Best Breweries in Door County Wisconsin

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Traveling to Wisconsin might be last on your list of places to visit. I mean, it’s cold there, all the time, right? And that’s not the only excuse when it comes to thinking about Wisconsin. How about the mere fact that it’s very far north – like of everything. It’s only farmland and cheese. And it’s landlocked with no remarkable terrain, right? Are there even breweries in Door County Wisconsin?

Come on now, we’re all educated people. I’m fairly certain that we all took a few classes about the geography of the U.S. And with Wisconsin becoming the 30th state way back in 1848, it’s not news that Wisconsin is a part of the U.S. This means that you should know all of the above is false. Maybe you’re thinking about North Dakota?

Not to dis North Dakota. It does have a few redeeming traits (there are breweries, there). But what we’re really trying to say is that it is time to make Wisconsin a priority on your travel plans, especially Door County breweries. Because yes, for those of you that have heard of Wisconsin, there’s more to this northern border state than Wisconsin Dells and water parks.

Table of Contents

A Brief Bit About Wisconsin and Door County
Door County Breweries
Other Things to Do and Places to Visit
Where to Stay in Door County
How Long to Stay in Door County

A Brief Bit About Wisconsin

boat on Lake Michigan Door County Michigan
Sunset on Lake Michigan in Sister Bay

And it is most definitely not landlocked. In fact a good deal of the state is surrounded by water with more than 800 miles of Great Lakes coastline and around 200 miles of Mississippi River shoreline. And contrary to popular belief, Wisconsin does not share a land border with Canada.

Surrounded by Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan, it is also bordered by Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, but not Canada. And While Lake Superior’s coastline along northern Wisconsin is far from expansive, it is home to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, an outdoor paradise, along with a brewery or two.

While we didn’t make it this far north in Wisconsin to check out the Islands nor nearby Adventure Club Brewing or South Shore Brewery, we are making an educated guess that exploring this region might just be worthy of your time. And we’re also certain that exploring more of Wisconsin than what we did, is also worthy of your time. Especially spending time in Milwaukee at breweries such as Eagle Park Brewing Company and Third Space Brewing. Maybe you’ve heard of that beer city?

Door County Wisconsin – A Peninsula Full of Adventure

However, since one cannot go everywhere, us included, we found our way to Door County. And we’re glad we did. This forested, farmland peninsula juts right out into Lake Michigan offering brilliant ocean-like views along the entire peninsula. Remarkable terrain, indeed!

The entire peninsula is only 80 miles long and 25 miles wide. Comprised of 15 quaint communities along both sides of the peninsula, finding the ones that call your name could be a bit more difficult than you think.

Some are more like quiet suburban neighborhoods tucked away behind groves of trees opening up into miles of farmland. Others are bustling hubs of coastal life complete with water rentals, urban hiking, and enough restaurants to supply the entire county. All encompass a surreal, yet almost palpable magic that is unique to Door County.

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Craft Breweries in Door County

And that magic definitely consists of craft breweries.

With Door County being only 80 miles in length, your brewery tour can happen however you would like it to happen. However for ease of access to all the breweries in Door County, we’re going to send you on a Door County brewery tour in a logical fashion. This logical fashion starts south in Sturgeon Bay and heads north, making a few treks across the peninsula along the way. Which if you recall, is only 25 miles wide.

PRO TIP: Many places in Door County are seasonal (summer is the highlight) so before you embark upon a winter trip here, be sure to check hours and availability prior to heading out.

Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay is a bustling community with many bars, restaurants, shops, and typical stores. Here, you can find everything you might need for your adventures throughout all of Door County. But don’t leave Sturgeon Bay before experiencing the adventures here with its many waterfront parks and its famous steel bridge. It’s the perfect starting point to get your essentials and to start your Door County brewery tour.

Starboard Brewing Company

Starboard Brewing flight of beer Door County Wisconsin brewery
Flight of beer at Starboard

Located in downtown Sturgeon Bay, Starboard may not have a fancy entrance or a fancy building, but they do have community. When you walk into this Door County brewery, you won’t feel like a tourist, you’ll feel like a local. The beers are good, but the people here are even better.

Whether you’ve just spent time exploring one of the three local shopping areas, or just got off the water, or simply wandered through the many shipyards here, stop in a for a beer, and say hi to a stranger. They won’t be strangers for long.

Bridge Up Brewing Company

Bridge Up Brewing couches Door County Michigan brewery
Bridge Up’s colorful space draws you in.

Bridge Up has two locations, one here in Sturgeon Bay and one just south of Fish Creek. We paid a visited to the Sturgeon Bay location, and what a location it is. Located on the dock in the lower level of Sonny’s Pizzeria in Sturgeon Bay, Bridge Up is all about location and ambiance.

The beer here is good with basic styles, but what you’ll really remember at this Door County brewery are the views and the comfy atmosphere. Inside you’ll find an eclectic and varied collection of vintage items such as vinyl on the walls, antique tables, and vibrantly colored couches. Or get your beer in a to-go cup and take a stroll along the boardwalk amidst the ships to catch a sunset that streaks across the entire sky.

Egg Harbor

Egg Harbor is the place to be if you’re seeking out local shops, handcrafted food and beverages, and nightlife. The waterfront here is also well known for one of Door County’s largest beach, making it a great area for swimming, sunbathing, and paddling. Golf your thing? Not quite ours, but you’ll find four courses here. And when done shopping, paddling, and golfing, you all know what to do. Hit up a brewery or two – or a distillery.

Hatch Distilling Co

Hatch Distilling flight of spirits Door County Michigan
A flight of whiskey – Ken’s favorite beverage outside of beer

Yes, we know Hatch is not a brewery, but being a distillery, it’s close enough. Plus, the spirits here are worth a stop. Whether you order a handcrafted cocktail, a whisky on the rocks, or pick up a bottle to go, making a stop at Hatch Distilling is a must on a Door County brewery tour.

Focusing on ingredients sourced from local agricultural and bee farms, Hatch distills some of the finest spirits in the state, including Limoncello, one of my favorites ever since we visited Italy over a decade ago. You’ll also find vodka, gin, whiskey, and more to enjoy inside their beautifully decorated taproom or out on the deck basking in the Wisconsin sunshine.

Just north of Egg Harbor is Carlsville where you’ll also find Door County Distillery, if you are on the hunt for more fine spirits. We haven’t been here yet, so you’ll have to let us know how it is.

Ship Wrecked Brew Pub & Restaurant

Shipwrecked brewpub Door County breweries Wisconsin
Shipwrecked makes for a great lunch spot!

Before you hit up the distillery, you might want some food in your belly, and is there anything better than a restaurant that is also a brewery? Built in a refurbished 19th century inn, Ship Wrecked has succumbed to its natural surroundings and is reminiscent both of a vintage inn and ship. However, you might just want to skip the indoor boat vibes to sit on the patio where you can catch a glimpse of Lake Michigan while enjoying food with friends.

You won’t find much that surprises you here or makes your heart skip a beat, neither on their food menu or beer menu, but you will find good food that pairs with good beer. Brewpubs are rarely our favorite style of breweries mostly because they generally have more of a focus on being a restaurant than brewing beer, lacking the community that we seek from local breweries. But when you need sustenance to keep you onboard for more drinking, finding a place to sit and enjoy the company of friends is never a bad thing.

One Barrel Brewing Company

One Barrel patio with people Door County Michigan brewery
One Barrel’s massive patio space is a great place to enjoy pizza and beer.

While the OG brewhouse for One Barrel is located in Madison, a visit to One Barrel’s expansive beer garden and taproom in Egg Harbor is a must when embarking upon a Door County brewery tour. Focusing on easy drinking flagships, they do still like to shake things up a bit with a few seasonal offerings, including fruited and sour ales along with a few higher ABV options.

And if patios and pizza are your go-to pairings with beer, One Barrel is the place. Their expansive patio has enough tables to host a few elephants (meaning it’s huge) and then some. Plenty of green space for all the elephants, too! They have also teamed up with Pizza Bros for wood-fired pizza. We’re hoping the pizza is as good as the patio space, but since we haven’t tried it yet, you’ll have to let us know.

Baileys Harbor

Baileys Harbor is located on the east side of Door County, what many refer to as the quieter side of the peninsula. That it may be, but there’s still plenty to do here. This Door County coastal town is set up for you to enjoy a day out in nature hiking, biking, or paddling, but it’s small town charm and three lighthouses add that extra special touch. Add a brewery or two to that mix, and you might never want to leave.

Door County Brewing Company and Hacienda Beer Co

door county brewing entryway Door County breweries Wisconsin
Door County Brewing and Hacienda share the same space but brew immensely different beers.

Known maybe more for its music events than beer, Door County Brewing and Hacienda Beer Co are staples in the community. Yep, this is a twofer. Door County Brewing and Hacienda Beer Co are under the same roof. Door County offers a selection of primarily clean, more traditional style beers, while the Hacienda brand does a lot of experimental beers and mixed fermentations.

Not only will you get a wide variety of solid and creative beers, but this rustic taproom is full of charm and ambiance, along with amazing outdoor space, making it one of our faves on the Door County brewery tour. It is after all, located just across the street from Lake Michigan. Wait. There’s even more. DCBC Eats is partnered up with both breweries with a focus on BBQ and handhelds that pair well with whatever beer you choose.

Sway Brewing + Blending

sway brewing patio space Door County brewery Wisconsin
Sway outdoor space – courtesy of Sway on Instagram

If you’re a fan of beer as an art form, then Sway Brewing + Blending is the taproom for you. Headed up by the same brewer as Hacienda, Sway is not only a place for local, high quality crafted brews, it is a sense of life and being.

Knowing the importance of how location impacts the flavors of beer along with the importance of how the beer is treated long after its creation, Sway is one of the newest breweries to hit the craft beer scene in Door County. And they’re hitting the ground running with purpose and passion. Not only will you find hyper-local beers at Sway, but there are plans in the works for handcrafted bakery goods, along with fresh coffee, and focused eats.

We have yet to enjoy the Sway experience, so when you do, please let us know your thoughts.

Sister Bay

The sunsets along any of the Door County communities bathe everything in a golden light, creating a magical charm that hypnotizes. And for us Sister Bay has some of the best magic on the entire peninsula. Maybe it’s because of the plethora of waterfront dining options. Maybe it’s the 1,900 feet of waterfront to stroll, or the beach and the outdoor amphitheater. Or maybe it’s the goats on the roof? You know us. It’s not the goats; it’s a brewery.

Peach Barn Farmhouse & Brewery

Peach Barn entrance Ken walking in Hatch Distilling flight of spirits Door County Michigan brewery
The entrance to Peach Barn is only just the beginning.

Peach Barn Farmhouse & Brewery in Sister Bay is our most memorable brewery from our entire Door County brewery tour. From the moment we rounded the bend in the road and caught a glimpse of the whitewashed barn accented with black beams, we knew this brewery visit would be an exceptional moment.

While there are no lake views, the barn taproom and backyard like outdoor space easily makes up for that. Walking into the barn, you are greeted with community tables, cozy chairs, a vaulted ceiling, and glimmering lights. The outdoor space is home to a fire pit, pergolas, Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, yard games, a playground for the kids, and a stage for live music.

That might just be enough to make a brewery memorable, but the beer pushed it over the top and made it even better. The beers here are solid, well made beers with strong local ties including peach beers, of course, and cherries. Not that adventurous? On tap while we were there were also a few IPAs, a stout, a Pilsner, and my favorite, several saisons.

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Other Things to Do and Places to Visit in Door County Wisconsin

But the adventures do not end at breweries. Not in Door County Wisconsin, anyways. Within each of these communities along the peninsula you’ll find experiences unique to each of them. With Lake Michigan right outside both your front and back doors no matter where you stay, paddling, swimming, strolls, along the water, fishing, and boating, are abundant here.

But nature here doesn’t stop with water. There are hiking and biking trails to explore, farmers markets around every corner, and cherries. You can’t forget the cherries. And goats…on roofs.

Listed below are just a few of the many things to do and places to go when visiting Door County. Yes, you most definitely should embark upon a Door County brewery tour, but don’t ignore everything else. And believe me, there is a lot of everything else.

Listed below are just a few things we’ve either done or heard about it. Happy adventuring in Door County.

Things to Do in Door County (besides drink beer)

  • Get on the water! We have an inflatable paddleboard, and we fully enjoyed using it all over Door County. You can also kayak, fish, boat, and more. There are plenty of rental places for all of the above, along with boat tours at the many marinas along the entire peninsula. We have a DAMA Inflatable SUP and love it. Not quite sure what you might want? You can start your watersports search by clicking here: paddleboards and more water fun! (As Amazon associates we earn from qualifying purchases. We wouldn’t recommend these products, if we didn’t love them, too.)
  • Mountain bike, hike, wander. These coastal communities have a lot more to offer outside of cute shops and eateries, so get out there and explore.
  • Go to a supper club.Throughout all of Wisconsin you’ll hear about supper clubs. These are fine-dining restaurants that are about community and have been embedded in Wisconsin culture for a very long time. You’ll find them all throughout Door County and Wisconsin. We didn’t make it to one, but knowing more about them now, we wish we had.
  • Attend a fish boil. Lake Michigan whitefish is the star of this meal and you can find them at many restaurants in Door County.
  • Drink an Old Fashioned, Wisconsin’s unofficial state drink.
  • Drink a Bloody Mary, Wisconsin’s other unofficial state drink. These are more like a meal rather than a drink.
  • Drink a Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Co, Wisconsin’s unofficial beer.
  • Eat cheese curds. You’ll find them everywhere, fried cheesy goodness, so good for your taste buds, but not quite your health – good for your well-being, though.
  • Eat cherries. Drink cherries. Pick cherries. View cherries. Door County is cherry county.
  • Go on a winery tour. There might be more wineries here than breweries. We focused on beer, but wine is good, too. On that note don’t forget cider either. Check out Island Orchard Cider in Ellison Bay.

Places to Visit in Door County (besides breweries)

  • Stabbur Beer Garden (Sister Bay) expansive patio with wide selection of drinks and apps making it a great place for happy hour
  • Skip Stone Coffee Roasters (Sister Bay) quaint coffee shop making it a great place to sip on coffee before heading out onto the water
  • Wild Tomato Woodfired Pizza & Grill (Sister Bay and other locations) limited craft beer selection but great pizza
  • The Waterfront (Sister Bay) lakeside elegant and casual dining with tapas – the sunsets here are stunning
  • Blue Ox Bar & Grill (Baileys Harbor) landmark dive bar housed in a 19th century building with good selection of local brews and flair
  • Boathouse on the Bay (Sister Bay) casual dining overlooking the water
  • Washington Island Hop on a 30 minute ferry ride to Door County’s northernmost point. We ran out of time and didn’t make it here, but you might want to find that ferry.
  • Peninsula State Park (Fish Creek) We went mountain biking here and had a picnic along the shores of Lake Michigan.
  • Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik (Sister Bay) I’ve been talking about goats on the roof – this is where you’ll find them, along with gourmet meals and cocktails.
  • Door County Creamery (Sister Bay) You have to find the cheese. You’ll find that here and so much more in this charming, albeit a bit pricey, market.

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Where to Stay in Door County

Harvest Hosts site Door County Wisconsin
One of the many Harvest Hosts sites we stayed at while visiting Door County

Our expertise is breweries and traveling, so when we travel to breweries, we seek out places to stay with our RV. If you don’t have an RV when traveling to Door County, don’t worry. This place caters to all sorts of travelers, so you will find a plethora of hotels, Airbnb’s, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds (we stayed a few nights at Hy-Land Court RV Park and Campground) and more.

Speaking of more, if you are an RV traveler, in our opinion the best way to explore Door County is to stay at a Harvest Hosts or at a Boondockers Welcome property.

Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome

Harvest Hosts is a membership for RVers (or van-lifers) that provides free RV camping at over 4,000 wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms, museums, and more (including golf courses). For a small yearly membership fee, you, as a member can visit and stay at any Harvest Hosts location completely free. To sign up with a 15% discount or for more information click here to get started.

Boondockers Welcome is similar to Harvest Hosts in that it is a membership for RVers (or van-lifers) providing free camping for a membership fee. But with this program you get to stay on people’s private properties such as farms, wide open spaces, yards, and even driveways. What makes this program great is that you get to meet like-minded people (often previous RVers themselves) that often become friends. Click here to sign up now or for more information.

Our Door County brewery tour consisted of a mix of Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome sites all along the peninsula. I mean, really, how can you go wrong staying at working farms that sell farm fresh produce, local spirits, and staff that really care about you? Or staying on a fellow traveler’s property surrounded by greenery and towering trees and conversing over a campfire, local brew in hand?

Do you own a brewery, vineyard, museum, or a business that has at least one space for an RV to park? Curious about becoming a Host for Harvest Hosts? Click here to learn more. 

Do you own property or have extra space in your driveway and would like to offer that space to travelers? Curious about becoming a host for Boondockers Welcome? Click here to learn more.

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How Much Time Should You Spend in Door County?

waterfront dining with boats door county wisconsin
With scenes like these in abundance, it’s hard to leave Door County.

Looking back on our time in Door County – we only spent one week here – we can easily recommend spending a couple of weeks here if you have the time. However, if you don’t have to work while spending time here, you can experience a lot within a week. And if you do only happen to have a few days, we recommend you pick one or two communities to explore and not try to visit them all.

Deciding which town to visit can be narrowed down somewhat depending on what you want to do while exploring Door County. If you want all the supper clubs, restaurants, and beachside activity, Sister Bay might be the place for you. If you enjoy the quiet a bit more than the hustle and bustle of tourist acitvity, anywhere along the eastern shore could suit you well.

Regardless of what community you choose, know you’ve chosen well because they all offer lakeside charm and magical moments unique to Door County Wisconsin.

PRO TIP: Don't let FOMO (fear of missing out) get the best of you. There's a lot to experience in Door County - you can't do everything - so embrace your moments and be present where you are.

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What Moment Will You Remember When in Door County?

While our actual brewery tour culminated in Sturgeon Bay at Bridge Up Brewing, just the two of us, beer in hand, watching the sun set on our last night in Door County, the end could have been at Peach Barn. Peach Barn was where we had gathered friends.

It was where we sat under a darkening summer sky listening to a musician release his emotions through song as the thump of the bean bags on boards reverberated throughout the beer garden. It was where I sipped on my favorite style of beer, and may have had one too many, feeling quite good.

Those are the moments that make a brewery memorable, a favorite place to be. We had many memorable moments in Door County, and we hope you create your own.

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7 months ago

Might want to update a few of those titles. There may be a Door County, Michigan, but it sure looks like this post is about Door County, WISCONSIN!