Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Minocqua Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Minocqua Brewing CompanyMinocqua Brewing Company
80 Ratings
Minocqua Brewing CompanyMinocqua Brewing Company

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

238 Lakeshore Dr
PO Box 81
Minocqua, Wisconsin, 54548
United States

(715) 356-2600 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

BA Score:
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by hu5om:
Photo of hu5om
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

went there today. atmosphere is a bit up northy a bit brewery. right on the water. dining room downstairs and upstairs is a bar/longue that's 21+ with no food. they had 7 of their beers available. You can get a sampler paddle with 5oz pours of all 7 for $10. The wheat sucks. it's for macro drinkers. most of the other stuff is decent. i had fish and chips, very good. the burgers looked pretty good too. growlers are $18 with $10 refils. in northern wisconsin, there aren't a lot of great drinking experiences, so this one does the job pretty well.

 549 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of atone315
3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

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

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

The Minocqua Brewing Company has been around for a good number of years, but it's been under the current management for under a decade. The beers that are currently brewed were purchased from the previous owner/brewer; and as far as I know, they have done nothing to the old recipes.

The establishment itself is divided into two sections: the lower level is the main dining area with a bar of its own, and the upstairs is known as Divano Lounge, which only serves beer and alcohol. Divano has been known to get some good musical acts, and they usually have live music on weekends throughout the year. This is also where they have Quiz Night and other special events. This upstairs has a distinct vibe from the lower level--almost a speakeasy feeling, as opposed to the downstairs' more family-friendly feeling. The entire place is immaculate and well-maintained, with nice features and beautiful views of Lake Minocqua. Divano Lounge, especially, has a great vibe that hearkens back to times past without feeling kitschy or backwoodsy.

The quality beer is certainly above-average for the area. They brew five beers as year-round staples: Whitey's Wheat, Minocqua Pale Ale, Wild Bill's Wild Rice Lager, Bear Naked Brown Ale, and Pudgy Possum Porter. Then the brewmaster always has a seasonal variety on tap. Some of their best seasons include a hefeweizen, a cranberry ale, and a black IPA. When compared to craft beer at large, these don't shine so bright. Their wheat, brown, and porter are all adequate examples of the style. I'm not as sold on their pale ale, which could use more floral and bright notes in the nose and the flavor. One of their most unique brews is the wild rice lager, which I find to be one of their best--it has a similar flavor profile to Fat Tire.

The service at the MBC is predominantly friends and adept, though it certainly has suffered at times of high volume (most of the summer is very busy). But the bartenders are quite knowledgeable and friendly, as well as the management. The brewery itself is located on the second floor, and one can frequently strike up a good conversation with the brewmaster during the daytime.

The selection is somewhat limited, insofar as they only offer six (or possibly seven) of their own brews at any one time. The Minocqua Brewing Company sells only their own beers (with the exception of a non-alcoholic variety), so don't expect to be able to order a major craft offering, or even a Bud Light.

The food at the MBC, for the price, is above-average for the area. Nothing earth-shattering on the menu, although I will say that the appetizers are probably among the best things they offer. I do really enjoy their beef and brie sandwich, as well as their reuben and Rachel reuben sandwiches. The real drawback, as far as the food is concerned, is how long it often takes to get your meal at peak hours: in the summer months, don't expect to get your food in under 30 minutes after ordering.

 2,958 characters

Photo of jonesjere
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of Irishace9
4.16/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of Soneast
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of JRdaSconnie
2/5  rDev -44.6%

Photo of Bengineer83
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Desimoaj
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of enelson
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of NewGlarusFan
3.19/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3

I was very excited to try this place out. It is very crowded most nights during summer. Beers are just alright nothing to rave about and food is good not great. The biggest problem I have with this place is the dining area is so small while the rest of the place is wasted space. Only a basement with 10 tables can sit to eat and drink. I don't understand why they would set up the place to be a snobby hangout upstairs to serve ok beer and only have a small room to serve good food. I did not want to give this place such a low rating because there is potential. Ryan the owner is a very nice man.

 598 characters

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped here after the Minocqua Summer Beer Festival. Surpised the atmosphere was very tame after the festival (it was literally next door). I had always wanted to visit this place because I had tasted their Wild Rice Ale at a tasting and thought if was one of the better I've had for the style. I got a flight and none of the rest of the line up didn't extinguish themselves, although maybe they were hurt by how much I like the Wild Rice beer (probably should contract brew it). I also think it would be neat to make a few bold beers, but understand that may not be the demographic in the north woods. If I'm in the area I probably would stop again for the Wild Rice and the lack of alternatives. Good brewery, but not great.

 727 characters

Photo of BeerLover99
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

This little gem in the middle of the Northwoods was a place my best friend and I had to hit during our annual Guys Only Road Trip.

Very charming little place, that you could drive by a few times until you realized it's a brewpub, silly. The view of the lake is just breathtaking and nice to sit down with some pubfare, a few pints and just breath in the great outdoors.

The staff were very friendly with good service, the place was less than 1/2 full, probably because we were there the 3rd week of May, right before the super busy Summer season.

The food selection was standard pub fare, nothing too terrible or too exciting. Fish + Chips was my choice, I enjoyed it.

The beer selection was not bad, about 7 beers. I sampled the Porter and the Brown Ale, both were pretty good.

I would recommend this place if you are in the area, but you don't need to travel to the ends of the Earth for this brewpub.

 913 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Minocqua was on the way back from my Aunt and Uncle's house in St. Germain so we swung by for a beer and appetizer. Right on the lake, it was a prime location. From what I saw, the inside was pretty awesome. Good design with natural colors and warm decor. The fire place with couches was great and downstairs on the way to the patio was nice.

Outside was basic. Tables and chairs fenced in. Nothing special but necessary, especially for the beautiful location it's at. I especially liked the hops growing on the fence too. A few varieties were on there I believe. It seemed like there were both male and female which seemed odd to me since the female shouldn't be in the presence of male hops to produce cones for brewing, but I could be wrong.

We had a plate of spinach artichoke dip which was fantastic as well as the "must have" deep-fried cheese curds. Delicious and melted with a great sharp cheddar flavor.

I had a paddle of beer that offered a great variety of styles, almost all of which were very fresh tasting. I think only one seemed just a tad off from what I remember. Regardless, it was better than average. The service, however, seemed just above average. Not bad, but they certainly weren't memorable.

I'm not familiar with all the northern woods has to offer, but it seemed like a place that would be a repeat for me in future visits north.

 1,361 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5

Was at the Minocqua Brewing Company on a Friday evening in early August.

Atmosphere: It was a nice place on the inside with typical area decor. Overlooking the lake from some tables is a nice plus, as is the patio area. A wide mix of vacationers filled the place just before 6pm.

Quality: The quality was good. Well executed beers, good food, clean bathrooms and tables.

Service: Nothing to complain about here. We were seated promptly at a table we wanted overlooking the lake. The waitress was pleasant and very knowledgeable about beer and food they served.

Selection: I've got to knock the selection. The place is small so I'm guessing their beer capacity is simply too small to keep up with summer demand. Still 3 of their more interesting selections were unavailable, at least they were filled with decent guest taps. The food selection is also somewhat limited, but there were still many things on the menu I would have been happy with.

Food: I especially liked the food, even if it was a bit pricey. Beef and brie sandwich was fantastic and my wife's perch was some of the best I've ever had.

Overall we enjoyed our experience. We tried returning for lunch on Saturday with a group of 8, but the wait would have been too long. It is a rather small place, so don't bring a large group or break up the group. If you're up North it is a place definitely checking out!

 1,380 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

I spent a weekend in the area and made this a must stop for my group.

Upon entering you have a choice of going upstairs or down. The bar is up so that's where I headed first. Beautiful dark wood and rich colors accented with paintings and leather furniture. Immaculate with nothing out of place. Huge picture windows line one wall giving you a breath taking view of the water.

We settled at the bar and ordered a round. I of course got the sample paddle which included seven beers. Most of which were average. The porter was my favorite of the lot. The bartender was very friendly and informitive. I found out through conversation he was the owners son and brewmasters brother.

The owner was actually at the bar and chatted openly with my friends while I was engrossed in the beer. I flashed my beer geek credentials and as usual the brewmaster was more than happy to sit down next to me at the bar and chat over a beer.

We headed downstairs for dinner and were rather impressed with our food and service.

I will head back next time I'm up north for sure.

 1,064 characters

Photo of ronhocker
2.38/5  rDev -34.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 1.5

Ok considering where it is, but wouldn't survive in any city with a real brewpubs. Reminds me of applebees with higher prices.

Food is overpriced and not very good. A bad sign is when I was the only person out of 100 in the place I saw having a beer.

Beer is plain, some obvious flaws in the brewing process for some of the ones I tried. The wild rice lager was a good idea but seemed to be fermented a bit warm and had some off flavors.

I probably would skip this one in the future and leave it for the rest of the patrons who aren't there for the beer.

 557 characters

Photo of Chugmonkey
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Pretty much your standard brew pub. More of a restaurant than a bar. Clean, new looking, killer location on the Chain of Lakes downtown (parking limited during busy summer weekends). Great view of the lake.

I only had appetizers, I come for the beer. The wild rice beer sounded good, but was beyond boring. Overall every beer I've tried I was underwhelmed with. They all seem a bit undercarbed for some reason also. That is a beer pet peeve of mine. I can't stand flat tasting beer.

The food I saw and know others who had was good. Service is good. Nice place. The beers just have not been great enough to lure me back more than a couple times. Also the atmosphere is just too touristy to me and not rustic enough. Just lacks that geniune "brewery feel" to it. Guess I prefer brew pubs with great beer and good food is just a bonus.

edit: Ate dinner here on 8/15/08. The fish & chips were great for $9.99 and the sweet potato fries were killer. The Pudgy Possum Porter and the Brewmasters special Scotch Ale were both fantastic.

 1,031 characters

Photo of katiecoggins
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in on our way back from vacation on a rather cool summer rainy day. We were seated right away just before the lunch rush and got a great table in the window overlooking the lake. Even though it was raining, it was still a nice place to be seated. I ordered a sample set and was most impressed with their MPA. I am a huge porter fan but I was expecting a bit more from theirs, but it was good none the less, I like mine a little more roasty. We just had burgers and they were great, good fries. It seemed to be a pretty buzzing place for lunch time, although looking around, not too many beer drinkers for that time of day. I would recommend this place, great location for foot traffic as well.

 701 characters

Photo of kdoc8
3.9/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The Minocqua Brew Co is a good place to stop on your way from Notre Dame to it's field station (UNDERC). You still have about an hour or so to get to the property, but it's mostly country back roads, so you should get a good meal and some growlers for the other field-folk to welcome you.

I liked the atmosphere of this large place. They had lots of seating, both on an outside enclosed deck area as well as inside. We were seated at a raised table on stools near the bar. They had a sampler of their beer and a pretty extensive menu. They had maybe 10 beers on tap. We all enjoyed our dishes, which also were hefty portion sizes. It's conveniently located right by the lake and beach area, so it probably gets pretty crowded in the middle of the tourist season.

 766 characters

Photo of dstc
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in the day after Christmas for lunch and a few beers. Nice old brick building with nice atmosphere. Had the choice of a cozy table by the fireplace or one up a few steps in a separate area with many sliding glass doors and a view overlooking the lake below. We chose the lake view and watched the ice fishermen as we enjoyed our lunch. Decent menu for a pub with some exciting selections. Waitress was a little slow with the beer refills; I ordered small glasses so I could sample a few and they disappeared quickly. The MPA (Minocqua Pale Ale) was pretty good as was the lager. Lost my notes so maybe I shouldn't be reviewing but really liked this place so I thought I'd leave my two cents. Finished with a winter brew, Honey-cranberry, very nice holiday beer but not something you could drink a lot of. Overall, great place.

 834 characters

Photo of Winter
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Stopped in for lunch while visiting the Minocqua area. Located in the heart of downtown at the end of one of the main streets. Brewery overlooks a tiny park/lake/beach to the east of it. The restaurant and main bar are located a few steps down upon entry. The bar is adequate in size... maybe seats about 15 - 20 (max) with more seating at tall tables across from it. Kitchen entrance looked like it was located at end of the far end of the bar. Across from the end of the bar hung a chalkboard with the available beers and their alcohol percentage. The restaraunt area looked like it was broken out into 2 areas. One just past the bar and the other a few steps above in another area with windows granting a view of the outside. There's also a small beer garden outside, fenced off with black iron. They don't serve food outside.

We opted to sit outside since the weather was nice. We were the only ones occupying the beer garden at the time. Our server was prompt and took our order, while briefly going over the list of beers brewed here. I ordered the Wild Rice lager. There were about 7 on tap. Wheat, Amber, Wild Rice Lager, Porter, Brown, IPA, and a "Brewmasters Special"-Scottish Ale. We were served our beers in a plastic cup, since I guess we were outside.

After finishing our brews we went inside to order some sweet honey hot wings. The wings were tasty and served with blue cheese and a large slice chunk of pineapple. I ordered the Wheat Ale to acompany them. The service again was prompt and our waitress (the same one we had outside) was very friendly.

Prior to leaving I picked up a growler of the Scottish Ale to enjoy later. Beware though, the growler prices are quite expensive initially. It's $16 for a growler and $8 for a refill. Maybe they assume most visitors aren't going to bring them back?

Overall, I enjoyed our visit. We went just after lunch and the crowd wasn't bad at all. It was nice to sit outside and enjoy a quiet conversation. The Wild Rice Lager was very good and the food, was decent also. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the Minocqua area. I'll be going back the next time I'm up there and taking advantage of the $8 growler refill.

 2,196 characters

Photo of pweis909
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I've been to this brew pub a couple times in the past month or so. I'll be in Minocqua several more times this summer, and will probably visit the MBC often.

Atmosphere is more like a restaurant for those touring the Lakeland region rather than a pub. My guess is that a lot of the clientel own 2nd homes on nearby lakes. Kind of a middle-aged crowd, I suppose. If you go expecting a live band and a hip crowd, you probably will be disappointed. If you are looking for a relatively quiet meal, possibly overlooking a nice lake, you'll probably enjoy this.

Each time I've been, I was served by the same friendly waitperson, so good marks for service. He's no beer-o-phile though, and I think he sometimes inadvertently casts the beer in a bad light, comparing it to a bud, a bud-light, etc. Maybe he is just not used to people who actively try to understand beer.

All the food looked good. Everything I ate tasted fine. Sweet potato fries, fish and chips. sandwiches, burgers, gouda-cheese-wheat-ale soup. Deserts sounded good, but we were scouting the beers. Recent sample prices: Fish and chips, $9.95, burger and sandwiches $6.95, side of fries, $1.50, cheese soup, $3.95.

They offer 7 selections, currently, I believe, including a wheat ale, a pale ale, a wildrice ale, a porter, a red ale, and I don't recall ale the others. I've had the red, the wildrice, and the pale, and liked them all. See reviews. They also will serve you a sampler tray with 4 oz of all their beers. Beers were 3.75 for 16 oz.

Aside: If you are in town, you might want to visit Trigs gorcery store, too. They have a decent selection of craft brews in their liquor department.

 1,668 characters

Minocqua Brewing Company in Minocqua, WI
Brewery rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 80 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.