Beer and brewing history in Door County have deep roots, with the famous Chicago brewer Dr. Wahl calling Fish Creek home for a period of time during prohibition. Since then, the beer industry in the county has only gotten better and bigger, with four breweries now calling Door County home. Watch the Our Door County video below to hear how the brewing scene had a humble start and then read on to hear what makes each of our breweries unique.
The County’s First Microbrewery: Shipwrecked
Door County got its first brewery in 1997 with the opening of Shipwrecked in Egg Harbor. Housed in a historic building in the center of Egg Harbor that dates to 1882, the brewery and restaurant is open year round, serving soups, salads, sandwiches, and specialities alongside an array of delicious taps.
Brewmaster Rich Zielke is in charge of brewing the hand-crafted Door County beers and he covers off on the favorite varieties with a Bayside Blonde Ale, Captain’s Copper Ale, Door County Cherry Wheat, and Peninsula Porter—plus regularly adding seasonal brews.
The brewery also tragically burned down in August of 2017, closing the business and brewery while they rebuilt at the same location. Luckily, the rebuild didn’t take too long, and the new building was completed and ready for a reopen in June of 2018. The inn portion was not included in the rebuild, in lieu of an upper level dining area offering views of Lake Michigan and downtown Egg Harbor.
The Music Hall & Brewery Combo: Door County Brewing Co.
Founded in 2012, Door County Brewing Company is a family owned craft brewery. Owned and run by the McMahon family, Door County Brewing Company is located in Baileys Harbor and uses as many ingredients for their beer from Door County as possible.
In 2017 the growing brewery opened a new, larger, location blocks from their first, and named it the Door County Brewing Co. Taproom & Music Hall, putting emphasis on their intention of hosting live music performances in the taproom space. Since opening, they have been consistently hosting community focused events, plenty of live music almost every Friday and Saturday, and even a weekly farmers market on Thursdays.
The taproom features 26 taps with rotating seasonals only available in house, long-time favorites, and non-alcoholic options as well for a family-friendly atmosphere. A menu features Wisconsin cheese boards, pretzels, and curds, and there’s often a food truck serving delicious bites in the beer garden. The brewery is open year round for games, music, and frequent bingo or trivia nights.
The Local Focus: Bridge Up Brewing
Located in Sturgeon Bay, Bridge Up Brewing is creating quality craft beer, in small batches. Owner and brewer Trent Snyder likes to say he aims to brew “for the people" of Door County—whether you call Door County home or are here for a visit—meaning he is always experimenting with brewing to come up with a new favorite. He wants to brew what you want to drink!
The brewery currently serves its beer on tap at Sonny’s Pizzeria and in growlers to go at the Sonny’s outdoor bar, which overlooks the Sturgeon Bay Canal and can provide views of the nearby steel bridge. Beer is made in smaller batches, to match the seasonal trends of the moment and to continue to improve on customer’s current favorite varieties.
The operation began in early 2019 and has already found popularity with Sturgeon Bay visitors and locals. The long-term goal is to offer the Bridge Up Brewing beers around at other local restaurants and increase brewing capacity to match the growing thirst for the local flavors.
The Beer Garden & Pizza Experience: One Barrel Brewing Company
The newest addition to the brewery offerings is actually a second location of the original brewery, One Barrel Brewing Company , located in Madison’s Atwood neighborhood. Opened in 2012, the Madison brewery became a local favorite for craft, small-batch beer and a relaxed atmosphere. Owner Peter Gentry decided to take the brewery to a second location, choosing Egg Harbor as an ideal place to continue and evolve the brewery’s vision.
One Barrel in Egg Harbor features a newly built taproom that has retractable doors which gives visitors an open-air experience during the summer season. Outside, you’ll find plenty of space to spread out at tables and around a fire pit. Also on the menu: the brewery partnered with Wild Tomato, a Door County pizza company, to serve wood-fired pizza.
It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends, family or a loved one. The brewery also hosts fun events on specific weekends, bringing in live music and a beer tent for extra hours of fun.
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