Can beer bridge the Madison/Milwaukee divide?

By Kyle Nabilcy, Isthmus

beer-mke-vs-msn-09122016_webIt’s no secret. Madison and Milwaukee are not neighbor cities. They’re not sister cities. They’re not any kind of sibling cities. They’re more like cousin cities. Cousins who get along all right at holidays but otherwise live the rest of their lives confused and annoyed by the other’s Facebook posts.

There’s a lot of stuff that the two cities do differently, and those differences tend to be what people talk about when they talk about Madison and Milwaukee. Isthmus did a whole cover story a few years ago about that sense of a divide. I’ve been wondering if beer is the thing that best bridges the divide.

When you first think about Milwaukee beer, other than its storied past, Milwaukee makes you think Lakefront, right? Lakefront does pretty good in Madison. I think the My Turn series of employee-created recipes goes over well here, and I’d be surprised if Madison beer drinkers aren’t typically excited any time Black Friday (Lakefront’s annual barrel-aged imperial stout) makes a tap appearance.

In the other direction, from what I can ascertain online, Karben4 does great business at Milwaukee venues like Ray’s Growler Gallery, with both its packaged and draft beers selling well. Certainly there was a lot of clamor for the first run of bottled Fantasy Factory in the Cream City.

And then there are the beers Milwaukee and Madison share in a more fundamental way. MobCraft moved its base of operations from Page Buchanan’s figurative basement at House of Brews to its own shiny new brewery and taproom in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, near Milwaukee Brewing Company and Brenner Brewing. At the end of 2014, a stone’s throw from the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Ale Asylum Riverhouse opened — basically a tied house serving the beers of Madison’s biggest brewery, but independently owned. Read more …

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