Summer Travel Quest #15

Sleep in a (Former) Brewery

They made Pabst Blue Ribbon here for more than 100 years. Now you can stay the night at Milwaukee’s Brewhouse Inn and Suites.
by Mara Gorman
Mara is an award-winning freelance writer, author of The Family Traveler's Handbook, and blogger at The Mother of all Trips. Follow her adventures on Twitter @motherofalltrip.

As they approach the Brewhouse Inn and Suites, they might well wonder just where they are going to be sleeping. Could this possibly be a hotel? The answer is: yes, it is, in what was once the largest brewery in the world.

From the outside, the building and its surrounding Milwaukee neighborhood may still reflect the decaying glory of the brewery’s heyday—long blocks of artfully dingy brick factory buildings, boarded up loading docks and leaded glass windows letting scraps of sun into what were once the brewery’s offices—but inside it’s all about edgy luxury. The rooms’ soaring ceilings, exposed beams and vaulted windows are reminders of the site’s original purpose. Decorative details like vanity stools covered in burlap reading “Milwaukee Malt Company” do the same.  It’s here that Pabst Blue Ribbon beer was made for more than 100 years.

INSIDER TIP

Look up when you check in. From the lobby desk you can see the gleaming underside of one of those giant copper vat covers.

It’s no challenge to find a can of Pabst, a beer that has been rediscovered by a generation of hipsters. But those looking for something more than just sips of trendy beer, those who want to see an original American industrial dream, need to stay in this hilltop shrine.

And anyone who seeks the patron saint of beer brewers will find him as well. At one end of the hotel’s multi-story foyer sits King Gambrinus in jolly, stained-glass splendor. He benevolently toasts a row of copper-topped vats that once held the famous brew, but which are now just gorgeous relics of a different time. The addition of velvet couches makes this a relaxing place to raise a glass (or a can).

Visitors who need something to accompany their beer should stop to sample the deep-fried cheese curds at Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub, to the left of the hotel’s lobby. The pub offers 13 Wisconsin beers on tap, although drinking them might seem a little disloyal.

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Mara Gorman is an award-winning freelance writer, author of The Family Traveler's Handbook, and blogger at The Mother of all Trips. When she's not on the road with her two school-age sons and husband, you can find her in Delaware. Follow her adventures on Twitter @motherofalltrip.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

13) Try to Spot Bigfoot

14) See Philip Johnson’s Glass House on a Self-Guided Tour

15) Sleep in a (Former) Brewery

16) Sleep in an Authentic Victorian Railroad Car

17) Walk the Longest Pier on the West Coast

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

PHOTOS: Tour the Brewhouse Inn and Suites
PHOTOS: Tour the Brewhouse Inn and Suites
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