A new brewery with a unique twist is up and running in Oak Creek, and although you can find its beers on tap in a few locations, the small-scale operation doesn’t yet have a permanent home.
Brewmaster Nathaniel Fakler is working to change that.
What Faklandia Brewery – launched in July 2016 – does have is a unique concept.
"We are an interactive storybook brewery," says Fakler. "I am writing a fantasy story that all of the beers are places, people or things in Faklandia."
He knows it’s a different approach and to help him keep his feet on the ground and make the brewery work, Faklandia says, "I have the most valuable business partner, Ben Mantay. He's always wanted to open a brewery and decided to come along on my journey. I wouldn't be anywhere without him and his business expertise."
Fakler says he and Mantay are looking across the county for a spot for the brewery, and have already scouted out locations in West Allis, Bay View and other spots in Milwaukee.
"The first beer we did was Palladius American Pale Ale and that was some of the most fun I've ever had," says Fakler. The beer is still on tap at Boosters in South Milwaukee and The Brass Tap in Greenfield.
"We brew strangely familiar beer and what that means is all of our beers are twists on favorite styles and fun variations to make works of liquid art."
Fakler says the business started in his basement as a means for spending time with his dad, James.
"He had just recently starting home brewing and tried to convince me for months to start brewing with him and I just saw a big mess," Fakler says. "He finally talked me into helping him and from that moment on I wanted more. I wanted to try beers and make fun jazzed-up versions of them.
"I love experimenting and improving."
Fakler worked in a hotel kitchen in California and, later, took part in the Barley to Barrel program at The Crafter Space.
"I wanted to do this program more than anything so I did the interview and went through the selection process and was chosen to be in Alpha Class," he says. "Over 10 weeks I was educated on the intricacies of opening a brewery and even got to brew our own beer. I was on team Milwaukee Ale House and brewed Hanal Pixan, a mole porter. We ended up taking the title for taste and branding."
During the program, Fakler says he met John DeGroote and Matt Witterschein of New Baron's Brewing Cooperative, who helped him amp up his skills.
(PHOTO: Courtesy of Fakler Brewery)
"These two guys were responsible for me taking the plunge. I became a member of their brewery and had helped on a few brew days. They had their annual home brew contest in 2017 and 2018 and I won both years in a row. My dad took first place in the non-member category, as well. The prize was to brew on their system and put a beer to market."
When the brewery finds a home, Fakler says he expects to open a six-barrel system and will offer tours. Stay tuned for updates on this new local craft brewer.
In the meantime you can follow Faklandia on Facebook.
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 an episode of TV's "Party of Five," 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.