World Of Beer
Recognizing Milwaukee’s obvious shortage of beer, the Florida-based World Of Beer franchise decided to open its 31st location on a corner of our city’s brew-barren Brady Street. In actuality, World Of Beer—which faced less opposition for world-authority status in its various strongholds throughout Florida, rural Illinois, and South Carolina—accepted a tall task when it sprouted up in Brew City. But despite Milwaukee’s abundance of establishments with staggering beer selections, there’s always room for one more. The A.V. Club paid WOB an early visit to see if it holds a candle to other local beer emporiums, or if it’s simply just Bar Louie East.
The space: Walking in to the renovated space, the first thing we noticed was the lack of seating. This wasn’t so much WOB’s fault, as it was the packed house of patrons that ranged from college students to suit-clad fifty-somethings occupying every available stool and booth. We eventually sidled up to a stool-less side-table beside a stage (which has live performances every weekend), where we took immediate notice of the exclusively beer-related décor. What wall space wasn’t covered in beer memorabilia was stuffed with HD televisions—12, by our count—each showing sports.
The service: Arriving during happy hour on a Monday evening, we were astonished to see a combined EIGHT bartenders and barbacks on the clock. Amazingly, each seemed to be busy slinging drinks behind the bar and tending to those seated outside. Of the three separate barkeeps to tend to our requests, each was quick, courteous, and capable of navigating the brand new bar’s vast beer scroll.
The A.V. Club’s drinks: We started with a semi-local, but sparsely seen libation, Saint Francis Brewery’s Nut Brown Ale ($5). We soon realized why the small-batch micro brew doesn’t have better representation among local tap lines, as we unenthusiastically sipped the run-of-the-mill concoction seemingly lifted from a public domain brewpub recipe book. Figuring we should take better advantage of World Of Beer’s incredible variety of small craft domestics and well-represented imports, we ventured out beyond St. Francis and jumped the pond to France for a Kronenbourg 1664 ($3.50), which, not coincidentally, was the Beer Of The Month in August. While we washed the Nut Brown from our taste buds with the non-threatening 5-percent ABV pale lager, we eagerly scanned the 400-some beer and hard cider selections on the menu in search of a fitting end for our—to this point—by-the-book visit to a well-stocked barley vault.
Finally, after some serious contemplation, we eventually sprung for a Sea Dog Blue Paw Wheat Ale ($5.50). As affable and fitting for the tail end of summer as the Maine-brewed wheat beer was on its own, World Of Beer’s in-house addition of a hefty spoonful of fresh blueberries did volumes in making the tasty beer all the more enjoyable. If none of those selections hit a note, be sure to browse the list. You’ll find many beers you love or don’t yet know you love.
The verdict: While we can’t say with any certainty that World Of Beer has the largest beer selection in America’s beer capital, we can’t refute it either. If you can get past the sterile franchise feel, it’s certainly worth a visit.