Brewers fans flock for free burgers

George Webb promotion celebrates club's 12-game win streak

October 18th, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- The closest George Webb from General Mitchell International Airport is less than two miles away on Howell Avenue.

It took only a few minutes to get there.

The line out the door Thursday afternoon nearly reached the street, causing a bit of an issue for hungry Brewers fans looking to find a parking spot and stuffed Brewers fans looking to leave after they devoured their free hamburgers. You see, George Webb restaurants give away free burgers any time the Brewers win 12 consecutive games. It happened for just the second time in the promotion's history recently when the Brewers won their final eight games of the regular season, including a one-game playoff over the Cubs, before winning three games over the Rockies in the National League Division Series and Game 1 against the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

George Webb paid up Thursday. They handed out thousands of burgers between 2-6 p.m.

I have lived in Philadelphia since 1999, but I grew up in the Milwaukee suburbs of West Allis and New Berlin. I was just 11 years old in 1987, the same season Paul Molitor had his historic 39-game hitting streak. I never got my free burger because of school and because it rained all day. But I remember my grandfather Art telling me that he stood in line to get his. He wouldn't miss it.

I mean, who doesn't love a free burger?

But sometimes things work out. I happened to be put on NLCS coverage for, which means I happened to get an unexpected trip home when the Brewers advanced. My flight from Los Angeles on Thursday landed in the afternoon, which allowed me plenty of time to get my rental car and get the free burger.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the 30 George Webb restaurants had enough ground beef and buns for 200,000 burgers. Each restaurant was stocked to handle at least 3,000.

Full disclosure: the burgers are not the world's greatest. But George Webb is a local institution and an experience. It famously hangs two clocks side-by-side on the wall. The legend is that a Milwaukee ordinance prohibited 24-hour restaurants in the late '40s and early '50s, so the original George Webb set the clocks one minute apart. That way he could say his place closed and reopened every day in compliance with the ordinance.

"Teenage years, it was a 2-o'clock, get-your-burger-place," said Milwaukee resident Joel Regazzi, who waited in line at the Howell Avenue restaurant. "Nice place. You can come here and [for] five bucks, you can get a bag of burgers."

Regazzi brought his buddy Kevin Nowak from South Milwaukee. Nowak said he watched every game of the Brewers' winning streak.

"I was just hoping for our team to get to the playoffs," he said. "Well, it comes along with free burgers this time."

It is a good bet they will be back in line again the next time it happens. Maybe they won't have to wait another 31 years.

George Webb last paid up in 1987, when the Brewers opened the season with 13 consecutive wins. The chain said it gave away 168,194 burgers at the time, but who's counting?

That experience in '87 remains etched in the minds of Brewers fans, which is why many of them stood in line again Thursday. A Brewers 12-game winning streak is like an asteroid flying past Earth. Nobody knows if they will ever see it again, so you better run outside and take a look. Or in this case, take a bite.