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Broken Bat Brewing Co.

Milwaukee, WI


Crusin’ Rating: C+

Booze Rating: C-

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Broken Bat Brewing Co.- Outside
Photo Credit: Broken Bat Facebook Page

Only about a block away from Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward lies Broken Bat Brewing Co. Broken Bat was host to an art fair that featured none other than our oft-featured guest, The Artist! We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go see one of her excellent displays and try some beer at the same time!

Broken Bat is in this odd juxtaposed area wherein there are old factory buildings with busted out glass windows, the street littered with remnants of those windows and newly developed apartments and a fancy little Collectivo Coffee shop across the street. While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, having signage on only one door, the inside is a different story. We arrived not only during the art show which took place in the upstairs space, but the ground floor was host to a myriad of shouting and screaming Bucks basketball fans on the first floor. The space is long and all three of us agreed that the first floor has a distinct “basement” feel to it. Plenty of polished concrete, steel beams, and wooden tables lent to the feel that you walked downstairs into a buddy’s newly refurbished man cave. There is a long bar with televisions situated behind it and although there were some low and high top tables, I was surprised by how much of the space was dedicated to standing room, complete tabletops without chairs. It worked while we were there during the game as the place was absolutely packed with people and loud enough that you could barely hear each other without shouting.

The upstairs was filled by booths and stalls featuring tons of different pieces of art, clothing, and even a non-family friendly candle maker who creates candles that are shaped like boobs [Candle Tits LLC]. Yes, it’s a real thing and cast directly from real people. Now there’s something you definitely don’t see every day. At the far end of this long room was secondary bar with taps that was not up and running for the art show. There were a handful of hightops and since, even considering the busy art show, we decided to do our tasting at one of those high tops because it was still quieter than the high-energy downstairs.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Blogger- Broken Bat Brewing Co- Wiffle Ball Field
Photo Credit: Broken Bat

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this brewery, that we didn’t get to see in person since it was closed, is the indoor wiffleball field that you can both rent, and plays host to a wiffleball league. While I don’t think you’re likely to break any bats while playing, it definitely sets this brewery apart with sticking to it’s theme and for being the only spot we know of that features its own sporting events (outside of bag tournaments). This is also the first brewery we’ve been to that had multiple events going on at once and the first that I can recall that you can rent not only the private room, but the entire taproom if you wish. I could easily see the entire brewery being rented out for a wedding reception.

We opted to try a single flight as we were trying to hit one more brewery with the Artist to help her wind down after a long day of selling her pieces and getting inquiries over custom commissions [Check out her awesome work!] .

Flights were four pours. I will say that their custom metal flight holders were pretty rad, and although they weren’t super fancy, just metal with custom cutouts, they were definitely a standout compared to the others we’ve seen this year.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Blogger- Broken Bat Brewing Co.- Beer Flight

Beach Ball (7.2% ABV) - This beer is a milkshake IPA. If you’d like to know the history, like we did, we took to the internet and while there are varying origin stories, they all seem to agree on what a milkshake IPA is. Without going into too much detail, a milkshake IPA usually contains lactose, milk, or other sugars (sometimes in the form of fruit) and usually an adjunct (like vanilla). It’s really the lactose that sets them apart from say a juicy or hazy IPA. This particular specimen smelled of pineapple, tangerine, and, unsurprisingly, malted milk. It tasted similarly of pineapple and cream that gives way to some hops but isn’t too dry. Hannah picked up on some lemon notes and compares it to a sweeter version of Summer Shandy with pineapple. I was not in love with the combination of flavors and while this beer was billed as easily crushable, I think crushing a few of these at 7.2% ABV will leave you on the floor before lunch time.

Juuuust a Wit Outside! (5% ABV) - The Witbier had citrus fruits added. A little odd, since the style usually will have some zesty fruitiness to both the aroma and taste. Nevertheless, this beer was a pale cloudy straw color and orange zest was very apparent in the aroma along with some of that wet hay funk that seemed to me overly sweet. I typically think of a Witbier to have some herbal notes, maybe some spiciness, some citrus zest, and a little bit of graininess that ends up being a pleasant and familiar experience. I did not get that here. Hannah, who usually wants those wheat characteristics nowhere near her beer, had a tough time noticing any of them. I found this beer to be really hop forward in the taste, a little bit of malt, and it came off more Pilsner than Witbier for sure. This one was a letdown.

Corré Corré (7%ABV) - “Run, run” is a Mexican Lager that smells of lime rind, golden in color, and featuring medium high clarity. It was lime juice beer through and through and it was actually my favorite out of the bunch. I can enjoy a Mexican lager, and (when they are cheap), have been finding their way into my summer-associated beer cravings more and more, especially when paired with a lime. This one didn’t need you to be high maintenance and ask a busy bartender for a lime wedge, or, worse, get an old brown wedge shoved at you which ruins, lets face it, an already less than stellar-tasting beer (even when done perfectly). Mexican lagers are becoming a beach-associated guilty pleasure for Hannah and I. This one tasted like it had real lime juice used in it’s creation and I could easily see me drinking more than one. However, with a $15 price tag [for 4pack to go], the high price defeats the purpose of cheap Mexican lager. Still though, it was the best of the bunch.

Concession Stand Sour - Lemon Ice (5.5% ABV) - This family of sours, the "Concession Stand Series", features Cherry Super Rope, Cotton Candy (Blue Raz is the actual name), and this one- Lemon Ice. Hannah had tried the Cotton Candy back when we visited Right Bauer because of it’s uniquely turquoise color and the Artist said that the Cherry Super Rope was a little much. I opted for lemon ice, hoping for a sweet and sour treat reminiscent of its namesake, perhaps with a little Limoncello or, at the least, some Amalfi lemon tartness. What we got though was a standard sour lemon beer. Hannah and I both agree that making a sour using lemon is a low bar. Lemons are already sour and tart on their own and adding a bunch of lemon juice is the minimum effort of sour beers. I don’t even know if this one was a sour made during the fermentation process or if it was a beer that a bunch of lemon juice was added to. It certainly tasted like the latter. We both thought that the implementation of this beer was uninspired and crude. Anyone who doesn’t own a brewery can take a Miller Light and juice three lemons into it to achieve the same flavor profile.

In sum, while it was really cool that they were using the space to support the arts, there wasn’t really much to write home about when it comes to beer. The competition in Milwaukee in terms of craft beer is even steeper than Madison. While I give them credit for the large space, the ability to rent out that space, and rent out the unique whiffle ball area, the beer really did not hold up. I could see a day in Milwaukee spent walking between here, Mobcraft Brewery, Great Lakes Distillery, Wizard Works Brewing, and Explorium Brewpub, maybe even some food at the Milwaukee Public Market. I would not rank Broken Bat Brewpub as a must stop if you are in Milwaukee for a visit. I certainly couldn’t justify a drive from Madison to try them. But if you are looking to do a loop of the aforementioned spots, it might be worth a try if for no other reason than to see the space!

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Travel Blogger- Broken Bat Brewing Co.
Cru and the Artist enjoying a beer!

Until next time, keep on Crusin’, don’t stop boozin’.

To learn more about Broken Bat Brewing Co. please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @BrokenBatBrewingCompany or on Instagram: @BrokenBatBrew

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