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.
Riverwest is an eclectic and neighborly area. A perfect place for a friendly brewery that marches to its own beat. A long-time neighborhood automobile repair shop has become a new destination for hanging out and enjoying tasty brews with neighbors and beyond.
Black Husky Brewery relocated to the Riverwest neighborhood this past summer and it feels like a great fit. Husband and wife team, Tim and Toni Eichinger, moved from the tiny northern Wisconsin town of Pembine to be closer to family in the Milwaukee area. They aren’t new to brewing. In 2009 they started their nano-brewery, which meant they were the brewers, marketers and distributors for their product. Since a lot of their customers are in the Milwaukee area, distribution of their beer is expected be much easier, not to mention the new tap room makes finding their beer easier than ever.
The Eichingers love their dogs, who have been an integral part of their family as well as the inspiration for their brewery. Their website has a great history of their furry-family members. With that being said, Black Husky is definitely a dog friendly location.
The large garage door opens to one side of the spacious, bright and inviting tap room. It is a simply decorated space. There are bar height tables and chairs, as well several intimate seating areas with coffee tables for cards or board games. The main entrance takes visitors right to the rustic bar with a Northern Wisconsin feel, appropriately resembling an up north log cabin.
A beautifully lit piece of black husky artwork hangs behind the bar, to go with the larger than life pooch sculpture on display in the taproom. With a clear view of the brewing facilities from the tap room, up to 8 taps are served of their beer. Also included is soda and sparkling water.
The staff are friendly and approachable, and owners Tim and Toni Eichinger are often seen working behind the bar. They are happy to answer questions about their business and beer.
The patio located on the corner of the property faces Locust Street, which can be busy with traffic, but never seems overly loud. There are plenty of adirondack chairs and several gas fire pits aglow for visitors and their pets to enjoy, especially on a warm summer night or cool fall evenings. The experience compliments the great beer.
ABOUT THE BEER
The brewer is not afraid to buck traditional styles and brew beers that stand on their own. But at the same time, they are based in solid traditional brewing that makes each beer a strong contender for a favorite. Flavors are explored, with the goal being drinkable brews that have a little extra flavor. The Spruce II IPA is one that is not too subtle, with strong pine flavors from the spruce tips harvested from up north, and also a strong malt backdrop. Definitely one to try, as well as Sparkly Eyes spruce beer when it is available.
The rest of the beers cover wheats, browns, smoked, pales, stouts and IPAs, all well crafted.
One favorite is the Big Buck Brown, a maple brown style. I has a dark medium body with maple smell and a slight maple finish. The overall flavor is not too sweet, which serves as a great end of the night beer. Real maple syrup is used in the recipe, specifically Smilin’ Ed’s Maple Syrup. ABV comes in at a warming 8.0%.
Another good choice is one of the flagship beers, the Black Husky Pale Ale. This one is a strong pale ale with an imposing hop flavor. The hop bite stays on the tongue from start to finish with a slight malt back bone so as not to overwhelm your palate. The hops are herbal in style vs floral or citrus. One to be careful with though at 7.4%.
They do close earlier than bar time, so plan your visit accordingly.
Overall style: Traditional ales with an edge
Flights: Yes, per glass
Pour Sizes: 12oz & 16oz
Take Away: Howlers – 32oz and Growlers — 64oz
Food: No, but feel free to bring it in!
Additional Libations: Soda
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Best Place To Sit: Patio by the fire pit during the summer, rustic bar during the winter
Pet Friendly: Yes
Child Friendly: Yes
Getting There: Street parking at meters; 14, 60 or 22 MCTS Routes; a couple blocks from the Beerline Trail–no official bike racks