Milwaukee's been buzzing about since Horny Goat Brewing announced its arrival in spring, and chances are the six packs -- or their saucy slogans -- have caught your attention at liquor stores around town.
CEO Jim Sorenson has been pushing his Horny Goat Belgium, Expose and Hopped Up 'N Horny brews since launching in April, and has been hinting about the Horny Hideaway, his new brew pub in Walker's Point, housed in the former Pump House at 2011 S. 1st St.
Completely gutted and rehabbed in 2006 from its '30s-era industrial heritage by former owners Michael Murray and David Skwarek, the large, open-air concept building was all but move-in ready for the start-up brewery, which contracts with Stevens Point Brewery.
But thanks to the size of the space, Horny Goat Brewing has designated an area for in-house brewing where customers can see the large vats behind windows, a la Milwaukee Ale House. But for now, the Horny Hideaway seems to be focusing on crafting the perfect pub meal.
The menu is a full breadth of hearty appetizers, chili, soups, burgers, pizza, salads, panini, wraps, sandwiches and desserts. And the glory part? Horny Goat pairs each food item with at least one of its craft beers.
If you are a strict hop head and know before getting there that you're ordering a Hopped Up 'N Horny whether you're in the mood for a burger or a Greek pizza, then the pub's pairing guidelines will be ignored. But if you're a craft beer newcomer who was raised on Miller Lite, then consider it your guide to gastronomic satisfaction.
With a few exceptions, the fare here is nothing too far out of the ordinary; it's what you might expect nowadays from a brew pub in any part of the country. But that's not to say it doesn't have its own signature. Under the appetizers section you'll find loaded tots, a heaping pile of tater tots smothered in Hopped Up beer cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, olives, green onions, smoked bacon and sour cream. It's decadent, to say the least.
The Horny Goat beers are incorporated into other sauces as well. The "house" pizza, the Vixen Red BBQ pizza, comes coated in a thick layer of homemade BBQ sauce prepared with Vixen Red Lager and he Hopped Up 'N Horny is found in a vinaigrette dressing.
Music pumps through the speakers, but with plenty of seating both downstairs at the bar and on the mezzanine, it seems rare that the restaurant would get too loud. Still, it has a distinct good-times vibe not unlike the Wicked Hop. Other than the major structural details -- the intentionally leftover vestiges of its past life as a functioning pump house such as the exposed brick, duct work and steel beams -- the interior is vastly different from its days as the Pump House bar.
Gone are the small clusters of couches. In their place is a pool table, dart boards, electronic slot machines and flat screen TVs. Outside are two large patios, though the Horny Hideaway hasn't yet had the opportunity to take advantage of its unique location -- an out-of-the way river spot nestled comfortably along the bank with an abundance of outdoor seating and water views.
Come summer, the spot it poised to become an outdoor dining gem. Until then, however, the inside is comfortable and fun with food flowing until midnight.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”