As breweries around the country – including in the Milwaukee area – come together to create interesting brews for a good cause, like the Black is Beautiful stout and the All Together IPA, an area brewer has put together its own program of collaboration beers to help benefit bars and restaurants.
Sheboygan’s 3 Sheeps kicks off the series with Operation SOS (Save Our Spots) Hazy IPA, which it created in concert with Milwaukee’s Third Space Brewing and Madison’s Young Blood Beer Co.
The goal, says 3 Sheeps’ Sales Manager Jordan Aberman, is do one small batch a month with two partner breweries, of, “a beer that's a creative or innovative take on an established style, and to keep the price lower than a brewery typically would for beers of these styles with ingredients of this quality.
“They're break-even for us, basically. And we're really looking at styles that sell quickly to ease any concerns about inventory sitting around in these on-premise spots.”
This initial hazy IPA was brewed at 3 Sheeps with Talus and Belma hops.
“For this first beer, we had a roundtable discussion over Zoom about the hazy pale/IPA category and basically brainstormed ingredients the individual breweries were excited about,” says Aberman.
“One suggested Talus hops, another suggested Belma hops, and as we talked through it, the combination offered a lot of promise in terms of compatible and complementary flavors/aromas, plus they're newer and not being widely used in Wisconsin, which should be exciting for beer-loving customers.”
The Belma was a Young Blood suggestion, according to that brewery’s co-founder Tom Dufek.
"One thing we love doing at Young Blood is playing with new hops that have great flavor but are underutilized or up and coming,” Dufek says.
“We thought this would be a great time to use Belma as it is a hop we love with big, rich notes of strawberry and pineapple. We're stoked this hop made it into the final product."
The beer is being canned on Wednesday and will begin going out to bars and restaurants, –but not to retail stores or the breweries’ taprooms – on Monday.
That focus on on-premise venues is because the goal is to help drive business to bars and restaurants during this challenging time.
"Bars and restaurants have been partners that have nurtured and supported our breweries since we started, whether that was nine years ago for 3 Sheeps or in the last year for Young Blood, and we have all felt a degree of helplessness watching them struggle, so this seemed like a very timely and important way of reciprocating the love they've shown us for years,” says 3 Sheeps Founder Grant Pauly.
“We're all looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and we want to do what we can to help see these important parts of our community through to the other side."
Third Space Co-Founder Andy Gehl hopes that giving these venues a unique product will help send much-needed business their way.
“Project SOS is a great opportunity to remind craft beer lovers that there are a lot of great bars and restaurants out there that need their help to get through this pandemic,” says Gehl. “We hope creating a rare canned beer option for these partners will drive customers to these establishments both to buy this beer and to buy some food for carry out or dine in. At the very least we hope it helps raise some awareness that bars and restaurants still need our help.
“Throughout the pandemic we have been looking for ways to support our hospitality industry partners who are being hit the hardest from an economic standpoint. In the early days we created Curbside Bingo to drive customers to order more take out in return for free Third Space Beer. We have also donated approximately $4,000 to hospitality industry charities through both the All Together collaboration and our recent hospitality industry kill the keg promotion. So when 3 Sheeps approached us about Project SOS, we quickly signed on.”
Dufek echoed those sentiments.
"Bars and restaurants are the lifeblood of our community at Young Blood – and everywhere,” he says. “We're located in the middle of what until February 2020 was a vibrant entertainment district and with things locked down we know how bad our bars and restaurants are struggling.
“We jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this project because we think now more than ever we need to be shining a light on these places that provide so much to our communities."
A list of locations where the beer will be available will be posted to the 3 Sheeps website by next week.
In the meantime, expect another announcement soon as 3 Sheeps’ Sales Manager Jordan Aberman says that the second installment, in partnership with two different breweries, is already in process.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.