By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 06, 2020 at 8:20 AM

Milwaukee’s maestro of merch, its scene-making svengali, its rock and roll ringmaster, Fred Gillich – the man behind Too Much Metal and 414 Milwaukee – is launching his first beer and it begs the question, what took so long?

The idea seems so perfect, for Gillich, who is Brew City to the bone.
Because lager is life, his new 414 beer, brewed by Vernacular Brewing at MobCraft in Walker’s Point – launched a year ago by Mike Brenner, formerly of Brenner Brewing – is a premium-style lager, brewed with German Heirloom barley malt, Mittlefrüh hops and a German lager yeast strain.

With a cool 5.1 percent ABV, 414 is definitely the kind of crisp, sparkling, not overly alcohol-heavy brew folks are craving these days.

"Beer is such a good social lubricant bringing all kinds of people together," says Gillich. "Whether it’s to watch the big game, see a show or make new friends, 414 beer is for all Milwaukeeans — it’s 414 everyone."

After a private tasting event – "for the rest of the press, bar owners. taste makers and restaurateurs," says Gillich – 414 lager will be available in cans and on tap at Ray’s Wine and Spirits and Growler Gallery and, then, at local bars and restaurants.

"414 beer is brewed under exclusive license in Milwaukee by Milwaukeeans," Gillich says.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.