Individuals who review Milwaukee beer and bars are as endless as the drinks and locations themselves. This ongoing series does not seek to be a definitive source or commentary on the local brewing culture. The goal is not to publish expert reviews or give crowd-sourced ratings. The intention is to offer a valuable perspective from a local couple who enjoy the brewing community and can translate the experience for veterans and first-timers alike. The beer industry itself is an evolving art form and these reports offer a snapshot of this moment of the beverage’s place in Milwaukee.
The 2100 block of North Farwell Avenue seems to have finally found solid tenants. There was the long lived car wash, and then the short lived Crank Daddy’s. Joining Simple Cafe and Fushimi is the Good City Brewing Company, which opened ahead of a growing list of new breweries in the Milwaukee area.
The remodeled space features historic Cream City brick and high ceilings in the clean and upscale industrial-feel of the interior. The walls are mostly bare brick, with tasteful branding painted on, including their tagline, “Seek the Good,” and a mural ode to Milwaukee. The dark grey metal tables in standard height and high-top, look good with the light color wood tops and floors.
It definitely has the feel of a brewery tasting room, although with a more high end feel. There is plenty of additional seating at the ‘L’ shaped bar in full view of the chalkboard tap list, which displays the beer AVB (Alcohol By Volume) and cost of each pour size available. The open concept design is brightly lit with a full view of the brewing facilities beyond the kitchen.
Without the distraction of TVs, Good City is a great destination to relax with your thoughts, journal, read, or catch up with friends. The front of the building features two large garage-style doors that open to the west, onto the sidewalk which holds several black metal tables with umbrellas for those with pets, children, or who just can’t get enough of the outdoors during the short Wisconsin summers.
The space doesn’t shout restaurant, as the tables and bar are absent of any condiments or menus. But a full food menu is available with a nice variety of snacks, salads, and entrees, as well as limited fare for children. The prices and portions are reasonable and all would seem to pair well with a variety of the house beers. Servers were attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable about the food and brews, and more than willing to strike up a conversation about the brewery. It was nice to meet the owners, who were frequently checking in with customers during our visits.
The overall environment is comfortable and airy with contemporary music playing throughout. It can get loud when there are groups enjoying themselves, but the ‘L’ shaped room should allow one to find a quieter area if needed. Additionally, there is an event space available and a variety of merchandise for purchase.
The owners are definitely into their hops, as a good portion of the beers showcase hoppy flavors and aroma. Don’t be scared by that if you aren’t a hops fan. Lighter and darker styles are also on the menu, with more planned in the future. A total of 16 tap lines sit behind the bar, and although they aren’t all running yet, they plan to have a standard 6-8 taps with seasonal rotations as they ramp up their brewing facility. Their beer carries a lot of flavor, many having a lower ABV, which is refreshing with the barrel aged beer trend.
A couple of our favorites were the Risk IPA that had a balance of light malt and hops. The mix of Simcoe and Centennial hops lend to pine and citrus notes, perfect for pairing with a dinner or drinking on its own. This IPA is very drinkable with an ABV of 6.5%.
Bonza is a “southern hemisphere” IPA, with a nice medium body and bright hops. The malty flavor comes from the Chilean malts used and the hop flavor is from the Summer hop coming all the way from Down Under. Again, another brew that doesn’t break the ABV bank, coming in at 6.5%
One more favorite is their delicious sessional beer called Dapper, at an extremely easy drinking 4.2%. Don’t let the low ABV in this British Session Ale throw you off, we thought it had great flavor with the UK grown barley balanced with East Kent Golding and Fuggles hops. Properly British, it isn’t too hoppy but malty enough to satisfy.
Overall style: Traditional ales and lagers, hop heavy
Flights: Yes, per glass
Take Away: Crowlers – 32oz will keep fresh up to a month
Food: Yes with limited children menu
Additional Libations: Craft Soda
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pet Friendly: Yes
Child Friendly: Yes
Getting There: CAR: Street parking at meters; BUS: Green Line, 15 or 30 MCTS Routes; BIKE: two blocks from the Oakland/North Hank Aaron Trail–no official bike racks, but plenty of poles; BUBBLR: Brady Street Bridge and UWM Kenilworth Building.