By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 02, 2020 at 11:31 AM

Mike Doble of The Explorium Brewpub is inviting fellow Milwaukee-area brewers to collaborate with him and Wisconsin distilleries on what he’s calling the HOPE Project.

“Here's One for the Pandemic Ending, or HOPE Project, is an all-inclusive craft beer and craft spirit industry collaboration to celebrate the end of the global pandemic that we all know as COVID,” he wrote in an email.

On Jan. 5, The Explorium Brewpub Third Ward, 143 W. Saint Paul Ave., will close to the public to brew a “big stout suitable for barrel aging” and will team with the distillers, who will provide the barrels for the aging.

Doble is recruiting other Milwaukee breweries to join in the making of the stout to be aged in Wisconsin distillers’ barrels, too.

“The beer recipe will be distributed two weeks before brew day,” he wrote, adding, “this beer will be gluten removed and lactose free with a high ABV suitable for barrel aging.

“The Explorium will be closed for that day so all can join in with plenty of socially distanced space. About a month later, we'll fill spirit barrels from as many distilleries as want to participate. Beer will be aged in the cellar at The Explorium Brewpub Third Ward.”

Then, the beer will rest in the barrels, picking up flavors from the wood and the previous occupants of the cask, until it can be tapped to celebrate the end of the pandemic.

“When it is apparent that the end of this mess is near, we'll pull the beer from the barrels, blend it into several varieties depending on participation and flavor profiles, and put it in kegs for the participating breweries to serve on a mutually agreed HOPE Day and time,” Doble wrote.

On what he’s calling HOPE Day, Doble will help brewers and distillers get together to swing open their doors and serve the results to their patrons.

“The idea is to build compelling teams of breweries and distilleries to get as many people out as possible to enjoy our creation and celebrate by lifting a glass and toast: Here's One for the Pandemic Ending!”

While he’s just begun reaching out to breweries, Doble said he’s already spoken to most of the distilleries, who have expressed interest in participating. Among them are Great Lakes, Central Standard, Twisted Path, Dancing Goat, State Line, Yahara Bay, J. Henry and LaCrosse.

Stay tuned for more details on this collaboration as they develop.

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.