Milwaukee 2016:
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Sunday, September 4, 2016: It was yet another perfect, mid-70s day in Milwaukee. Two days later, there would be massive raining and flooding, but not during our visit. We're just lucky that way.
We hadn't yet tired of bakeries, so we visited Peter Sciortino Bakery, an Italian bakery north of downtown.
It was filled with all manner of small Italian cookies and treats, but we ended up with non-Italian eclairs and a bear claw. We enjoyed the eclairs at a table right in front of the store, washed down with wholesome Wisconsin milk.
Right across the street is Art Smart's Dart Mart. Sadly, it wasn't open until several hours later, but we enjoyed peering in the windows for a few minutes at all of the juggling supplies.
Next, we headed a few blocks away to Glorioso's Italian Market.
It is filled with so many delicious things, and we started tossing things in our cart.
We were offered a box to help carry out our purchases, which we photographed when we got home. With so many sauces and pastas to try, this haul wasn't excessive, it was necessary, wouldn't you agree?
We had some free time before our next tour, so we drove over to Miller Valley for a bit.
We passed this excellent motor home on our way from the parking lot.
'Murica! This was a monument to the branches of the Armed Forces. Not shown: American flags flying overhead.
Here's the Girl in the Moon gift shop, where we dropped some bucks.
The only thing we photographed was this cheese display, but we ended up buying a beer bottle containing beer cheese soup mix, a beer cookbook, and a Blue Moon phone holder just perfect for holding Tom's phone on the dashboard while he's using Waze.
We drove up the hill that signifies that this really was a valley that we were in.
Next stop: Lakefront Brewery, home of the Marx Brothers immortalized on beer tank lids.
We checked in an hour early for our noon tour ...
... so we'd have plenty of time for brunch. French toast and German sausage, onions, mustard, and pretzels makes for quite the European mix of tastiness.
We were each given four wooden tokens to exchange for beer. Still hungover from the day before, we weren't sure how we'd be able to use four tokens, but we did our best. In related news, we have two wooden Lakefront Brewery souvenirs in our bar now.
Here was our beer selection.
Tom chose Eastside Dark on the left, while Debbie went with Oktoberfest on the right.
At noon, our tour started. We were ushered into this room and given the ground rules.
We had gotten a second beer just before the tour started. Snake Chaser, an Irish stout, for Tom and Pumpkin Lager for Debbie.
Debbie could not resist the Howard's Turn poster and bought a six pack of this beer the next day for a colleague at work whose last name is Howard. It was the right thing to do.
In the brewing hall, we all raised our glasses when the tour guide told us to. It was great fun.
Halfway through the tour was a beer stop featuring four beers.
We don't remember what they were but we got some.
In the keg-filling area, there were many, many kegs of delicious beer.
Our guide selected a Bung King and Queen and we all raised our glasses to them.
Next up: the bottling line where we learned many fascinating facts, ...
... and sang along to the Laverne and Shirley theme song while two people attempted to put gloves on two bottles as they rode past on the line.
Cheers again!
The tour ended outside on the waterfront.
We finished our beers in the shade, then headed to the gift shop to swap our sample cups for free Lakefront pint glasses. We also received a coupon for a free Lakefront beer at a list of participating bars, valid today only, but we had other plans.
Here's what remains of the Blatz Brewing Co. - the building has been converted to condominiums.
We parked downtown near the Milwaukee Boat Line in the parking lot of the strangest, emptiest mall we've ever seen. Here's a TJ Maxx effectively filling one half of the main mall floor.
We walked up to the heart of the tourist district.
Buck Bradley's, the Hofbräuhaus, and Usinger's Sausage are all on the same block. Usinger's was closed, so we couldn't go in, ...
... but we were here for cheese anyway, and luckily, Über Tap Room is right next door, ...
... and it is attached to Wisconsin Cheese Mart. Behold all the cheese.
So much cheese.
We recognized quite a lot of it. Here's the delicious cranberry white cheddar from Maple Leaf Cheese we had enjoyed the day before, ...
... and here's that tasty apple cinnamon cheese.
Here's the peppercorn cheese Tom loved ...
... and the wild morel and leek cheese Debbie loved.
The label on the Grand Cru Gruyere Reserve pointed out that it was the younger brother of the 2016 World Champion, like we didn't already know that. There's Grand Cru Original, Grand Cru Reserve, and Grand Cru Surchoix, the champion.
Here was an opportunity to taste Bellavitano Raspberry, made with New Glarus Raspberry Tart ale. It was delicious, so we bought some of the cheese and the ale the next day.
Sprecher is everywhere. Sadly, this display did not have the limited edition honey root beer, so we continued to go without.
We headed from the cheese shop to the tap room and were lucky to find seats at the bar in the packed room.
We were here specifically to drink a beer sampler and have a cheese tray. The board over our heads showed today's options for creating a custom cheese plate, but we weren't that adventurous.
We opted for the Cheddar Plate, which featured several familiar cheeses (l-r): Cranberry White Cheddar, Morel and Leek Monterey Jack, Beer Cheddar, Five Year Cheddar, and SarVecchio Parmesan. Our beer sampler was (l-r): PBR (for Bruce!), New Glarus Fat Squirrel (nut brown ale), New Glarus Raspberry Tart ale, and New Glarus Bubbler (hefeweizen).
We walked back down the river, ...
... and boarded our 4:00 tour on Milwaukee Boat Line.
Our tour took us up river a few bridges, so we got to inconvenience the pedestrians and drivers on dry land.
Then we turned around in front of the Hard Rock and headed back down river, under those same bridges, ...
... and then under some new ones.
Here's a trendy little area that we didn't make it to. Look closely for the ramp that leads nowhere.
This rotating bridge has been out of service for years.
Debbie was a big spender and forked out $4 each for us to get the prepaid brat/soda/chips combo onboard. Oh yeah, price is no object when we travel by boat.
Tom is clearly impressed with his dinner. But you really can't beat brats for a classic Milwaukee dinner.
The cruise took us out into Lake Michigan. Here's a scenic lighthouse, ...
... and here's more scenery.
There's the Milwaukee skyline, folks.
We cruised along the edge of Veterans Park, ...
... a huge open area created from reclaimed land.
We arrived in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum at 4:58 PM.
Our boat tour guide told us that the wings on the building signify whether or not the museum is open.
Sure enough, at 5:00 PM, the wings slowly dropped, so slowly as to be almost imperceptible if you didn't have the lines on the buildings in the background to compare against.
It took nearly five minutes to make the total transition.
Nearly there.
And we're done. Wow, that was cool.
More cruising along the waterfront past Discovery World, ...
... then past the Hank Aaron State Trail.
We passed the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower on the Rockwell Automation campus, which told us that it was 5:17 PM. A second tower kindly told us that it was 75 degrees out.
We returned to the Milwaukee River ...
... and disembarked the lovely Vista King.
We headed to Purple Door Ice Cream next.
It's a popular place on a beautiful evening, so the line reached out the door.
There were several unusual flavors to try so we each opted for two scoops.
Tom had a scoop each of Beer & Pretzels and Cinnamon, while Debbie went with Mint Chip and Caramel Apple.

No way. Right across the street from where we were eating our ice cream was this billboard for Roth Grand Cru. For real.

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