Bay View’s small brew­eries

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion -

was on the al­co­holic heat. Tread lightly with this one.

Dis­trict 14 also serves piz­zas, which might be nec­es­sary to off­set some of the higher al­co­hol brews.

KEEP­ING IT SIM­PLE

From Dis­trict 14 we tod­dled over to the Lin­coln Ware­house and the fi­nal two stops of the night.

En­light­ened Brew­ing Com­pany had the largest crowd when we vis­ited, which says some­thing given the brew­ery’s some­what ob­scure in­dus­trial South First Street lo­ca­tion. Its large garage-door front wall, opened to a rel­a­tively com­fort­able evening, pro­vided a bea­con of light and sound in the dark night.

Founder Tommy Van­der­voort and chief of op­er­a­tions/brew­mas­ter James Lar­son — who learned to brew at the He­riot Watt Univer­sity in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land — have put to­gether a de­cent list of beer types that ad­dress most drinkers’ palates.

“Keep it sim­ple” is the pair’s brew­ing phi­los­o­phy. As is of­ten the case, some were bet­ter — or per­haps sim­pler — than oth­ers.

We en­joyed Te Ip­sum (6.5 per­cent ABV), an Amer­i­can pale ale made with So­rachi Ace and Cen­ten­nial hops. The well-bal­anced beer has a nice mouth­feel and good hoppy fla­vors, with the So­rachi Ace adding citrus to the mix.

The other beers we tried were sturdy, but not im­pres­sive in their com­plex­ity or fin­ish. Cream City Brix (5 per­cent ABV), a pre-Pro­hi­bi­tion-style cream ale, was light but less well de­vel­oped than ex­pected.

“Can you taste the corn?” ny fel­low pub crawler asked. In­deed, I could.

1840 BREW­ING CO.

DIS­TRICT 14 BREW­ERY & PUB

EA­GLE PARK BREW­ING CO.

EN­LIGHT­ENED BREW­ING CO.

The Pro­to­typ­i­cal Porter (5.4 per­cent ABV) al­though nicely fla­vored, was a lit­tle light in body and spirit. I had ex­pected a lit­tle more heft and was dis­ap­pointed when it wasn’t there.

I agreed with my friend that part of the prob­lem may have been the in­tensely fla­vored beers we had sipped at 1840. We were then sur­prised when a hand­ful of work­ers wear­ing 1840 Brew­ing’s black shirts came in af­ter their own brew­ery had closed for the night, ex­hibit­ing what Stephanie Vet­ter de­scribed as the strong ca­ma­raderie found in the Bay View brew­ing com­mu­nity.

“En­light­ened Brew­ing de­serves a sec­ond chance,” I wrote in my notes for the evening, fil­ing it away for fu­ture ref­er­ence.

‘BUT WE’RE MU­SI­CIANS FIRST’

One of the tag-alongs with the 1840 crew who did not sport a com­pany shirt took strong ex­cep­tion to our as­sess­ment of En­light­ened’s beers. He also had noth­ing good to say about the beers at Ea­gle Park Brew­ing Com­pany, En­light­ened’s neigh­bor lo­cated some­where else in in the ware­house com­plex.

So strong was his con­dem­na­tion, in fact, that we al­most de­cided not to visit. In the end, we didn’t heed his ad­vice and chose to lis­ten to our in­ner beer nerds in­stead.

And even if we hadn’t liked the beers, which we did, the search alone would have been worth the ef­fort.

To get to Ea­gle Park, you must go to the small en­trance door just to the left of En­light­ened’s open front and ring one of the two buzzers. The lower buzzers alerts the man­age­ment at Dock 18 Cock­tail Lab — a tiny “ex­per­i­men­tal” cock­tail bar lo­cated just out­side Twisted Path Dis­tillery — and some­one will let you in.

The other buzzer con­nects to Ea­gle Park on the sec­ond floor, and the same regimen ap­plies. Dock 18 was bustling when we walked by on my way to the craft brew­ery, which we fi­nally found half­way down a vast empty hall­way.

In con­trast to Dock 18, there were only two cus­tomers there when we ar­rived. We left al­most an hour later, happy to have dis­cov­ered some­thing ev­ery­one else seems to be miss­ing.

Run by brothers Max and Jack Bor­gardt and named af­ter a hy­brid of the New Ber­lin cross­roads where they grew up, the brew­ery has been in busi­ness for just seven months. But the brothers, who also are mu­si­cians, had been brew­ing beer in their garage long be­fore that, and their cre­ativ­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence shows.

I like jazz, so when I saw a beer called You Like Jazz? (7 per­cent ABV) I knew the Bel­gian/Amer­i­can IPA was calling to me.

Made with a hy­brid yeast strain and Citra hops, the beer poured al­most like a New Eng­land-style IPA, but the Bel­gian half-yeast 342 E. Ward St., Mil­wau­kee.

414-236-4056 1840brew­ing.com

Check web­site for monthly beer re­lease week­ends. Dates change, but the hours are the same: VIP mem­ber tast­ings are 5–8 p.m. Fri­day and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Sun­day. Open pub­lic tast­ings are 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Satur­day.

2273 S. How­ell Ave., Mil­wau­kee.

414-744-0399 d14beer.com 3 p.m.–mid­night Tues­day–Thurs­day, 3 p.m.–2 a.m. Fri­day, noon–2 a.m. Satur­day, noon–mid­night Sun­day.

2018 S. First St., Mil­wau­kee.

262-278-0679 ea­glepark­brew­ing.com 4–10 p.m. Thurs­day, 3 p.m.–mid­night Fri­day– Satur­day, noon–5 p.m. Sun­day.

2018 S. First St., No. 170, Mil­wau­kee.

414-364-6225 en­light­ened­beer.com 4–10 p.m. Wed­nes­day, 4–11 p.m. Thurs­day, 3 p.m.–mid­night Fri­day–Satur­day, noon–5 p.m. Sun­day. — M.M. brought out the beer’s fruity notes, which made for an em­i­nently quaf­fa­ble and to­tally de­light­ful brew.

We also were drawn by Im­mor­tal Soul (8.2 per­cent ABV), which ro­tates in style based on the sea­son, but al­ways main­tains the same malt bill, body weight, color and bit­ter­ness. Which­ever sea­son this was made us want to en­joy it all the more.

We fi­nally worked our way up to Huey Lewis and the Booze (6.6 per­cent ABV), a vari­a­tion on the brew­ery’s oat­meal brown ale that one of the brothers likened to cold-brewed cof­fee. In this case, the cold brew’s cof­fee beans had mar­i­nated in a bour­bon bar­rel, which gave it a de­light­fully full and slightly boozy fla­vor.

We liked it so much the bar­tender gave us a pre­view taste of the next it­er­a­tion of the beer, for which green un­roasted cof­fee beans had mar­i­nated in a bour­bon bar­rel, pro­vid­ing an even more unique and pleas­ing fla­vor.

“You guys do re­ally fine and in­ven­tive work,” some­one said. (It was late and I am not sure who made the state­ment.)

“Thanks, but we’re mu­si­cians first,” one of the brothers replied. “We’d like to win a Grammy, but I guess we’ll set­tle for mak­ing good beer.”

Mike Guten, En­light­ened Brew Com­pany’s head brewer, founder Tommy Van­der­voort, and chief of op­er­a­tions James Lar­son.

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