Do: Hit a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park and sample some of the local pints. Tour the 82-acre Miller Brewery, shiver in the Miller Caves. Don't: Drink a High Life at the Miller Inn at the tour's end and eat at an Italian joint that used to be Schlitz's Brown Bottle restaurant.
If you want some idea of where modern Milwaukee beer is headed, step away from the Miller signs and head to the home of the other beer sold at Brewers games and Bernie Brewer's original chalet from demolished Milwaukee County Stadium: Lakefront Brewery. Founded in 1985, Lakefront offered the first certified-organic beer in America and made a name for itself with a brewery tour that gives visitors their beer first in the hopes of keeping their attention.
Is there anything wrong with Wisconsin's strong, largely teutonic brewing history? No, Sprecher Brewing on Glendale, Wis., was founded by a former Pabst brewing supervisor in 1985 and still brews Hefe Weiss, Black Bavarian, Special Amber and Light Ale in the same German and Eastern European tradition that spawned 80 breweries in Milwaukee alone in the 1880s. New Glarus Brewing, meanwhile, was founded in 1993 with copper kettles bought from a German brewery. Its new hilltop brewing facility looks like a Bavarian village, which is only just slightly odd in a town founded in 1845 by immigrants from Glaus, Switzerland, that still has Swiss flags in front of every storefront. It also has Swiss chalet-style businesses and homes lining its streets and Swiss meat and cheese shops to complement Spotted Cow ale, Fat Squirrel Nut Brown Ale or a Two Women lager.
Milwaukee's brewing culture still thrives through such breweries as Water Street, Silver Creek and Stonefly. A quick look back at its past, however, tells you just how far it's come.
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