South Shore Brewery

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South Shore BrewerySouth Shore Brewery
474 Ratings
South Shore BrewerySouth Shore Brewery

Type: Brewery, Eatery

808 W. Main Street
Ashland, Wisconsin, 54806
United States

(715) 682-9199 | map

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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by Strix:
Photo of Strix
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The place is divided into 3 sections, a restaurant side, a bar side, and a relatively new added section called "the alley". The restaurant is decorated with a psuedo-nautical/northwoods theme, par for the course around here I guess. The bar has a pretty cool old wooden bar and lots of old signs on the wall. The alley is a sparsely-furnished room with a bar, and is billed as a pizza joint, but I'd look elsewhere in Ashland for pizza (Frankie's, Hugo's).

Service can be hit and miss, sometimes servers or bartenders know what they're talking about, other times not so much.

The food here is quite good, definitely among the best in town, maybe a bit pricey for the area.

Given the other bar options in town, why not support a small-town microbrewery? Certainly worth a stop if you're in the area.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of U2Chaser
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Foxman27
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Photo of The_Original_Drinker
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Photo of jonesjere
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of Graetzj
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Photo of BarrelAgedG
3.61/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of d5001986
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Love to come here to eat, the burgers and waffle fries are fantastic! As for the beer; most of the offerings in the past haven't left me overly impressed, but the Wisconsin Pale is pretty tasty - so get that if available.

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Photo of Savan
2.68/5  rDev -26%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25

service SUCKED. nice place, nice area. Good beer, and Good pricing. but service was very slow. and i wanted another beer ... got sick of waiting for one. As a place i was impressed, aside from brewing their own beer, they had several bars with in their establishment. the food and selection of beer and appetisers was very good for the area .

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Photo of mkf629
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of pweis909
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4

This was my local brewpub for a decade, so the review reflects accumulated experience with the joint rather than a singular visit.

Atmosphere: space is divided into several distinct areas, including
-The Deepwater Grille - a very nice sit-down eatery that offers high quality meals and mostly booth seating, with ground floor and balcony seating and a small bar with about 6 stools that is seldom used by patrons. You are likely to see families dining in this portion.
-The South Shore Brewery- this is middle section of the brewpub, and contains the main bar, a long, rectangular island that probably seats about 20-30 and is staffed by 1-2 servers depending on business. There are 3 (or maybe 4) TVs around the bar. There are also about 8 tables in the room and 1-2 floor servers, and a larger TV that is viewable by the back tables. While it's not a sports bar, this is likely what is on the TV, especially if the Badgers or the Packers are playing. The clientele ranges in age, but you generally do not see families with children in this area.
-The Alley - this area serves as both a dining area and "spillover" from the main bar. While you might be able to order food from the Deepwater's menu, the main food service in the Alley centers around standard bar fare like pizza and burgers, with enough variation thrown in to make it sill somewhat interesting. Depending on time of day, you might encounter families with children. There is a small bar that seats about 8-10, and probably about 20 tables on a lower level and a balcony level. TVs will usually be on including two at the bar and two large screen ones on the floor. On one Tuesday of just about every month, the Alley hosts a popular science talk series from about 6:30 PM to 8 PM. The place gets pretty packed on these nights, so if you are not there for the science, you might want to move to the main bar or the Deepwater.

Quality: My experience with beers here has been quite variable. In general, I find their darker beers to be consistent, and I like them, and I have found their pilsner to be consistent, and it is OK. Their pale ales (ESB, American Pale Ale, Wisconsin Pale) have been quite variable in my experience, from quite good to send-it-back bad. Low points in my experience with these beers include watery texture, inconsistent hop character, and prominent diacetyl character. I've enjoyed a nicely balanced hefweizen and I've had a banana bomb. I've never been impressed by their one-off Belgian styles which come across as sweet to me. These issues are not always present, and sometimes these beers are very good. But they need to establish better batch-to-batch consistency and they MUST keep the draft lines clean.

Service: I have always liked my servers, but have almost never had a server who really understands beer, so don't expect knowledgeable recommendations and don't expect heady conversations about your favorite libation. But you can expect them to wait on you and get you your food and drink and be generally friendly towards you.

Selection: I described some of the beers above. You can check out their selections using BA and I think you will agree that they have made a lot of different styles for a small town brewpub. Usually 5-6 will be on draft, so not a huge number at any one time. The menu rotates around a lot, so you can go in a not find what you might consider to be a brew pub standard, like a pale ale, but you will usually find something pale (could be the Pilsner or the herbal cream ale - not my fav). Almost always, you will see the nut brown and some sort of stout, but they tend to not embrace the popularity of the American hop -- I've never seen an IPA or DIPA on their menu, and as stated before, I have sometimes been disappointed with hop character of pale ales.

Food: Really, the best restaurant food in Ashland. You can find standard fare but also some things that are a bit off the beaten path, like wild mushroom lasagna and duck breast, if you are there for a dining experience. If you are from a metro area, you likely will know better restaurants, but for a town of less than 10000, this is what outstanding looks like.

Value: In my experience, entrees range ~$14-22 range, burgers, ~$7-10, pizzas, ~10-16. For Ashland, this is the high end of prices, but still a good value for food. The beers are typically priced ~4-5 for a pint.

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Photo of Chaz
4.68/5  rDev +29.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I visited South Shore and the Deep Water Grille over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Although I know the history of the brewery, I was still a little surprised when I arrived, as it's a much larger complex than I'd at first imagined it to be: a full two-story restaurant occupies the western half of the complex, and this has a smaller bar near the host station at the main entrance.

The place was packed as we arrived, and we were a little worried about a wait 'til we peaked into the room next door -- a full bar in and of itself, and a beautiful one at that! As impressed as I would later be with the board of fare, I was equally impressed with the hand-carved dark woods accented with real stained glass lightboxes -- it's evident that a lot of love and care has found its way into this establishment.

On the walls all 'round this bar you'll find both trophy mounts and unique examples of breweriana, adding a layer of Northwoods hominess and historical brewing charm.

Further to the eastern half of this complex is yet-another bar area, and I believe there's a patio even further-on, but we opted to sit at the more ornate bar area as there were seats available here, and a gathering crowd behind us.

Our bartender greeted us immediately and his attitude set the tone for our visit: laid-back but friendly and enthusiastic. We started our meal with a sampler of the brews on offer, and although there were only spots for six 3-ounce sample glasses, he sidled two additional samples right alongside these six, so we were able to try all of the beers available on tap -- for only $3, this is one helluva deal to my mind.

As I have enjoyed South Shore's beers before, I will not add to my opinion of same here except to say that the samples that we enjoyed were spot-on.

Between appetizers and entrees the menu is a fairly extensive one, and I opted for a fajita salad topped with Ancho pepper-rubbed steak. My traveling companion chose a broiled cod sandwich and this, too, sounded like a good choice based upon the bartender's opinion on the method of preparation. For a starter I simply had to try the beer cheese soup, and was not disappointed with their unique rendition of that classic. In brief, the salad was outstanding, and I would order it again if given the opportunity. Fact is, the next time I visit (and their will be a next time) I might 'starve' myself beforehand in order to enjoy a couple of different entrees; if the rest of the menu is as well-realized as this salad, I have much to look forward to!

Considering the portion sizes here, the prices were -very- fair. Likewise, the service was excellent throughout, from re-filling my ice water to making change from a large face bill to knowing when to suggest a snifter of Weizen Eisbock.

If I had one more observation to offer here it's one I find to be both humorous and routine: with one exception, the regulars around the bar eschewed the brewpub's brands in favor of low calorie beers from Coors, Bud and Miller (Lite), straight from the bottle -- the lone exception being an employee enjoying several PBR longnecks after a shift : )

After years of enjoying "Bo's beer" at Gitchee Gumi, on-tap, and from the bottle, I'm happy to have finally had a chance to visit the brewery that makes it all possible and am eagerly-awaiting a return visit; when it comes to Northwoods brewpubs I consider the Deep Water Grille to be as much of a "Must Visit" as the world-famous Fitger's brewpub in Duluth.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Grabbed some lunch here on a Monday while on vacation in Ashland, WI in Spring 2011.

South Shore Brewery is part of the Deep Water Grill which they have a resturant, bar, and a brewery for drinking there and they also bottle for retail sale; the closest place to buy it is right across the street at Star Liquor. The service was the standard good service you expect. Had a standard variety of sit down food/meals as well as special seafood dishes. Got a lot more food than I was expecting for the price and it was nice to have a local store made brew instead of the major macro-brews which were only $4 a glass. Something nice to try if up north!

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My best friend and I had this location as a must-stop on our annual Guys Only Road Trip. The Lake Superior location, in a quaint Northwoods/Great Lakes shore side town make it more interesting.

The lodge look was very authentic, not staged. Many of the customers were not tourists like us, but regular families.

The beer selection was solid, 6 beers:
-Rhodes Scholar Stout
-Nut Brown
-Bitter Blonde
-Inland Sea Pilsner (Honey)
-American Pale Ale (APA)

My friend and I each tried something different (Brown Ale, Stout, Pilsner, and the Pale Ale). My opinion of the beer may be slightly bias because after nearly 8 hours in a car, plenty of hiking and stops in between Northern suburbs of Chicago and The Great Northwoods, in the third week of May, with the whitecaps in full form on Lake Superior/wind ripping through you and a magnificent storm cruised into the bay; a few beers to keep off the chill were EXACTLY what we needed to revitalize our spirits! The Brown Ale and Stout were above average.

The food was typical pub fair, amazing freshwater fish selection. Big tasty pieces of fish! Give this place a try if you are in the area.

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Photo of syrupjoe
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

Full beer flight included 8 beers for $8 - I suppose that's a fair
deal. Shared a bunch of appetizers with some friends, and was not impressed. Since when is bruschetta made with pesto, ham, and mozzarella? Six packs of their brew are sold in local liquor stores, but upon checking two locations, they were sold out!

We sat upstairs so our server was sweating by the time we left, but he was a very nice guy.

Pros: Relaxed atmosphere, no crowds. The Nut Brown Ale and American Pale Ale.

Cons: Asked 3 times for literature about their brews because no one was able to tell me anything about them other than their names. The food was pretty lame. Hardly anyone was there, but we had to wait 30+ minutes for food and 40+ minutes for beer.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

We went to South Shore Brewery/Deepwater Grille while on family vacation with my wife's parents and her sister. Originally we weren't going to go here, or maybe just get a beer, but our first choice was not open so we "settled" for South Shore. Ah, Providence.

There was plenty of open space, and the whole time we were there (on a Monday in tourist season) it never got more than half full. We had been kayaking that day so were hungry and tired.

First we got a flight of beers to share, which came on a very nice wooden plank with most the names of the beers engraved into it. However, with no accurate beer menu on the table, it was hard to remember exactly what everything was. All of the beers were good. Not great, but very good. Three of the five of us ordered beers, they came quickly and looked good.

But what makes this place really worth it to me is the food. Lots of local goods, very inventive, high quality dishes. All of our meals were top quality. As I found with most of the Ashland/Washburn/Bayfield area, this is foodie country, and all the restaurants show it.

What I would like to see different at this place though is better food and beer pairings, a current tap list on each table or in a highly visible spot, and better spirits. Wisconsin makes great vodka's, gin's and other things, yet behind the bar here was Bacardi, Absolute, Bombay. Nothing local at all.

Overall, IMO, a worthwhile stop if you are anywhere in the area, and worth a small diversion if you have time.

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Photo of Redrover
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

The South Shore is located large older cream brick building right on the main drag. They were brewing the day I was there, so I could smell it before I could see it.

When you enter you see the tanks to your right (behind glass), a secondary bar to your left, the hostess station in front of you and the dining room on your far right.

The dining room has very high ceilings and a 2nd level balcony over the right hand portion. This is nonsmoking.

Unfortunately, they still allow smoking in the bar (at least until next July when the whole state goes smoke free). I hate to see brewpubs allow smoking as it kills your ability to really taste and smell their beers.

It is decorated in kind of a old school Northwood's saloon motif. There is green paint, green carpeting, green table tops & green chair seat covers. There is also a lot of oak, large mirrors and outdoor stuff on the wall (snow shoes, fishing nets, prints, etc.).

Service started very slow, but once they finally got to me, they were quick and friendly.

Food was good with a pretty wide-ranging menu. I can recommend the beer cheese soup made with their brown ale. Prices may seem a tad high for the area, but the quality was good and the place was crowded, so I guess everyone thought it was fair.

Only 6 beers on tap 4 regulars (cream ale, Brown ale, a stout and a honey pilsner) seasonals included a German hefe and a pale ale. My cream ale was pretty bland even given the style.

I went out of my way for a visit; I really can't recommends that you do the same. However in your in the area, perhaps doing the waterfall tour at Hurley or visiting the Apostle Islands off Bay Field it is well worth a stop.

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Photo of WJVII
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Had a chance to go here after the Woods to Water 80 mile relay. At that point in the day we were very tired, very hungry and ready for a good meal and some awesome brew. This place has a decent set up, but a little tight. There is a long bar off to the left and then another "bar room" on the other side of a wall. To the right of the door is the restaurant. Interestingly you could go upstairs and look over a balcony (only if you were a party of 2 as it was narrow seating) and look over. The selection of food was limited, but tasty. A few in my group had one of the specials (prime rib) and raved about how great it was. I thought the prices were a little high for what you go, but it was better than average food.

The brew was solid, but there were only 7 on tap at that time. We sampled a few and think that they had something else on tap and the manager agreed it was not what was labeled but couldn't tell us what it was? (Ya that was horrible). We have eaten there the last few years after this event and will continue to do so. If in the area worth a stop.

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Photo of benito
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

It had been almost three years since I last visited Ashland and the South Shore Brewery before I made a visit last week. My recollection was that it was an above average, though otherwise undistinguished, brewpub. My memory served me correctly...

Located in a large brownstone toward the east end of Ashland's 'historic downtown,' South Shore is divided into two parts--restaurant and bar. The restaurant has seating on both the ground and upper levels and is pocketed with wooden booths and sea- (or Great Lake-) faring paraphanalia.

The food is upscale and pricey for the Northland. My shaved prime rib sandiwch was tasty and substantial, but it also cost $11. Similarly, the cream of mushroom and wild rice soup was excellent. I haven't eaten at many other places in Ashland, but from what I've seen and read, South Shore stands out. It certainly has some atypical ingredients for the area.

As for beer, this may be where they drop the ball a little. The six taps are occupied by the perennial Cream Ale, Rhoades Scholar Stout, and Nut Brown. They had three seasonals on tap when I visited: a pale ale, a tripel, and a hefe weizen. The Pale Ale was well balanced and very nicely hopped. The hefe was a little watery, though I'm glad that they went for a true German version; the tripel had a nasty fishy taste that made me put it down after a few sips.

South Shore is a nice oasis on the US-2 corridor between Duluth/Superior--good beer towns--and the Upper Peninsula--a near desert for brew. But, it's not much more than that. Stop in, if you're driving past.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

We showed up here late after a long day, and then felt old. I think we were in time for the local meat market. Still a nice place, but I would probably enjoy it more in the afternoon sipping on a pint. I didn't order any food, but some friends ordered pizza and seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. Free popcorn was fresh, buttered, and hot. Big place in a historic building and lost of nooks and crannies to sit with friends and hang out.

Overall the beer is good to middlin'. Had a pint of the Rhoads Scholar Stout, which was a perfectly fine brew, but not what I hoped for by buying the expensive $5 pint rather than one of the others. All the farther I got.

We stayed overnight in Ashland, which is really cool in the morning light during a dawn walk. Historic downtown and nature is a good draw, one I hope to avail myself of again someday and give South Shore another shot.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
1.65/5  rDev -54.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 1.5 | food: 2

If I come across as bitter in my review, it’s because I was solidly disappointed by my visit to South Shore Brewery/Deep Water Grille.

I was wildly impressed by Bo’s offerings at the Great Taste of the Midwest and decided that day in August to plan a trip to Ashland. Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I made the trip.

I’ll start with the restaurant and go from there.

The Deepwater Grille area was decorated with a Weekend at Bernie’s theme. Aside from the fact that the place was decked out like a seaside bar circa 1985, two major atmosphere problems exist:

1. I guess packing you in like sardines is part of the seaside appeal because the tables are way too close together. To make matters worse, the place feels like Chucky Cheeses with dozens of screaming brats running all over.

2. My girlfriend and I opted for a booth to avoid the cluster-F that was the dining area only to find ourselves seated under the most obnoxiously bright and buzzing pink neon and white florescent lights.

Then the service problems arrived. The staff was way too young, undertrained, and inexperienced. Our servers (we had a half dozen it seemed) were all in their mid-teens, could not answer the most basic questions about the beer (or the food for that matter), made countless mistakes, and were otherwise preoccupied or generally lost looking. The manager who stumbled through the dining are from time to time didn’t seem to have a clue either.

The menu was impressive and I could tell that the chef was trying to bring some interesting cuisine to Ashland but in the end he failed to deliver.

My salad was mostly iceberg and the veggies were not fresh. The French onion soup tasted like it was from a can. It was supposed to come with a toasted piece of French Bread with brie on it but the chunk of bread was undertoasted and hardly cheesed. Our meals were also disappointing. My pasta was bland and the ingredients were low quality. We also had a dish billed as a “stuffed chicken,” which came as two formerly frozen, boneless breasts with almost no stuffing.

Later on I noticed some decent looking burgers and fries being served up in the bar area. My advice if you go to South Shore is to stick to the basics and eat in the bar.

Onto the important stuff…BEER.

Again disappointing. I was turned onto South Shore because of all the creative and innovative brews I had tasted at the GTMW in August but the brewery had only one of these on tap when I was there, the cream ale.

In total, South Shore only offers six beers at any given time. This is too few in my book especially when a couple of them, including a bumbling attempt at a red lager, are virtually undrinkable.

I had a sampler in the restaurant and then set about drinking several pints in the bar. This was ok because I had planned to spend several hours at South Shore and had arranged a room at bed and breakfast a few blocks away so that I could stumble back to my room when my liver or head could take no further abuse.

At the bar I drank several pints of Irish Stout. It was decent but as it warmed it became too sweet and almost unfinishable. In fact, I found this to be the common link between all of South Shore’s beers. They are overly sweet and under hopped.

I will admit that the atmosphere of the bar area, which is separated from the chucky cheeses next door by a thick brick wall is pretty damn good.

The bar itself is totally old school and the walls are decorated with fairly authentic looking, fo-antique beer memorabilia. I dug it. The room on the other side of the bar (opposite chucky’s) is a non-smoking bar area that features live music. The night we were there, they were playing some pretty decent blues-rock. The basement is a cheaply finished rec-room with a couple pool tables and a dart board.

While the atmosphere improved in the bar, the service did not. These bartenders were undoubtedly professionals of their trade but their trade was drinks and not beer. Neither of these two bartenders at a BREW PUB on a Saturday night could tell me the slightest thing about any of the beers. I couldn’t blame them, the crowd was all drinking manhattans, old fashions, and other assorted drinks. I guess the folks up in Ashland just don’t get good beer yet.

To make matters worse, the bartenders seemed to get intimidated by my questions and then avoided us for the rest of the night. It grew hard to get a pint. I am not an intimidating kind of guy and have worked in bars and restaurants for years. These were just bad bartenders.

I guess my overall advice on South Shore/Deep Water Grille is to skip it and instead go to the impressive Star Liqours across the street, stock up on several local beers, and then go back to your hotel and order room service. If you do go, definitely skip the restaurant and stick with the bar. At least the atmosphere is good there.

Then again, we're talking about Ashland. There's really not much alternative if you want to go out.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

This is a nice stop for a late lunch; the building appears to be recently renovated (within last few years), it is clean and well decorated. I appreciate that it is NOT a chain restaurant.

My wife had a Belgian Wheat, the waitress was reluctant to refer to is as a 'Wit' but it did have a nice coriander spice flavor and hazy yellow color.

I had a Stout, it was a sweet or milk stout, with malt and chocolate malt flavors thin lacing and not much hop flavor, bitterness or aroma.

I thought it was interesting that they have a graphic in the beer menu that shows beers ranging in color from light to dark and sweet to bitter (hop flavor) and placed their beers on the chart with indications of how they should compare with more widely distributed beers (Guiness, Sam Adams, etc) This is a good touch, and should be a help in deciding what style of beer they are offering and brewing.

I would stop again if in the area.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Off Hwy 2 in Ashland a block south on Main Street close to the McDonalds. Nice big place with high ceilings, a small bar area in front with the rest open and spacious for the restaurant. Two sides split off from the entrance and bar where either side you may dine, depending on how busy it is. The side we sat on had an upper level above the main dining area like a long deck. The brewing kettles are visible through some windows on that same side. Decor of a Northwoods lodge, hunting & fishing gear. The service is pretty good, our waitress was a little mixed up on what beers were what but we were able to talk to Bo the Head brew guy for awhile while trying some of the brews which are offered in 10oz or 16oz glasses. Food is darn good, some unique choices on the menu with twists on average American fare, good fish specials, and some of the best beer cheese soup I've ever had.
The beers are pretty good, they have four year rounders, Nut Brown, Oatmeal Cream, Stout, and their famous Honey Beer, which wasn't bad. Two seasonals rotate throughout the year, which were a pretty good EPA and a one time unique Herbal Cream. They're all pretty good to average, worth a stop if you ever find yourself in Northern Wisconsin to visit the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, or just passing through. If not for the beers, the food will do just fine.
And Growlers @ 7$ a piece, what a steal of a deal.

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South Shore Brewery in Ashland, WI
Brewery rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 474 ratings