Milwaukee Ale House

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443 Ratings

Type: Brewery, Eatery

233 North Water Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53202
United States

(414) 226-BEER | map

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Added by brakspear

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Ratings: 85 |  Reviews: 57
Photo of chris1919
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of Winter
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

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Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of Shluffy
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of RJB66
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of tjkurz
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is on the Milwaukee River in an old cream city brick building. The deck overlooking the river is an awesome place to get some some and enjoy some beers. The beer and the selection of beer is great - along with the standards they usually have a couple seasonals. Solomon Juneau Hop is my favorite to chase a Bloody Mary - their Bloody Mary's are very good as well. I recommend the chicken nachos - the chicken is prepared in beer - they are the best chicken nachos I ever had. Pizza is also good.

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Photo of bashiba
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The atmosphere of this place was very solid, a huge place, they were setting up for a band that was playing later. We sat at the bar and all the local's were very friendly and pleasant.

The beers were all very good, everything our group tried was above above average.

The service was a bit slow as they were very busy, but they were all very helpful, quick to give us samples and try and answer questions.

The selection was pretty solid, there must have been close to 10 beers to chose from on tap plus a couple on Cask.

The food was very good, some nice little twists on classic recipes like the Blue Cheese Potato salad was great.

The pricing was all very fair and pretty much about what you expect for a downtown metro bar.

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Photo of Abbbp
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

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.

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Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Good selection of very fine house brewed beers in a good atmosphere and with great outdoor seating on the river. A must for any beer advocate passing through Milwaukee.

I made two trips to this place during my week in Miwaukee, once for lunch and once for dinner. I tried their Belgian golden ale, which was excellent, their IPA, which was good, and their porter, which was excellent.

Lunch was great, dinner was good. Service was very good both times.

Very large dining room and bar area with a couple pool tables.

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Photo of poland7
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

The location is god, right in downtown close to other great places. Also the atmosphere is really cool-seems like "that local bar" everyone goes to. Their beer selection is not extravagant, and the beer itself is not fabulous, but it is definitely worth checking out. The service is great and their beer is better than a lot of beer you will find in many of the local bars. i have to say however, that while i did like the atmosphere in is not to personable. because it has that local bar feel you may feel like an outsider at times.

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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.

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Photo of Eman17
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

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.

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Photo of brakspear
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

A great addition to Milwaukee's Third-Ward warehouse district since 1997. Located on Water Street, about four blocks or so south of Wisconsin Ave., it is worth the trip if you are visiting downtown Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Ale House anchors the southern end of Milwaukee's Water Street brewpub lineup, with Stout Brothers Public House and the Water Street Brewery further north about 8-10 blocks.

Cream City brick walls and exposed timbers and polished wood are the dominant decor, with a long bar ready to serve the tastiest ales in Milwaukee. I think the large wooden barrel behind the bar that holds all the beer taps might be a refuge from the Stevens Point Brewery's purging of its old wooden fermenters in the mid 1990s.

The brewpub's ales are always tasty, and there is generally a few guest beers as well from other local breweries or brew-pubs. They also have "cask conditioned" ales served from beer engines occasionally.

The restaurant is towards the back of the building serving standard assorted sandwiches, pizzas, salads, etc. Nothing special, but pretty good. The back of the restaurant also fronts the lower Milwaukee River so you can watch an occasional tugboat or canoe ply its murky depths.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

More like a sports bar than a beer bar - not like that's necessarily bad. High tops in the front with dining area in the back. Oh, and inconveniently located restrooms in a shared hallway.

Food and decor were nice. Had a big bar area dominating one it should.

Service was good in the bar area. Not necessarliy fast; you know if waitstaff is trying to be helpful, it take some time. Our waitress was helpful on the food and, most importantly, knowledgeable about the beer.

Selection was good in that had a wide range in their own beers, but much more limited outside of that.

I thought the food was very good and price was reasonable. I'm a pretty simple guy though.

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Photo of timmlimestone
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Gotta tell you. The beers are not here on this space, and i am not far enough to add more beers. But I had the Entire Butte Porter and the McCabes irish Red tonight, and I am glad.

We ahd been to the Ale house several times, but since they opened the other brewery space they have exploded. They have great beers, not just passable beers. They have really good beers where they used to just have beers.

The Red is amazing. Malty not hoppy not too sharp, but very good all the same. Almost a Mick-Kraut Bastard version of the same.

The Porter was dark, deep and beautiful.

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Photo of blackearth
4.08/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I've been to the Milwaukee Ale House numerous times in the past 10 years. I just recently had their sampler, and I can say that overall they brew some great tasting beers, but nothing earth-shattering. You can easily find a stlye to fit your taste or mood. My favorites include Pull Chain Pail Ale, Louise's Demise, and Sheepshead Stout. AHA members get half priced pints with the pub discount which is a great deal. The food here has typically been very good as well and resonably priced. Only a couple downsides to this place, the first being that free parking is hard to come by, although there is a parking garage nearby. Second complaint I have is that while I don't mind live music, it's always way too lound in this place when a band plays. You can sometimes find a corner in the back to escape the noise if you're lucky. If it's summer however, you can sit on the patio that overlooks the Milwaukee River and the Riverwalk.

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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.

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Photo of logansboat15
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

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Milwaukee Ale House in Milwaukee, WI
Brewery rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 443 ratings