By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 25, 2023 at 12:03 PM

In spring, Gathering Place Brewing hired a new head brewer, Matt Cisz.

Now, after getting comfortable, Cisz – who had previously worked at Third Space – has released his first three new beers at the brewery, which has taprooms at its headquarters in Riverwest and in East Tosa.

Matt Cisz
Gathering Place Head Brewer Matt Cisz.

Interval Pineapple Wheat, Roadrunner Prickly Pear (and lime) Pils and Typhoonery Double IPA are available on tap and in 16-ounce four-packs, too.

I caught up with Cisz, to ask him about his new role, settling in and about these new brews.

OnMilwaukee: Have you gotten settled in your new gig? Was that pretty seamless?

The million dollar question! The short answer to those questions is yes and no. I am definitely feeling settled now and getting into a nice groove. I think anytime you change to a new company or a new role there is always a transition period where you are learning a new operation as quickly as you can and feel like you can't escape the quick sand.

When a new head brewer starts at a brewery it offers a fresh set of eyes on everything. With that comes equipment repairs, changing of brands, tearing things apart, SOPs, etc.

Has anything changed in the flagships?

We did make some changes to our core year-round offerings. Those four beers for this year will be Yeah, We Got Beaches (IPA), Arrivederci Roma (Italian Pils), Typhoonery (DIPA) and Interval (fruited wheat). Treffpunkt (Kolsch-style) which was a year round-beer is transitioning to a seasonal beer that will come out in the spring.

I think the bigger question you are asking is if I changed any of the recipes specifically. I made the most minor of tweaks, to make things more consistent from batch to batch.

Easiest example I can give you to explain this is dry hopping. Previously beers were dry hopped a flat amount, and I changed it to a percentage of the beer volume. If on one batch you yielded 14 beer barrels and the other you yielded 14.2 beer barrels, our old method would have dry hopped them the same amount, let's say 7 pounds.

We have transitioned to a method that takes the dry hop percentage rate, and calculate our poundage from there. In this example the 14 beer barrels would get dry hopped with 7 pounds and the 14.2 beer barrels would get dry hopped with 7.1 pounds.

cans and glassesX

Tell me a bit about each of the new beers.

One thing you will notice about the new beers is how they stray a bit from what you would come to expect from Gathering Place Brewing. We will always have a focus and heavy interest in traditional European styles and lagers, but one thing I told Joe I wanted to do was to create a few things that the consumers are seeking out in the market.

We also want to make a concerted effort to experiment with different ingredients, you will see some of those themes in the new beers.

Typhoonery is a double India pale ale with notes of pineapple, tropical fruits and berries. We brewed it with both oats and wheat to try to boost that body and mouthfeel. It is a pretty easy drinking 8 percent and is dry hopped with Idaho 7, Belma and Cascade hops from the PNW. This will be one of our new year round offerings along with Interval.

Interval Wheat is a really crushable and light beer. This isn't your traditional take on a German wheat beer which often times has notes of banana or clove depending on the yeast strain used.

This is definitely more of an American style beer brewed with clean chico yeast strain. What is kind of fun about this beer is we are going to rotate the fruit at times during the year. We started with pineapple and will probably switch to another fruit as we get closer to the end of the year.

The last beer that we have released is Roadrunner. This beer is pretty fun for a few different reasons. First off it has a beautiful bright pink color which I think the consumer is going to like. The beer also contains prickly pear which is an ingredient I have been wanting to use for quite some time.

Prickly pear is the fruit that you find on cactus most notably in the southwest and I find it has notes of watermelon but also an interesting earthy note that pairs well with the German hops used in the boil.

Are there more coming? Any hints as to when and what they might be?

There will always be more things coming down the line. I personally need that kind of exploration to keep things new and fresh. In terms of what they might be, there haven't been any specific recipes finalized yet, but you will see a continuation of a rotating lager series.

Roadrunner was the first one we have rolled out in that series. We will also have a rotating IPA series which will try to focus on using an array of different fun hops on the market.

Will they all be packaged?

Anything that we produce on the main system will be packaged into cans and draft. Beers that we produce on our pilot system will continue to be taproom-only releases on draft.

The main reason we are doing that is to allow us to trial some new recipes prior to scaling them to full production, and it gives people a nice reason to come visit the taprooms and see what we are working on.

Do you have some dream beers/styles/recipe you'd love to get to?

(Owner) Joe (Yeado) has really afforded me the luxury of having creative control over almost everything on the production side we are putting out, which is awesome.

I think every brewer dreams of conquering the German Pilsner, I am no different. They seem like such an easy beer to make on paper, but to make an incredible one is extremely challenging.

Take New Glarus for example, Brewmaster Dan Carey has been on a quest for years to make the perfect one, and they just released theirs in spring. It is a delight, by the way. pFriem Pilsner is still the unicorn to chase.

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.