Milwaukee’s Beer Line

Empires rise and fall, but one title has always reigned strong in Milwaukee: “Brew City.” Since statehood, beer has played an integral role in the growth of Wisconsin industry while bringing Milwaukee national fame. What might be less obvious, but no less important, was the profound role that rail transportation played in this story. To shine a light on both, the Center for Railroad Photography & Art curated the exhibition Milwaukee’s Beer Line, which narrates the rise, fall, and rise again of Milwaukee’s beer industry through the eyes of the Milwaukee Road’s Beer Line.

The photographs from the show come from the Center’s Wallace W. Abbey Collection. During the 1950s Abbey was an associate editor for Trains magazine, the nation’s foremost railroad magazine. With offices located in downtown Milwaukee, the Beer Line became a natural subject of interest.

Following the theme of the exhibition and to reach new demographics, the Center primarily traveled the show at Wisconsin breweries. Originally commissioned by the East Troy Electric Railroad Museum, the exhibition continued on to several breweries in the Madison area before debuting in its namesake city at Lakefront Brewery. The show chronicles the history of the railroad’s role in the growth of Milwaukee’s beer industry and depicts how major Milwaukee breweries used the Beer Line to supply Milwaukeeans and beyond with their beloved brews.

Previous Venues

Right Bauer Brewing, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, October 1, 2019 to January 2, 2020

ABA National Brewery Museum, Potosi Brewery, Potosi, Wisconsin, April 23 to September 30, 2019

Capital Brewery, Middleton, Wisconsin, February 5 to March 5, 2019

Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, December 10, 2018 through January 31, 2019

Good City Brewing, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 5 through March 1, 2018

Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 30 2017 through February 5, 2018

Grumpy Troll Brew Pub, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, October 23 through November 27, 2017

Octopi Brewing, Waunakee, Wisconsin, September 29 through October 23, 2017

East Troy Electric Railroad Museum, East Troy, Wisconsin, August 25 through September 29, 2017

Autres expositions de CRP&A


Rails || Trails



Railroads and the American Industrial Landscape: Ted Rose Paintings and Photographs


The Call of Trains: Railroad Photographs by Jim Shaughnessy


Beebe & Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy