Who — who goes to Wisconsin in the middle of March? Apparently I do. My destination: Milwaukee. My mission: Work for a week. I must admit, it was both a successful business trip as well as a great introduction to the mid-west! The weather might have been cold, but the politeness of the midwesterners kept us quite warm — that and the miles and miles of skywalks that prevented us from venturing out into the freezing tundra. But my impression of Milwaukee is as follows: It was a strange mix of German and French culture with a sprinkle of Canadian accents and a beer and cheese culture that is out of this world! Even though I was traveling for work, they often give me ample time to go out and still have a short holiday everywhere we go. Here’s some of my favorite things I got to do in Milwaukee.
At the suggestion of a friendly local, me, along with a work associate of mine, Michele, shimmied over to the Über Tap Room & Cheesebar where we indulged in a beer and cheese sampling. It was attached to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart which opened in 1938 which made for a great place to try some of Wisconsin’s infamous cheese. I grabbed myself a Lakefront Rendevous and decided to go back to my time living in Germany with the “Old German Favorites” cheese platter which included Smoked Brick, Butterkase, Petit Frere, and Limburger — all stinky cheeses, but all quite delicious with my refreshing beer. To get myself even more into the German spirit, my colleague and I also shared the Sausage Sample which included German Salami, Cheddar Summer Sausage, Usinger’s Sausage, Pretzel Bread, mustard and onions.
After a fine dinner with my work associates, Michele and I hit up Lucille’s Dueling Piano Bar & Grill. The bar was small mainly because there were two baby grand pianos facing one another in the middle of the bar. At each piano was a rowdy fella either throwing insults at his partner or at the crowd. These were two guys that were certainly very talented as everything was improv. More impressive was the fact that they were not afraid to “go there” if you know what I mean.
I couldn’t leave Milwaukee without visiting one of their many. many breweries. But I wasn’t into seeing where Pabst is born — no no — I see enough Pabst in the hands of many a hipster in Philadelphia. I went for a quick jaunt over to Lakefront Brewery, a microbrewery in the Riverwest area of Milwaukee. I didn’t have time to take a tour, but I did have time to down a whole menagerie of beer! I was quite impressed at the array of exquisite flavors offered by this small, craft brewery.
Usinger’s is Milwaukee’s premier butcher shop, offering up authentic German style meats! It felt like I was in Germany again sampling the Würste with a variety of mustards. I picked up most of my souvenirs for the folks here which included summer sausage in the shape of a beer bottle and cheddar cheese shaped like Wisconsin. Nothing says I love you more to your family that delicious delicious treats from the places that you travel to!
Look familiar? YES! If you’ve been reading my blog for the past three years, you’ll recognize Annalyse all the way from the beginning. I met her when I went over to Germany, and even traveled with her to France! She is living, working and rocking it out over in Chicago and took the two hour drive over to Milwuakee just to visit me! Hurray!
Hanging out by the Freezing Lake Michigan
And what trip to Milwaukee would be complete without enjoying views of Lake Michigan! It was my first time ever to one of the Great Lakes. There’s plenty to do around the lake for visitors including fine dining, museums and epic city skyline views. This was certainly one of the highlights of my trip.