The time is almost ripe for the opening of Good City Brewing, Milwaukee’s first East Side urban brewery and the second of eight breweries slated to open in the coming months.
Good City Brewing has announced that it will open its taproom, at 2108 N. Farwell Ave., to the public beginning on Friday, June 17.
And, from what we’ve seen, it should be a good one.
The space, which was designed by Rinka Chung Architecture, sports exposed cream city brick and industrial elements along with an open feel. Half-walls separate production from the taproom, giving visitors a view (and a whiff) of the brewing process.
The taproom, which will seat about 130, will feature an L-shaped bar with a 16 tap capacity. The plan is to feature core beers as well as some experimental, barreled and seasonal brews, along with special releases that will be available in the taproom only.
On the north side of the bar, visitors will find a combination of tables and bar stools, as well as a lounge style area near the entry. Meanwhile, garage doors along the front of the building can be opened to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the brewery.
Every aspect of the design is meant to incite conversation and collegiality.
"We’re making an intentional decision not to have televisions," says Dupee. "We want the place to be social, to promote conversation."
A private dining area on the southern end of the brewery will provide seating for 30 to 40, along with a projector and screen which can be used for corporate events and "maybe select sporting events," Dupee adds. The space will also be used for beer dinners moving forward.
A concise menu, which will accommodate both those looking for a full meal and others looking for a snack to enjoy with their beer, is inspired by the offerings at other taprooms like Surly in Minneapolis, the Wicked Weed in Nashville and Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Mich.
"It’s all things we like, things that resonate with us," says Dupee. "And it will be reasonably priced."
Behind every great brewery are great people. And in the case of Good City that includes brewmaster Andy Jones, formerly of Lakefront Brewery; real estate developer Dan Katt; and attorney and founder of Craft Fund, David Dupee.
Dupee, a Cincinnati native, met Katt while he was attending law school at Marquette University.
"When I graduated in 2009, I was looking at jobs in D.C.," he notes. "But, to make a long story short, after a serendipitous conversation with Dan and his wife Christine, we decided to put down roots and stay. And from that point, we committed to living in Milwaukee."
The year turned out to be pivotal. Jones, an Illinois native, made the decision that same year to leave Goose Island Brewing and relocate to Milwaukee with his wife, whose family resides in Franklin. He took a position at Lakefront Brewery, where he later met Katt who was working on a project with the brewery.
Fast forward to 2015, and fate found the three associates in Portland, Ore., at the Craft Brewers Conference.
"We just hit it off," recalls Dupee. "Dan and I both lived on the East side, and really saw a gap in the market in terms of craft beer, craft beer bars in the area. We always talked about starting something, but the brewing component was always the missing piece in our plan. Fortunately, that was a role Andy could fill."
By late summer, plans were in tow. A lease was secured on the old Crank Daddy’s space on Farwell, and from there things moved quickly.
"My focus is on drinkability," notes Jones as we chat about the character of the beer he’ll brew. "When I go about looking at recipes, I don’t like to over-complicate things. I don’t really do kitchen sink-type beers where we just throw things in. I’m very particular about both quality and consistency."
And, despite an overall love for hops, Jones says he’s focused on bringing out more of a dry, West Coast style, rather than the bitterness often found in hoppy brews.
"We’re all pretty fond of hops, so some of our initial beers will be pretty hoppy, but we’re going for smooth and not bitter," he says. "And because we’ll be serving food, we also will have an eye toward food-friendly beers that don’t overpower what people are eating."
As for the tap selection folks will find when they visit, Jones says there will be a variety.
"We’ll probably start with seven, rounding out our offerings with nine beers including an IPA, a double IPA, Pale Ale, Pale Lager, Imperial Stout, Porter, Pilsner, British session and American Session."
Make it a Good City
As the partners thought about names for the brewery, they found themselves consistently drawn to the idea of making Milwaukee better.
"All three of us love Milwaukee and have a passion for the city, so the name was sort of representative of ‘The Good Land,’" notes Dupee.
He said they also kept returning to a key phrase that had come up in conversation: "Seek the good," and, in the end, that became the essence of the brand.
"The idea is to brew great beer that gives people another reason to fall in love, put down roots hare and make our city better," says Dupee. "We really view beer as a link between status quo and Milwaukee’s future. We really loved the idea that our tasting room could become a place where people could sit, have conversations and hatch new ideas – just as we did – over a few pints of beer."
Beginning June 17, anticipated hours for Good City Brewing will be Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. (kitchen) with the taproom remaining open until midnight; Thursday and Friday from noon to midnight and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Want a sneak peek at the beer? Good City will pour IPA and Mosaic Pale Ale at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp at Veterans Park on June 11.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.