By Ben Alger
Photos by Jonathan Canny
I’m a craft beer junkie and, if you’re a regular Alcoholmanac reader, you might have picked up on that in my past bar features. The excitement of visiting bars that boast an ever-changing array of craft beers keeps me on the hunt. I feel it’s my mission in life to dig up these places around the Milwaukee area and bring them to you. With that in mind, on a recent Friday afternoon, I found myself down in Oak Creek pulling up a stool at Erv’s Mug on Howell Avenue and Ryan Road.
This was my first trip to Erv’s. Once inside, I could feel the maturity of this 33-year-old family owned and operated establishment. The place was packed with a lunch crowd that more closely resembled a Friday night dinner rush. The staff and their regulars called to each other by name, while first timers like me soaked in the atmosphere over a tasty brew. Yes, Erv’s Mug was full that afternoon (you knew that was coming).
Erv’s is comprised of two sections, a bar area and a dining room. The bar area contains a smaller ‘L’ shaped bar with stools, a handful of flat screen TVs and some tables. A rotating variety of more than thirty taps stands proudly behind the bar just waiting to quench a hearty thirst for a mug of IPA, stout or whatever you prefer. If a mug is a little too much, Erv’s offers my favorite beverage option: the sampler. Try five four-ounce samples of your choosing for $8. Oh, and your samples come in petite glass mugs on a platter featuring a profile of Erv drawn on it. Initially, I thought the platter design was Alfred Hitchcock, but before I made a fool of myself by asking if it was indeed the great filmmaker, I saw a photo of Erv and put two and two together.
The long list of taps isn’t the only thing on the menu here, though. Check out the short list of cocktails or specialty bottled beers while you’re there. With so many delectable beverage options available, you might have difficulty choosing just one to go with your meal. You can find lunch, dinner and everything in between on Erv’s robust list of options. Appetizers, burgers, wraps, desserts and salads are available at reasonable prices. Daily food specials are offered, but perhaps the best advice is just to look at the food and drink menus every time you’re at Erv’s. The kitchen opens along with the bar at 11:00 am daily.
Before you visit, check out Erv’s events calendar at their website. Erv’s frequently hosts beer dinners featuring various craft brewers and food menus designed specifically for the events. Most dinner events are priced at $30 ($20 in July), and some feature special guests from various breweries!
Erv’s has the personal touch of a friend’s house with a cozy interior and a patio just begging for warmer weather. The walls and ceiling are covered in old tap handles, beer signs and mirrors, Easter bonnets ... Wait—Easter bonnets? Yes, Easter bonnets. I’ll leave it at that. If you want to know more, I guess you’ll have to head down to Erv’s Mug.
130 West Ryan Road