Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival
Although there are
several stellar beer festivals hosted in the Milwaukee
region throughout the year, none have Firkin Fest’s ideal real estate:
picturesque Cathedral Square Park
in the heart of Milwaukee’s
vibrant Downtown, and just a short stroll to the lake. And when it comes to a
beer festival—a gathering for which the main purpose is to taste and compare
different varieties of potent brew—location is everything. There’s no need to
get behind the wheel the day of the beer fest, as there are a number of unique
transportation options that serve Cathedral
Square’s convenient location: Cream City Rickshaw
pedicabs, the Downtown trolley loop, and the Oak Leaf Trail. Be on the lookout
for the 16-person bicycle-powered Milwaukee Pedal Tavern, a literal pub on
The Milwaukee Firkin
Craft Beer Festival—named for a type of wooden beer cask that pours using good
ol’ gravity—is hosting 14 of Milwaukee’s
most notable microbreweries, craft breweries,
contract brewing companies and brewpubs, as well as a handful of home brewers
and guest brewers who hail from outside the region. A ticket to Firkin Fest ($39 online,
$45 at the gate) includes a souvenir sampling glass and unlimited samples of
more than 50 Milwaukee
craft beers (including many special recipes not normally offered by the
III Dachshunds Beer & Cider
Buffalo Water Beer Co.
Horny Goat Brewing Co.
Leinenkugel’s 10th Street Brewery
Miller Valley Brewing
Milwaukee Ale House
Milwaukee Brewing Co.
Rock Bottom Brewery
Sprecher Brewing Co.
St. Francis Brewery
Water Street Brewery
For the cost of a $55
VIP ticket, Firkin Fest attendees are given a T-shirt, access to the VIP tent
at 2 p.m., cheese and sausage appetizers and the opportunity to meet some of the
brewers, like the godfather of Milwaukee’s
resurgence as a beer town, Randy Sprecher. For the designated driver, there are
$15 tickets that include a festival T-shirt, unlimited soda, bottled water and
pretzels, and a souvenir glass. In an attempt to minimize the tasting lines,
the East Town Association is selling only 2,500 tickets to its craft beer
By the sound of the
impressive entertainment lineup, the organizers didn’t allow all that craft
beer to drown other aspects that will make Firkin Fest a well-rounded festival.
The early afternoon will unfold to the flamboyant accordion of Pezzettino,
followed by the Alex Wilson Band at 3 p.m. Southbound takes the stage at 4:30
p.m., and the Ben Ripani Music Co. closes at 6 p.m.
Firkin Fest is currently
listing only three food vendors—Streetza Pizza, Miller Baking Co., and
Flannery’s Bar and Restaurant—but keep in mind all of the nearby Downtown
restaurants where attendees can start or cap the craft beer festival with a
Each Milwaukee brewery will enter up to two signature beers to contend for the “Big Firkin Award,” and each attendee votes for his or her favorite Milwaukee craft beer. Regardless of which brewery goes home with the “Big Firkin,” Milwaukee is the real winner with this Downtown craft beer festival.