Stonefly / Onopa Brewing Company

Stonefly / Onopa Brewing CompanyStonefly / Onopa Brewing Company
Stonefly / Onopa Brewing CompanyStonefly / Onopa Brewing Company
Brewery, Bar, Eatery

735 E. Center St.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53212
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 22 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Beerandraiderfan:
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.05/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5

Ah Riverwest. Where indie kids recycle the grunge look, and get robbed by the harsh realities of inner city life. Essentially, this place would rate even higher atmosphere, if it weren't for the total hoods and wanna be Seattle grunge kids trying to make a scene in the bad part of town. A really cool layout at the brewpub condusive to having bands and lesser dj's.

Quality just depends. There have been some times when you could count on the oatmeal stout and a pale to be hoppy and decent. Actually, the beer has never been the problem, its the inconsistent service, i.e., servers who will only serve you in a reasonable time frame if they know you and/or you have a bunch of metal shit in your face/face tattoos.

Food, I've had the pizza. You can't screw up pizza. Actually, some of their hippies veggie pizza was surprisingly good.

Aug 21, 2010
More User Reviews:
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BarrelAgedG from California

3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Aug 16, 2014
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MilwaukeeBeerMaker from Wisconsin

3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

Aug 12, 2014
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Dactrius from Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Jun 14, 2014
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TheRealPour from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Oct 30, 2013
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drpimento from Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Went there with a friend late yesterday afternoon. Had a few beers and appetizers. Good beers although the pale was almost like the IPA. The bitter was very good. Food (batter fried thick cut, meaty bacon and warm, soft, large pretzels; each with two sauces)was very tasty and good portions for the price. Friendly, beer knowledgable server. We sat out side in the large beer garden which, while not spartan ( rusty, old printing press, metal tables and chairs and picnic tables, an old row boat as a planter), was ok. Inside was nice.I look forward to returning.

Jun 04, 2011
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beerwolf77 from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here with the little lady today. I've been wanting to check this place out for awhile now.

Nestled in the trendy/ghetto neighborhood of Riverwest. Where hipsters meet gangsters. The place itself is very wide open and almost bare feeling. I'm not sure what it was but it just seemed too big for what was in it. A few booths up front some pub tables scattered through out. A stage to the left and some pool table sin the back. Bar on the right. A few random art pieces adorned the walls. We grabbed a pub table and ordered some beer and food.

The beers were pretty good. I had the english ale and RIS. The lady had a dopplebock. Our server was pleasant but rather pokey. We weren't in a hurry so no big deal but it could have been maddening.

The selection was decent for a small brew pub. 10 beers listed 3 of which were out.

The food was very good. I had the pub burger which was cooked to a perfect medium. The beer cheese sauce gave it a great complexity.

Overall a nice little brew pub. I will head back sometime and try the beer flight for sure.

Mar 26, 2011
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crossovert from Illinois

3.63/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I stopped in this place last night before dropping someone off at UWM.

It is decorated to appeal to hipsters, that is all who I saw in the establishment sans one attractive girl who seemed to work there, but wasn't a waitress. They had some shittier than hell 80s pop music playing, and the bartender seemed to be diggin it.

The server we got was friendly. I tried all 9 beers. Some of them were duds but a few were genuinely great. It seemed like most of the lighter beers had a bit too much diacetyl.

The food took awhile to come but it was pretty good and a decent enough size portion. My burger was a bit on the well side, but it wasn't bad.

Overall it is a place to add ticks, I don't remember exactly which brews were the good ones though.

Jan 31, 2011
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MilwaukeeCrusher from Wisconsin

3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I liked the vibe to this place.... an old building with pool tables, music actually coming from a turntable... sort of the ambiance that would come from a pub in Milwaukee in yesteryear. I got a flight of beers and maybe it was a bad day, but I thought they tasted sort of watered down. Of the bunch I like their IPA the best, but wasn't impressed with the beers at all. The selection of beers wasn't all different than a typical place, nothing to adventurous. Good scores for atmosphere, service (server was attentive and good) but the beers didn't agree with me and didn't seem right. I might have to go back a second time or try their stuff at a tasting.

Jan 13, 2011
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t0rin0 from California

3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Visited 10/10/2010. 6 house taps but one was blown.

It was a Sunday night and this place is kind of a neighborhood bar just outside of Milwaukee. When I went in I think there were 4 people in the building, 1 bartender and a couple patrons who seemed to know him. All were very nice.

They don't offer samples but I asked the guy to just fill me 4 or 5 oz into my glass for each beer and charge what ever he thought was reasonable. He then found some 8 oz glasses and filled those one at a time for me.

We started talking and got to talking about a lot of things but mostly the local area and music. We took turns choosing music from the Ipod. In the end (2 hours later) the tab was very cheap and I was only charged for one beer. So I left a very generous tip and headed for the hotel.

Not the most lively place and I think at the busiest there were maybe 10 people in the building. But it was a great time and I'd stop back in to say hi and to see what was new, not to mention the Four Wolves English Ale was great.

Dec 22, 2010
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botham from New York

3.14/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Stonefly is an odd brewpub, in that the beer does not seem to be a vital part of the operation. the brewpub is tucked away in the residential fabric of Riverwest, in a traditional brick building, with a non-assuming presence on the street.

inside the atmosphere is odd as well. the place is too big for the atmosphere that is being attempted. random bits of brewery schwag are scattered around sparsely, with high tables around the middle, and some low tables streetside. this place could easily have twice the seating put in and would not seem crowded. there is a stage near the back, which could explain the sparse conditions if the place gets a lot of traffic when the gigs come on.

quality is decent. do not expect anything out of the ordinary for a Milwaukee bar. service was friendly, but not beer-oriented at all. one could visit and only be greeted by knowledge of cocktails and shots (much like this BA).

selection was standard. six offerings, all standard styles, with four year-round brews and a couple seasonals.

overall, make this stop to try the beers, which are decent to solid in quality, but do not expect to find a great place to drink beer in Milwaukee.

Jun 15, 2009
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poland7 from Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +23.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 5

First off let me say that this place is al about the atmosphere. I mean the waitress bent over backwards to help us out. She even cut out pieces of paper for me and my buddies so we could play waterfall at the table. If you like Staut beers than this is the place for you. Their beer selection is not huge, but every beer you will try i think you will like. Also the food is pretty good, i recommend the burgerator-excellent. I will say the atmospher eis unique and may not be for everyone. It has an artsy kind of undertone to it, but if 5 fraternity guys on a Wisconsin brewery tour had a blast here for a couple hours than i am sure you will too.

Dec 23, 2008
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whiterascal from Arizona

3.73/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 5

I thought Stonefly was an interesting little establishment in MI. Not exactly what I was expecting, but I will say that I enjoyed my visit. The blonde ale was decent, although I don't remember the exact name. One thing that did not impress me was the current selection they offered. There were maybe 8 taps and 5 were porters or stouts. Tis the season, I do understand that, but a little more variety would have been nice. The service was good, although it wasn't very crowded. The ambiance was unique and had a younger vibe, although that wasn't reflected in the crowd. The food was FABULOUS. I only had their tofu wingers, but I have been craving them ever since. I would make the trip back just for those. Overall, I'd say it's a unique place, worth checking out.

Dec 06, 2008
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ronhocker from Wisconsin

3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I went back to stonefly recently to give them another chance as I heard they had a "non-smoking" section. We'll, after entering the door it smelled so bad like stale smoke that we immediately left. However, on the 3-4 times I've had stonefly brews they are quite good. They are similar to a good homebrew, they have that small batch quality to them.

The place has a great look to it, and the menu is very vegetarian friendly to go along with the hippie neighborhood. If it was smoke free it could be the best brewpub in Milwaukee, because for some reason, although Milwaukee has good breweries, there are no good brewpubs in Milwaukee in my opinion.

The smoke is so bad at this place I do not plan to go back until they are forced to forbid smoking by a future wisconsin law.

Oct 25, 2008
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FreightTrain from California

2.71/5  rDev -23%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2

Stonefly is a very spacious, well-designed space, but for me, that's where the goodness stopped. Their beers were not very good and the bottle selection was minuscule. I paid five bucks for a Two Hearted Ale, which lead to a realization: as I poured it into one of their standard beer glasses, I immediately noticed it came nearly to the top. I asked the bartender and apparently they serve all the draft beers in 14 oz. glasses! I couldn't believe it! What an outrage! I've heard of bars doing this but never seen it. I just couldn't believe the gall of this place to rip people off like that. I would never return for that reason alone. So I apologize for not remembering the rest of the details, but I was too irritated to pay attention.

Jul 24, 2008
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FirkinBucky from Wisconsin

4.68/5  rDev +33%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

If you've been here before, you might want to try again. They've classed up the place quite a bit. They've cleaned it up, added booths and have hired bartenders that are much more welcoming.

The beer is still excellent, but they've added good food and seem to be striving for more. I've always loved this place because of their atmosphere and beer, but now it's a place my wife likes as well. Milwaukee has a good number of beer bars worth visiting, but the brewpubs have been mediocre. This is easily the best brewpub in Milwaukee.

Jul 04, 2008
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I found this place to be located at the corner of East Center and North Fratney Streets. The door was in a pie-wedge shaped entryway and once inside, there was a slightly raised area with a sofa and two tables to the immediate right of the doorway. To the immediate left was a raised area with restaurant red booths and tables along the window. The curvy, Space-Age Formica topped bar was at a left oblique to the entryway. A chalkboard that detailed all of the current Stonefly offerings in colored chalk sat atop the minimalist blonde wood back bar. The center of the space was lightly dotted with tables and chairs.

Three-quarters of the way aft, on the left hand side, was a stage, usually for use of Friday and Saturday nights. Further aft, centerline, were two pool tables with tan (!) felt covering with the washrooms to the right of them, down a short passageway. Across from the washrooms was the brewhouse, in a locked room, but with plenty of glass to keep us looky-loos happy.

The place seemed to strive for an arty/minimalist vibe and definitely achieved it, and I was fascinated by some of the artwork. Most especially was the painting of the young woman in red against a gold background. It was very Warholian and depending on where I stood or sat, her eyes had either a piercing, angry quality or a dreamy, far-away expression. Further, was that a Jay that she was holding? The only thing that was revealed was “O’Neill – 2006”. Other pieces that were notable were the diptych of the Betty Boop-looking woman on the phone inside of a bubble highlighting her high-rise apartment with the cord stretching into infinity and the eight foot wood and copper rendition of a Victor rat trap, which was right out of a Night Gallery episode. Finally, I feel that I must mention the pea-soup green walls. Yow!

They had nine beers on during my visit and these included Sixfinger IPA (6.5%); Moustache Ride Pale Ale (6.0); Pierce Street Porter (5.5); Star Destroyer Imperial Stout (9.0); Bouzard’s Bitter Ale (6.0); Bottom Bracket Brown (5.5); Simon Bagley Stout (5.5); Light Ale (4.5); and Oatmeal Stout (5.5). They were all passable beers, but none of them struck me as a knockout. My pick was the Sixfinger IPA.

Jan 02, 2007
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BeerBelcher from Ohio

2.89/5  rDev -17.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I went to Nessun Dorma, and while I was hardly blown away by what I'd read about Stonefly, I decided to give it a try while in the neighborhood.

The Riverwest neighborhood is really interesting. Stonefly is on Center St and near the Fuel Cafe, the shop that provides the logo and the coffee for the Lakefront coffee stout of the same name. The neighborhood is definitely experiencing a revival, and I thought it a pretty cool place.

The place is very modern and big, with a decent sized stage and pool tables. The clientele were a half dozen early-20's hippie kids drinking "guest" beers. I was a bit turned off by the quality of the "guest" beers. These were mostly beers present for their retro charm rather than their brewing credentials and included Carling Black Label in cans, Schlitz cans, (I think) Blatz cans, and a whole bunch of PBR bottles.

The bartender was friendly, helpful, and quick, and the house brewed drafts were $3.50, which I thought reasonable.

The house beers were not too impressive. I had a Sixfinger IPA and a Pierce Street Porter (which I'll review separately), but I thought both were bested by a number of other bars and brewpubs in the area.

The space would be a good place to see a band or play pool, but I'm not planning on returning to Stonefly.

Dec 22, 2006
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BrewnZ from Washington

2.41/5  rDev -31.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 1 | service: 3 | selection: 3

When I walked through the door I was looking forward to visiting a local Milwaukee brewpub. Sampling some fine beers and getting some good pub grub.

As you walk throught the door the place really opens up. Long curved bar taking up 3/4 of the right hand side. Light wood tables on the left with huge windows (its a corner building) to watch the rain come down. Stage back left, bathrooms back right, and the brewery hide somewhere behind the walls.

Well, they don't serve any food so I headed across the street to Frank'n'Stein for a great Chicargo style hotdog & some great bottle beer.

Back to Stonefly, it was early during a week day so it was just me, a few locals, and the band setting up to play that night. I'm think this could be a cool place to hang out in, if the band is any good I might make a night of it.

After ordering the Oatmeal Stout, 14oz straight sided pint glass, black. Unfortunately I found it an undrinkable mix of stout and tonic water. Mentioned to the bartender it tasted peculair, she agreed, exchanged it for me, and later warned off another customer. So good for her. Again, unfortunately when the next beer arrived, Simon Bagley Stout 5.5%, it was also pretty awful. SOme roasted malt, with a big Tequilla like ethanol flavor. When my friends showed up, we left.

Nov 09, 2006
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orbitalr0x from Illinois

3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped here while in Milwaukee recently. Apparently this has recently switched over to Stonefly Brewing Company and is undergoing some remodeling. Upon entering you get the sense of "openness" from the's basically one big room with various seating areas and a stage for concerts in the corner. The bar is to the right and seats about 20 people with about 7-8 brews on tap. There's a bottle selection that has a decent amount of micros alongside plenty of cheaper macro brews as well.

There's a few pool tables in the back, where the huge mousetrap is on the wall. The mousetrap rocks...I love the curious artifacts like that hanging on the walls. Very cool, stylized tap handles to boot. Our bartender was extremely attentive and a really nice guy. Chatted us up about the current state of the place....I think lots of changes are in the works here.

I had the pale ale and the ESB. We tried samples of the imperial stout, brown and a few others...however, to be honest, most all of the brews left me looking for more. Hopefully, the quality will improve as the changes take place to the brewpub. This is also located in a bit of an interesting neighboorhood. Overall, in the current state I can't really recommend this place to the serious beer lover, however it is a cool building/space and I hope they work out the kinks cause this could be a really cool spot to check/hang out at.

May 02, 2006
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battlekow from Wisconsin

4.16/5  rDev +18.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

A brewpub that seems like a coffee shop, with a wide, open area which they use to stage concerts of many different sorts. It's very hot and very dark, but other than that, a great place to see an indie show and drink some good local beer. As far as being venue, it's not exactly perfect acoustically, but who could care after a few of the oatmeal stouts? The bartenders are very friendly, and treat the bands very well, providing them with many bottles of Lakefront Brewery stuff, as well as comping them on their own brews. I have no idea how many different kinds of beer they make (many more than the five listed on their BA page), but they only serve five at once. They also have some other random micros on tap and in bottles, but stick with the Onopa stuff. Pretty cheap, too. Onopa, I like you.

Jul 23, 2005
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SCW from New York

3.94/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A pretty cool place. This establishment has the vibe of a hipster bar, and that's usually what it draws. There's a gigantic mousetrap that looms over your head on one side of the wall, and a stage for bands and dj's in the coner.

The brewers are very friendly and accomodating, and I was able to sit down and talk to them while I was there. They are very enthusiastic about what they do, and are happy to let you see the brewery and show you around.

When I was there, I only had one beer. Why? Because the one I had was really good... the dubbel. I recommend trying it if you go.

It's in a location that is very popular amoung young adults and hipsters - riverwest. On any given weekend night, you can likely check out a cool live music act, from jazz to hip-hop to djs. And of course, there is plenty of fresh beer. Definitely worth your time.

Nov 16, 2004
Stonefly / Onopa Brewing Company in Milwaukee, WI
Brewery rating: 3.43 out of 5 with 26 ratings