Brewing is experiencing a new resurgence in the US after a long decline. In the 1873, the US had a total of 4,131 breweries; after the US Prohibition the number of breweries rapidly dropped. In 1978, the Unites States had fewer than 50 companies brewing beer, with less than 100 total combined breweries. That began to change in 1978, when then President Jimmy Carter signed a law which allowed for the legal home brewing of beer. When garage- and basement-brewers began to experiment with new recipes, the concept of “craft beers” was introduced to the industry.

The term "craft beer" is more simply referring to beer with more flavorful ingredients, new recipes and unusual styles. People who prefer craft beers are also looking for a pint that is locally made, reflective of the tastes and preferences of the region. Local ales and lagers are seen as fresh and fresh is always more flavorful. 

As of December 2, 2015, the United States now has 4,144 breweries, with on average two new breweries opening every day. [2] Wisconsin has more than 100 active breweries, from the massive Miller brewery in Milwaukee, to the very small one man operation of Stillmank Brewing Company of Green Bay.When you next visit Green Bay, here are four breweries that you need to visit.

Hinterland BreweryCredit: Trevor LaRene

Green Bay Brewing Company (313 Dousman Street) is the brewer of Hinterland beers and the oldest of the current local breweries. Owner and brewer Bill Tressler was a home brewer who started the brewery in 1995 in a defunct cheese factory. In less than a year, he and his wife Michelle decided to expand into a historic meat-packing plant, and then open a farm to table restaurant. [4]

They now have three fine dining restaurants and serve outstanding food. The meals are among the best in Green Bay, featuring as many local-produced ingredients as possible. The menus change with the seasons, as do their craft beers. Some of their beers are always available, such as their flagship beer Luna Stout, as well as Packerland Pilsner, Pale Ale and others, but when you eat at the restaurant, their seasonal and special release beers are always something to try. Most of their year-round beers are available for package sale in the area.

In August 2015, Hinterland announced that it will build a new brewery, with a larger restaurant next to Lambeau Field, planning to open in the spring of 2017. [3]

Recommended tap: Pub Draught or Luna Stout

Recommended menu item: Sunset Farms Veal Chop or Wood Fired Grilled Pork Tenderloin


Titletown's New BreweryCredit: Trevor LaRene

Titletown Brewing Company (200 Dousman Street) is across the street from Hinterland, and was founded in the old Chicago and Northwestern railroad depot. It opened on December 3, 1996, and now serves a continually evolving selection of beers on tap as well as a full bar and restaurant. In 2015, the brewing facility expanded into an historic building next door, with much larger brewery and two bars including one on the roof, as well as a bottling plant for some of their more popular year-round styles, such as Johnny “Blood” Red ale.

Since 2008, Titletown has won multiple national awards for individual entries at both the World Beer Cup (ABC) and the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), but in 2015 they were awarded the Large Brewpub of the Year and brewer David Oldenburg won Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year at the GABF in Denver, Colorado. [1]

The beers on tap cover many different styles; you will find at least one that you enjoy. The restaurant is very good with many traditional pub-style foods such as fish fries, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and dinners. As with the tap options, you will find something on the menu that suits your preferences. The chef varies the menu at least twice a year, so there will always be something new to try.

Recommended tap: Green 19 IPA or Johnny Blood Red

Recommended menu item: Turkey Cranberry Melt or Fish-n-Chips

Stillmank BrewingCredit: Trevor LaRene

Stillmank Brewing Company (215 North Henry Street) started as a dream from an ambitious home brewer, Brad Stillmank and his wife, Erin. In earlier jobs, Brad had worked for several breweries in various roles, but after arriving in Green Bay, he started to pursue his lifelong passion. He used his best home brew recipe and contracted with a brewer in Milwaukee to make and can the ale. He marketed his own beer and slowly built a strong following. In 2014, he was able to open his own microbrewery in an unassuming building that formerly housed a building supply company, where he brews and cans his own beers. He has five beers available by can, including his first and most popular variety Wisco Disco, an amber ale. As of the 2013-14 football season, Wisco Disco was available at Lambeau Field. [6]

The brewery also features a tap-room (with limited hours) where you can sample their beer by the pint or in flights, as well as to go in half-gallon growlers and four packs. No food is offered.

Recommended variety: Perky Porter (coffee-infused porter) or Wisco Disco

Leatherheads Brewing CompanyCredit: Trevor LaRene

The newest entry to the Green Bay brewing scene is Leatherhead Brewing Company (875 Lombardi Avenue). The name refers to the type of helmet worn by football players in decades past. Founded by two local couples (Chad and Amanda Sharon, and  Amanda's sister Sheila and husband Ian Perks), Amanda and Sheila convinced their cousin Jake to move from his brewing job in Milwaukee to start a brewery in Green Bay. The brewery opened in September 24, 2015, the second brewery to join the Lambeau Stadium District. [7] 

Their taps will pour various brews vary throughout the year, as well as their "guest offerings". Leatherhead's varieties are only available for purchase and consumption in-house.  The attached restaurant offers traditional pub foods such as sandwiches, burgers and appetizers. At this time, no full dinners are served.

Recommendations: Since this has only recently opened, I have not eaten here, nor sampled their brews, so no recommendations can be offered.

Hinterland: Best food and very good beer, available on tap and bottled
Titletown: Very good food and the best beer, available on tap and bottled
Stillmank: Very good beer, available on tap and canned
Leatherhead: Pub foods, close to Lambeau Field

All photographs by Trevor LaRene 2015