Drinking, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Drink Local at Pearl Street Brewery

We were provided a private tour of Pearl Street Brewery arranged by Visit LaCrosse. Our opinions are our own.

Where did Google tell us to go?

We’ve visited enough breweries to know when Google Maps sends you down obscure and random streets making you feel like there’s no way these directions can be right, you’re likely headed to a brewery.

Shoe Factory turned Brewery

Pearl Street Brewery is no exception. Once a shoe factory, this old building has lots of character and charm and is dark (in a good way). This all lends itself to a cool, brewery vibe.

Pearl Street Brewery takes up three floors of the building with ample space for expansion, should they need it in the future. The tasting room and brewing happens on the first floor. Some of the upstairs is utilized in processing the beer.

Pearl Street Brewery

Living that Beer Life

Beau, Pearl Street’s Event Specialist gave us the tour and one things for sure, Beau and the rest of the Brew Crew are very passionate about the beer they brew, and it shows!

From the bartender to the brewers, it’s obvious that they’ve got a great environment to work in and it’s probably why people enjoy hanging out there to drink good, local craft beer.

One thing we noticed right off the bat is how the locals love Pearl Street Brewery and it feels like a place where “everyone knows your name”. We’re not shy but don’t necessarily talk to surrounding tables. We talked to so many locals the night we were there. It was fun.

Humble Beginnings

Living in Colorado at the time, founder and owner, Joe Katchever, bought out a brewery that had gone out of business. He and his father thought La Crosse would be a great place to open a brewery with such a great water supply . So Joe hauled all the equipment into a trailer and headed toward WI.  That was 1999 and slowly but surely, they built the brewery into what it is today.


In 2007 a tasting room was opened. All bottling and packaging is done on site. Currently they produce about 5,000 barrels a year and distribute to NE Iowa, SE Minnesota and all counties of WI.

One by one, bottles are brewed, dated and labeled. They can produce about 80 cases an hour.

The Funk Room

This was a room we were able to see through glass windows. It’s door is hermetically sealed so that the wild yeast doesn’t take over other yeasts in the brewery.

The fermentation of these yeasts are wild and spontaneous and are aged in bourbon & wine barrels. At the time they were producing 4 kinds of beers with these ingredients, including a Russian Stout with 12% alcohol.

Funk Room Pearl Street Brewery

The Beers

We tried them all but the beer that we absolutely fell in love with is the seasonal, Smokin’ Hemp Porter. It’s described as dark and smooth, and easy drinkin’ porter is made with cherry-wood smoked malt and toasted Canadian hemp seeds. When aged throughout the year, its flavor matures with time. (Limited 4/20 Release – 5.5% ABV 18 IBUs), We’ve never found another beer like it. We loved it so much, we bought several 6 packs to take home with us.

Our thoughts on the other samples:

  • Applefest- sweet but a fun treat
  • El Hefe- loved it
  • DTB- a little plain compared to the others
  • Rolled Oat Stout- Dusty especially loved the chocolatey, full taste

Flight at Pearl Street Brewery

This was one of the more unique ways to pick a beers for our flight. There’s a lot to chose from so you grab a card, arrange it on your flight and hand it off to the bartender. Flight Options at Pearl Street Brewery

Brewery Happenings

There is lots going on at Pearl Street. The night we were there it was record night. Patrons are welcome to bring their favorite record and everyone gets a turn to hear their record play throughout the taproom. Visit the events calendar. 

Wax Wednesday Pearl Street Brewery

Visit La Crosse

Pearl Street Brewery is definitely a place for locals and visitors alike. So if you find yourself in La Crosse, WI and love good, craft beer then you must visit Pearl Street Brewery.

La Crosse is one of our favorite places to visit. It’s a beautiful town along the Mississippi River. It’s great any time of year, but we highly recommend visiting in the fall. Granddad Bluff offers spectacular views of fall colors!

Thank you to Pearl Street Brewery for the extensive tour and tasting. Thank you to Visit LaCrosse for arranging our tour. All opinions are our own. 

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Craft Beer Lovers Must Visit Pearl Street Brewery La Crosse, WI


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