It’s not just something we wear on our heads. In the Dairy State, we take cheese seriously.
Wisconsin is home to dozens of artisan cheesemakers who create hundreds of types of cheeses.
Whether you want to follow the brick cheese road for a day, or make a weekend of it, we rounded up the best cheese factories to visit in Wisconsin– from national award-winners to local gems.
LaClare Creamery, Malone
W2994 County Rd HH
Photo courtesy of LaClare Creamery
Most dairies make cheese from cows’ milk, but LaClare is all about the goats. Check out a goat cheesemaking operation on a self-guided tour of the creamery. LaClare sources all of its goats’ milk from within 15 miles of their farm! With it, cheesemakers produce more than a dozen types of goat cheese, including truffle, cranberry cinnamon, blueberry, and maple bourbon.
Clock Shadow Creamery, Milwaukee
138 W. Bruce St.
Photo courtesy of Clock Shadow Creamery
Not all cheesemakers come from the country! One of Wisconsin’s most recognized urban factories is Milwaukee’s Clock Shadow Creamery, which is especially famous for its cheddar cheese curds, made fresh daily. Artisans also make other types of cheddar and Mexican varieties of cheese. Take a tour and sample Clock Shadow’s cheeses while learning more about the history of cheesemaking.
Marieke Gouda, Thorp
200 W. Liberty Dr.
Photo courtesy of Marieke Gouda
Marieke Penterman has been making authentic Dutch gouda from her small farm since 2002. From June through August, she opens her facility to the public for guided tours. Don’t leave without filling your car with various flavors of aged gouda made with fresh milk from the cows at Penterman Farm.
Union Star Cheese Factory, Fremont
7742 County Rd.
Photo courtesy of Union Star Cheese Factory
Union Star Cheese Factory has been turning milk from local farms into premium cheese for more than a century. The factory offers 30-minute tours that end with fresh cheese curd samples. Arrive early in the day for the freshest curds. And before you go, visit the cheese shop to choose between more than 40 varieties including cheddar, muenster, Colby, and brick.
Old Country Cheese, Cashton
S502 County Rd. D
Photo courtesy of Springside Cheese Corp.
Old Country Cheese’s is famous for its muenster cheese curds and its use of canned milk. Located in the heart of Wisconsin’s Amish country, cheesemakers use 120,000 pounds of milk from more than 230 nearby Amish farms every day to make their 20+ varieties of cheese. Old Country is one of the last remaining cheese factories in the US that uses fresh can milk– a difference cheesemakers swear you can taste. Take home some hard-to-find Juusto, or “bread cheese”, common in Finland and Sweden.
Bass Lake Cheese Factory, Somerset
598 Valley View Trail
Photo courtesy of Bass Lake Cheese Factory
The family-run Bass Lake Cheese Factory has been handcrafting cheese since it was first established in 1918. don’t make cheese every day, so if you want a tour, you need to call ahead to find out their cheesemaking schedule. You can visit the cheese shop every day, where you will find a wide variety of cheddar cheeses and a selection of other cheeses including swiss, Colby, Monterey jack, Havarti, and more. For a special treat, try their chocolate cheese!
Silver & Lewis Cheese Coop., Monticello
W3075 County Rd. EE
Photo courtesy of Silver & Lewis Cheese Coop.
Silver & Lewis Cheese Coop. has been making cheese for more than 120 years, with recent owners taking control in 2005. Today they make up to 14,000 pounds of cheese each day from approximately 55,000 pounds of milk from 24 local dairy farmers. Most of their cheese is private label and gets sent to distributors. However, you can visit their factory store to buy various kinds of cheese, especially variations of muenster, farmers, and brick.
Scray Cheese Factory & Shoppe, De Pere
2082 Old Martin Rd.
Photo courtesy of Scray Cheese Factory & Shoppe
Originally started by Belgian immigrants in the early 1900s, today’s Scray Cheese Factory & Shoppe is a fourth-generation family-run operation. Scray Cheese uses milk from local family-owned farms handcraft, various types of cheddar, edam, fontina, and gouda cheeses. They do not offer formal tours at their factory, but you can watch them make and package their cheese from viewing windows in the shop, which opened in 2009.
MORE: If Wisconsin Were a Country, We’d Rank 4th in Total Cheese Production, & Other Cheesy Facts About the Dairy State