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Reviving Milwaukee’s Historic Pabst Brewery

by Caitlin J
patron saint of beer

I was a bit confused reading the 2017 Beer Blogger Conference’s agenda. The conference was happening at a place called, “Best Place.” I just kept thinking, what kind of name is that? Little did I know, Best Place is literally, the “Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery.”

German immigrant Jacob Best Sr. established Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1844 with the guidance of his son Phillip Best and Phillip’s son-in-law, the Captain Frederick Pabst. The small brewery quickly became America’s largest brewer in the late 1800s through 1946.

pabst milwaukee

The historic Pabst Brewery campus closed without notice in 1996 while under a different ownership group. The abrupt closure left hundreds of Milwaukeeans unemployed and the buildings sat empty until September 11, 2001. That was the day Jim Haertel heard the news that his offer to purchase the Pabst Brewery was accepted.

Since then Haertel has worked hard, with great care and caution, to revitalize the historic Pabst Brewery and to its original glory.

Most of the conference took place at Best Place, the original offices of Pabst Brewery. Still kept in pristine condition was the Captain’s office. His gorgeous wooden desk was still in the corner of his office with its wooden walls and lush emerald green carpet.

The (New) Pabst Brewery

beer bloggers conference

On the first day of the conference, we had lunch across the street in a renovated stone cathedral, the brewery’s new taproom. The old stones and tall peaks were just an exterior to the new beautiful and modern Pabst Brewery.

So I bet at this point you’re wondering what could they have on tap, PBR and Lone Star? I’m not here to make you jealous, but no, they didn’t. Actually, it was quite the opposite!

There were nearly a dozen new and old recipes that are now being brewed for their Milwaukee Taproom. Some are familiar beers you might recognized from years gone by, many of which I wasn’t familiar with. Still, I had an awesome time trying their lineup, I was very impressed!

Here’s What Was On Tap at Pabst Brewery:

  • Forst Keller Beer
  • Bier de Mars
  • Midnight Sun Dobbel Bock (<3)
  • Nor’ Eastie Boys – North East IPA
  • Summer Solstice Wit
  • Pabst Andeker
  • Old Tankard Ale
  • Augsburger Golder
  • Van Damme Good Tripel
  • Fladers Red

beer bloggers conference

beer bloggers conference

pabst brewery

beer bloggers conference

Look at all those beautiful beer bloggers!

Bringing the Best Place Back to Life

We were lucky enough have the Beer Bloggers Conference in the beautiful Best Place event hall and you could just feel the history all around you.

Thank goodness I had a late flight, because at the end of the conference, Haertel gave a group of us beer bloggers an exclusive tour of Best Place, beyond the main halls.

We walked all through the building’s old hallways and offices, it all looked like it had been abandoned in a hurry. Haertel and the new Pabst team are working hard to bring the Best Place back to its former glory.

It’s hard work, but with passion and love these guys are making it happen.

Check out these photos, it was a blast touring through the brewery’s history! And I’m so happy to share these ‘behind the scenes‘ photos with you all:

Best Place’s front entrance

pabst brewery history

pabst brewery history

pabst brewery history

history of best place pabst

history of best place pabst

Antique beer steins

Beautiful and full of America’s beer history, what more could one ask for in a beer blogging venue?I felt like a kid exploring an old house, every nook and cranny had beautiful details that illustrated the grandeur of this brewery in its prime. Oh man, I can’t wait to go back!

Thanks so much to the whole Pabst Brewery for being such welcoming hosts!

And for those of yall in Milwaukee, Best Place is available for private events, which I would be all over if I was in the area!

What’s your favorite bit of food or drink history that gets you excited? Let me know in the comments!

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