gift shop. Upstairs is the National Breweriana Museum which is really fun, and worth the price of admission.

Stopped in the restaurant for lunch, and enjoyed the catfish po' boy, sweet potato fries, and caprese bruschetta. Beers were ok, the ESB and Black Ale needed some work, but the Holiday Bock was a nice pint. Wish they would brew the Czech Pils year round, and drop the ESB & Black Ale. Occasionally they do experimental batches, such as the DIPA version of Snake Hollow IPA, which was excellent. They serve the draft beers in chilled glasses (not frozen thankfully). Conetop tap handles and an elaborate hand carved bar that took 2200 hours to complete. A stained glass PBC logo was inset in the center of the back bar between two flatscreens. Weekday lunch crowd was mixed, senior tourists and bikers mostly, though two kids bellied up for some root beer.

Will return to check out the museum again someday, and maybe eat there again. Worth setting aside time to make a destination trip.

 1,544 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

On our way home from Iowa we made the stop in Potosi to check out the brewery and museum. Wow are we glad we did.

The brewery is a sprawling landscape of old meets new architecture. The brew pub is new and looks impeccable. Lots of stone and wood in a wide open space. High ceilings and large windows.

We decided to eat and drink first then get back to the museum. The food was great and the beer was pretty solid. Even the root beer was good. Service was prompt and friendly. The pretzel braids were the star of the show. If you go I highly recommend them. The spicy mustard was so good we had to get a bottle to go.

The museum was worth every penny of the $5 entrance fee. Three floors of every kind of breweriana you can imagine. They had the entire history of beer under one roof. This place is like the Smithsonian of beer.

If you consider yourself a beer geek you owe it to yourself to check this place out. A must stop for all beer lovers.

 954 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

We visited on a beautiful October Saturday. The brewpub is part of the National Brewery Museum. The website advised making reservations, but Potosi is a very small town and we questioned this advice. We arrived a bit after 11:30am for lunch. The parking lot was quite full including a tour bus parked across the street. There was a 30 minute wait for lunch but since it was only 2 of us we were able to be seated at the final open small table. The brewpub is rather small so the reservation advice is not unwarranted.

Atmosphere: The brewpub is within the original Potosi Brewery built in the mid 1800s. The original walls remain but the inside is new. A beautiful wood bar with nice detail work, shiny new copper kettles compliment it nicely. The bar/dining area was full just before noon on a Saturday with college football on a couple TVs behind the bar. There is also a patio with tables, chairs, hop vines, a pond and some music. Overall we enjoyed the atmosphere.

Quality: The beer was all well done, the root beer was also very good. The food was fresh and seemingly made from high quality ingredients.

Service: The hostess was a bit distracted given the busy times, but was pleasant and accommodated us nicely. The waitress was knowledgeable about the beer selections and the menu and was very friendly and attentive despite the full dining area. After the museum tour we got our free glass of beer and the bartender quickly served us and was friendly, despite the full bar.

Selection: 6 beers on tap, 4 year-round and 2 seasonals with 1 tap root beer. The food menu is the same for lunch/dinner so I could consider it limited but still enough for anyone find something they will like.

Food: The selection was a bit limited, but I have no problems with that because everything we had was hot, fresh and quite good.

Overall the good food, beer, and service will do nothing but ensure this place is a success. The museum is very interesting and worth the $7 admission to the second and third floors, especially with the free glass of beer.

 2,053 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Made a road trip to this place yesterday. Beware of detours! It is a neat place with some good beer, excellent service, ok food, and breweriana up the wazoo. Upon entering you can sign the guestbook then go left into the pub area, go right to get a view of an old tunnel decked out with old brewery equipment, or go straight ahead into the gift shop where they stock every possible kind of breweriana ever thought of. Outside they have a beer garden and a view of the spring which is their source of water for the brewery. The beers are a well made pale lager, a malty amber, a strong oatmeal stout, an IPA, a bock, and some other varieties as able. Fun place! Look forward to returning.

 687 characters

Photo of smspangler
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Finding your way to the Potosi Brewing Company is a snap. Just follow the classy PBC banners unflappingly attached to just about every telephone pole and lamp post for miles around. Not only do they give you the turns and reassurance that you're getting closer to 209 South Main St. (aka State Road 133, Wisconsin's Great River Road), they gave the reasons four late June 2009 visit: Beer, Food, Museum.

Established in 1852, the Potosi Brewing Company closed its doors in 1972. They reopened in July 2008, thanks to the Potosi Brewing Foundation, the community's 501(c)(3) nonprofit that restored the historic landmark to reconnect with part of its heritage and develop a destination of historic and educational interest to help sustain the viability of the Mississippi River town in southwest Wisconsin, population 711.

Modern cream brick additions flank the original two-story limestone brewery and its wood-framed third story. Straight back from the front door is the cave the founders dug into the limestone hillside to keep their brew cool. It now displays historic hand-operated bottling and kegging tools behind its glass wall and door. To reach it you pass through the Great River Road Interpretive Center. It doubles as the restaurant waiting room, and a trim oak obelisk neatly organizes computer kiosks and brochure racks.

Opposite of the restaurant is the free transportation museum that shows how PBC received barley and hops by water, rail, and road, and distributed its brews by horse-drawn wagon, train, and truck. Next to the computer quiz that sees if you're paying attention to the exhibits is the back half of a flawless turquoise 1957 Plymouth. Its open trunk is filled with period lagniappe salesmen used in making PBC the state's fifth largest brewery.

Before an early dinner, my wife and I explored the upper two floors, home to the National Brewery Museum and Library, a collaborative effort between PBC and the National Breweriana Association. (The $7 admission includes a 10-ounce brew or root beer.) We roamed among thousands of items, from cans, bottles, and trays, to tapper beer balls, neon, and antique brewery tools (like a beer keg croze) for nearly three hours. Watching classic 1950s beer commercials and other presentations were welcome sit downs.

In preserving and presenting the heritage of American brewing, what the museum makes clear is how much of our local identify and character we've lost with the breweries like Zolleres, Dahlkes, and Badger Certified Beer, 64-ounce bottles of Picnic Beer, and an important facet of every town's personality--the common beer hall. Carrying on are the craft brewer and brewpub.

In what was the third-floor hops room is PBC's 15-barrel mash/lauter tun and brew kettle. The fermentation tanks are on the main floor, to the right of bar, just past the window in the floor where brewery's sustaining spring gushes. I tried three of the five PBC brews. A devout stout and ale drinker, I passed on Good Old Potosi, a "light bodied and refreshing brew" with a "soft effervescent character," and Potosi Radler, a mixture of Good Old Potosi and lemonade.

Potosi Pure Malt Cave Ale is described as an amber pure malt and hop brew with a more assertive flavor profile. I found it full-bodied and creamy with a nice finish reminiscent of an English pale ale. The Holiday Bock went well with my excellent dinner burger. PBC calls it a "robust beer" that will "satisfy the demand for a dark and bracing brew in the tradition of a noble porter, stout, or bock beer." Okay, maybe, if it had a heartier body and a tad less sweetness.

I saved the Snake Hollow IPA for dessert. Its moniker comes from Potosi's original name, and PBC said "this sturdy ale will satisfy...hopheads," and I'll agree and put it toward the bottom of my Top 10 IPAs. Just to make sure, I had a second, and my wife said she'd drive. She shared a sip of her Princess Potosa Root Beer, which was hearty and smooth, and a bite of her dinner special, bluegill, which she declared "delicious" and I found tasteless...maybe because my tongue was embraced by the IPA's hoppy hug.

If you collect brewpub glasses, get your PBC pint in the bar. For the same gift shop price, $6.99, you get a free fill; after that is $3.25 a pint. The restaurant recommends reservations, and that seems wise. We sat down in an almost empty restaurant just before 5 p.m. on Friday; by 5:30 all but one or two of the tables was filled. Looking out the window at the Potosi Bottling Works across the street (now a craft store), I savored my final sips of IPA. Yes, the trip was more than worth the drive from Wisconsin's east coast.

 4,650 characters

Photo of Fartknocker
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I was here recently for an association meeting. It was during a weekday, so I can't accuratley comment on the atmoshere. The brewery was restored, starting in 2000 and finished June 2008, so it is still fairly "new". The food was good and the Holiday Bock was even better.

Upstiars is the Nat. Breweriana Museum. It was inlcuded in my meeting, but is otherwise $7/person. It was good but not worth $7, IMO. Lots of early to mid-1900's beer memorabilia (trays, bottles, signs, etc).

The old cave was pretty cool, but you can't go in, they make you look thru a glass door. Another nice touch was the glass observation windo in the floor of the spring water. As a whole, the brewery has been restored beautifully.

 713 characters

Photo of mynie
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

My friend and I decided, last minute, to make the trek from Waterloo, Iowa to Dark Lord Day. We'd make a beer weekend, take a couple of days where we think about nothing but having fun and hanging out, all idyllic and sunshiny. The plan is to go an hour out of our way and swing through Wisconsin, pick up some New Glarus and see if we could make some trades at the fest.

The tri-state area is gorgeous, by the way. There's a reason that all the lame white people around Chicagoland take their vacations in Galena. Hills, wooden houses, everything is brickish and pleasantly mottled. We swing up to a sweet little country store in Dickeyville to buy the New Glarus goodness. On the way we see a nice, professionally made sign for a brewpub up the way. What the heck, we said.

We figured it'd be a restaurant. Overpriced, probably, and probalby the kind of place the brews from kit. But whatever, we're looking to have fun.

Snaked down a long and narrow road through a handful of ridiculously small towns. Potosi itself has under a thousand people in it. We were expecting a brewpub that was connected to a baitshop; maybe some nice hillbilly could score us some meth or moonshine.

But then, out of nowhere, is a full-on regional brewing facility. Like, old school Huber and Falstaff. Turns out Potosi is an old, old brewery. Antebellum old. They did well throughout the first several decades of the twentieth century but then, like so many regionals, they died in the early 70s. And then someone went and decided to revive them, not only reopen the brewery but build up a big ol' 3-storey beer museum. This is the American Breweriana Association's official museum. How on earth had I never heard of it before? Why am I the only person to have reviewed it so far?!?

It's nice. Beer garden, tour lady, wooden bar, cool old ads, and a glass panel in the floor that lets you see the rushing of the natural springwater that goes into the beer.

The crowd is old, conservative, and square. But that's just the area. The whole rest of the vibe is great. (Blagojevich came on the TV at the bar and an older gentleman starting complaining. Not about Democrats, strictly, but about Chicago. "We tried sawing it off and selling off that whole damn area to Indiana but they wouldn't take it. It's--it's a goddamn sinkhole." "Yeah," I said, "and they got black people, too." The man's eyes widened and he nodded conspiratorially. "Too many, if you ask me," he said.)

The beer itself is old-school fine. If you like the gusto schlitz and are into the grandpa beers for reasons aside from their kitsch value, you'd do well to check out their brews. The bulk of the styles are mid 1900's American, with crisp and vibrant hop profiles and pleasant, non-metallic adjuncts.

This is place is just a gem.

 2,793 characters

Potosi Brewing Company in Potosi, WI
3.71 out of 5 based on 890 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.