Located on the north bank of the Menomonee River, City Lights continues the renaissance of this central, yet underutilized portion of Milwaukee.
In 1902, the Milwaukee Gas Company began construction of what was originally known as the West Side Water Works. The campus was originally designed to facilitate the coal gasification process, which provided the coal gas used to light street lamps throughout the City of Milwaukee. The buildings were planned and designed more than a century ago by Alexander Eschweiler. During this time period, coal gasification was a common means of providing the gas for street lamps and homes in cities throughout the United States and Europe.
The historic buildings of the West Side Water Works campus were cleaned up and treated to a minimalist intervention that allows their 115 year old industrial character to play a central design role. City Lights Brewing Company re-purposed these buildings by retaining their historic character including exposed steel columns and trusses, red and white glazed Tiffany Brick, a and timber roof. These materials are accented with furnishings made of raw steel and reclaimed wood (some from the floor structure removed from the canning building). Production of City Lights beer in the state-of-the-art brewhouse and fermentation tanks, as well as innovation of new styles in a small batch pilot brewing system, occurs within direct view of the public tasting room. A beer garden, with views of the river, allows tasting and musical entertainment to expand to the outdoors.