The beer program at Colectivo (previously known as Alterra Coffee Roasters) launched in a home beer lab under the control of the company's green coffee buyer, George Bregar, and coffee roaster Shawn "Roscoe" Bigelow. The two drew upon the palates and methodical workflow style they'd learned in coffee sourcing and roasting, applied to their innate Wisconsonian love of beer.
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Dick's Pizza and Pleasure feels a bit schizophrenic. It's a super sleek, Anime-clad space that serves coal-fired pizza downstairs, is a club and lounge upstairs, and also happens to make more than a dozen different kinds of shakes. What's not confused, however, is how awesome those shakes are.
I love fall flavors, and here in Milwaukee, it's gotten downright chilly in the last two weeks. That's all the reason I need to start eating as many apple- and pumpkin-flavored foods as I can. Lucky for me, Babe's Ice Cream in Bayview has started carrying their seasonal flavors, including caramel apple pie and pumpkin. These are some of the smoothest, richest, most luxurious shakes I've had.
One of the unique ice cream flavors at The Chocolate Factory is called I'm Talkin' Chocolate, a super dark bittersweet chocolate made from three different African cocoas. It makes the richest, darkest chocolate shake you can find. It's not too sweet, with a slightly bitter, coffee-like undertone. If you're serious about chocolate, this is the shake for you.
A relative newcomer to the frozen custard scene in Milwaukee, Cream City Custard is a big, bright, clean restaurant that acts as a neighborhood meeting spot. It follows the standard "flavor of the day" custard format, and on the savory side of things, serves a huge array of burgers, sandwiches, and Greek specialties.
The Nite Owl Drive-in is a classic burger and ice cream joint that's been operating since 1948. The tiny dining room exudes charm, from the faded antique photographs to the walk-up counter service and hand-written tickets. The shakes are classic, too, but one flavor, the Superman shake, really stands out.
Location is everything, and that's what Northpoint Custard is banking on. Located just south of Bradford Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan, there's no better place to grab a shake on a hot, humid Midwest day.
Kraverz is a frozen custard and burger stand in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls with a huge menu. They serve everything from gyros to fish fry. But of course, we were there for our frozen dairy fix.
To get in the mood for summer, May's shake at Stack'd Burger Bar in Milwaukee is S'mores, a concoction of vanilla ice cream, mashmallow fluff, chocolate syrup and graham crackers. Spiking with creme de cacao is optional, but highly recommended.
A couple of times a year, Kopp's offers a special shake flavor, Blue Moon, in its rotating lineup of seasonal tastes. The bright, almost neon-turquoise shake is a regional favorite that most people outside of the upper Midwest have never heard of. No one really knows what the flavor is...Marshmallow? Blue Curacao? I'd say the flavor of this shake most closely resembles a cross between marzipan and Froot Loops.
The Famous Shake is a combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and frozen banana, just like my mom used to make when I was a kid. In Chubby's version, the three flavors complement each other well, and none overpowers the other.
Oscar's frozen custard has been a staple in the West Allis neighborhood of Milwaukee for as long as I can remember. All the standard flavors are represented, with a couple of candy-laden options thrown in, kind of like the Blizzards at Dairy Queen.
Gilles has been serving frozen custard on the west side of Milwaukee since they opened in 1938—it was the first custard stand in the city. Today, they're still a favorite hangout of local high school students and busy families who want to grab a quick dinner before heading to Hart Park for a football game. My favorite is the Oreo shake.
I wasn't expecting to get a very good shake at Omega Jumbo Burgers and Frozen Custard. It's a local suburban fast food spot with a diverse (or perhaps schizophrenic?) menu and a dining room like a hospital cafeteria—sterile and cold with some token potted plants in the middle. After these shakes though, I will never judge a book by its cover again.
If you're in Milwaukee, it's essential to start your shake-explorations with a trip to Leon's, if only to reinforce how excellent frozen custard is as a base for shakes and malts. These serious sips are worth standing outside for, even in the coldest Wisconsin weather.
When in the milk mecca of America's Dairyland, it takes only a glance at the billboard along Interstate 43 to find out the flavor of the day at Kopp's Frozen Custard of Milwaukee. Actually, there are two flavors of the day. (The midwest likes to double up on things.)