One historical note that I learned while touring the Pabst Brewery was the link between the rise of the Milwaukee breweries and the Great Chicago Fire. Prior to that event, most American cities each had their own localized beer. But when the Chicago Fire wiped out that city's beer maker, they had to call upon the bottlers in nearby Milwaukee; who, along with breweries in St. Louis, developed a series of icehouses along the railroad line to keep their beers cold until they could be brought to market. This is how the first interstate distributors developed.
I would truly be remiss if I journeyed all the way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and left without eating at least one bratwurst.
Overall Milwaukee struck me as a good example of a city in transition between the 50's model of a downtown industrial center full of manufacturing jobs and factories; to a modern, hi-tech city where the downtown is focused on an urban living environment. Consequently, some of the areas of downtown are very new, trendy and cosmopolitan; while others seem like run down, boarded up factory districts. If urban renewal had a face, it would be Milwaukee's. It is a city with a rich culture, good food, and unique lifestyle that maybe doesn't get the high praise for a tourism destination that maybe it deserves.