Lakefront Brewery IPA Review

Lakefront Brewery, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, started in 1987 by Russ and Jim Klisch who started the brewing as home brewers competing over who could make the best beer. Although I am located in California, I was able to find a 6-pack of their IPA at a local store in San Mateo and I’m glad I did find this IPA. It has a great hoppy nose from the Cascage and Chinook hops but balanced by a generous malty sweetness.

Lakefront Brewery describes their IPA as follows:

Pours a hazy orange with a rocky white head that lasts, and leaves soft lace on your glass as you sip this refreshing beer. American Cascade and Chinook hops dominate the aroma, yielding a citrusy, floral bouquet. The hops give a nice bitter bite to the flavor, but this beer is surprisingly well balanced with a full body and smooth malty flavor to back up the hops. It finishes smooth and crisp with a lingering hop flavor reminiscent of fresh ruby red grapefruit.

Date Reviewed. November 17, 2009.

Where I Found It. Draeger’s in San Mateo

Serving Type. 12 oz bottle to a glass.

Appearance. Being careful to pour the beer without stirring up the yeast, I found this IPA clear with a nice light-tan head. The head died down from full volume quickly but left about 7 mm for quite a long time and then and everlasting clumpy, thin layer of foam until the last drop. The color is a nice dark orange, or light oak, amber color.

Smell. Lakefront IPA has a very nice hoppy bouquet of citrus, floral, earthy, and pine. The aroma is malty sweet with hints of sweet biscuit and roasted malts. The sweet aroma combines with the citrus notes to produce a an aroma like ruby red grapefruit. The smell of this beer is very inviting.

Taste. Although the nose is very hoppy, the bitterness is very light in the first few sips. As you drink more, however, the bitterness grows but is a smoother hop bitterness. For the most part the malty sweetness takes a back seat to the hops and is there to balance the hop bitterness. However, just as in the smell, the sweet malt and citrus hops produce a pleasurable, beery grapefruit flavor.  Maybe I had a weird body chemistry reaction, but the aftertaste is slightly little like ripe bananas.

Mouthfeel. Lakefront IPA is a medium bodied beer that seems to be a bit lighter in mouthfeel than the sweet aroma might suggest. I personally felt it to be a touch to watery. It is moderately to lightly carbonated.

Drinkability. The smooth bitterness of this beer makes it more quaffable than other IPAs out there. The bitterness does however build over time but if you drink leisurely enough it will never become overwhelming. This is a tasty IPA that I will keep in mind for the next time I travel to the Great Lakes area.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 4.0
  • Smell (20%): 4.0
  • Taste (40%): 4.0
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 3.5
  • Drinkability (10%): 4.5
  • Overall: 4.0


  • Style: IPA
  • Brewery: Lakefront Brewery
  • Alcohol by volume: 6.9%
  • Hops: Cascade, Chinook
  • Beer Advocate rating: 3.86 (as of March 19, 2010)

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About David Jensen

David is a craft beer and photography enthusiast.
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2 Responses to Lakefront Brewery IPA Review

  1. I did try their IPA – I guess it is easier to find it here in Chicago – and it is GOOD.

  2. If you ever get a chance to visit this brewery do it. It is hands down the best of the hundreds of tours I have ever been on. They give you pints to sample and let you sample before the tour, filling station on the tour, and as long as you want to stay after. They actually use the same bottling line that was used in the opening of Laverne and Shirley. Oh, and the beer is great!

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