“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!
—intro to Laverne & Shirley, (1976–1983)
We’re gonna do it!
Scroll down to see more photos and read more about Sprecher Brewery.
“I really like the Cherry Cola from Sprecher Brewery! This has a nice bite and it’s very refreshing!”
This is no spin-off. Sprecher Brewery is a true original. Located in Glendale, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee, Sprecher Brewery has been producing its famous beloved sodas and award-winning craft beers since 1985. Interesting fact: Root Beer is brewed more than all of their craft beers combined. Fresh local ingredients such as raw Wisconsin honey, ginger and Door County cherries go into some of their flavorful sodas. Let’s hop, skip and jump into history!
Lisa and our friend Tracy had been to Sprecher Brewery separately in the past for tours and tastings. This was the first time for my mom, our friend Scott and me. All of us piled into one vehicle for a quick road trip. The midsummer Saturday afternoon looked beautiful as downtown Milwaukee appeared into view. After we arrived, we quickly got our land legs back as we recalibrated our bearings. Since I was the designated driver, my legs would stay on solid ground.
I was impressed by the range of sodas and craft beers as we walked through the gift shop past the entrance. The turnout for the 2pm tour was bubbling with enthusiasm. We were nearly 70 strong.
After we checked in, we flowed through the taproom, giving us about 15 minutes to sample a soda or beer. The taproom was filled with buzzing newcomers and longtimers. The upbeat mood and high energy spoke to the quality and reputation of Sprecher Brewery. After we tipped our last sips, the tour was underway.
“I can definitely taste the bourbon barrel in Sprecher Brewery’s Czar Brew! I feel the burn going down my throat; the bourbon flavor is what I really like!”
Lia, our tour guide, was very engaging as she energized the group into quick and witty give and takes. This was no ordinary place; and, so this would be an extraordinary tour. Lia mixed the necessary essentials of the history of Sprecher Brewery with the basics of beverage production into an appetizing finished product that we could process. In all, we were entreated to both sides of the facility for production and packaging.
Truth be told, I had been hoping that I could slip a glove over a bottle as it passed by on the line; but, for safety’s sake, and maybe to stay in our lane, the lines were empty and inert.
After we appreciated some informative and entertaining insight into everything behind the taproom at Sprecher Brewery, we re-entered the taproom like dogs departing the grooming salon. We were invigorated with new heads on our shoulders (not relieved to be out of there trembling as we went). If anything, we were shaking with excitement. Bring on the flights!
My mom, Lisa, Tracy, Scott, and I found a couple casks that were repurposed into high tables. Since we found our base, we were ready to make a run at our flights. Lisa, Tracy and Scott were dialed in on the craft beers. My mom and I zeroed in on the sodas.
The flight plan included these points of interest (more choices were also available):
Special Amber (5% ABV): “Our flagship amber since 1985. Caramel malts with a light hop finish.”
Black Bavarian (6% ABV): “Our flagship dark beer since 1985. Smooth with coffee and chocolate notes.”
Juicy IPA (5% ABV): “Our new Juicy IPA.”
Commando (11.9% ABV): “Our Scotch Ale bourbon-barrel aged for two years.”
Czar Brew (12.4% ABV): “Our Russian Imperial Stout bourbon-barrel aged for four years.”
Root Beer: “Our classic root beer made with Wisconsin honey and vanilla.”
Cream Soda: “A classic cream soda tasting of honey, vanilla and caramel.”
Orange Dream: “A delectable orange soda that tastes just like a creamsicle.”
Cherry Cola: “Cola made with Door County Cherries.”
“The Czar Brew from Sprecher Brewery is 12 percent alcohol and I can feel it! There’s an alcohol aftertaste almost like wine. The flavor is very smooth, not bitter at all. I’m getting a little buzz as I drink the Czar Brew. Another one and I’ll be under the table!”
The flight log read as such. My mom: “The Orange Dream has a nice, creamy, orange taste; but, for me it’s a little sweet. The Root Beer has a nice flavor too but it’s also a bit sweet for me. I really like the Cherry Cola from Sprecher Brewery! This has a nice bite and it’s very refreshing!” Lisa: “The Black Bavarian is a rich, dark beer. This is so crisp. The Special Amber has a nice bite and refreshing finish. The Sprecher Brewery Commando looks like a dark amber ale but it doesn’t taste that way! It’s rich but it has a nice flavor. I really like the Commando!” Tracy: “The Bohemian Lager is very light. I like the Special Amber better because it’s very crisp. The Black Bavarian is my favorite now so far. I like this because it reminds me of stouts and beverages that have a higher alcohol content because I like wine and whiskey. I can definitely taste the bourbon barrel in Sprecher Brewery’s Czar Brew! I feel the burn going down my throat; the bourbon flavor is what I really like!” Scott: “The Juicy IPA is very fruity, hoppy and delicious. The Black Bavarian is very different from the Juicy IPA. It’s thicker but still very nice. The Commando is delicious and also very good. The Czar Brew from Sprecher Brewery is 12 percent alcohol and I can feel it! There’s an alcohol aftertaste almost like wine. The flavor is very smooth, not bitter at all. I’m getting a little buzz as I drink the Czar Brew. Another one and I’ll be under the table!” And me: “The Cream Soda has notes of caramel and vanilla. Maybe this could be a little less sweet but it has a nice flavor profile. The Root Beer has lively flavors but for me it’s a bit sweet. The Orange Dream balances the orange and cream very well but it needs just a little more crispness. The Sprecher Brewery Cherry Cola is very crisp, and it has a nice blend of cola and cherry flavors that are light and refreshing!”
We tried not to play favorites but this time we must. Which ones would we give another spin of the bottle? My mom: Cherry Cola. Lisa: a tie between Commando and Black Bavarian. Tracy: Czar Brew. Scott: Czar Brew. And me: Cherry Cola. Before we left, we picked up multiple 4-packs of soda, craft beers and merchandise. The best takeaways were the shared experiences of touring and tasting at Sprecher Brewery. Be part of the history. If you haven’t yet, what’s your story?
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