By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 26, 2022 at 9:01 AM

I gotta be honest with you, when the weather gets like it’s been this week, I wanna make like a bear and hibernate.

But some folks, apparently, enjoy this mercury-tumbling madness, and some of them are at Third Space Brewing, which brings back its Ice Bear Fest on Saturday, Jan. 29. (A virtual version was held last year.)


The third in-person “‘80s après ski-themed party” takes place from noon until 5 p.m. at the brewery’s expansive taproom patio, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave. in the Menomonee Valley.

Ostensibly, the event is a launch party for the return of the seasonal Ice Bear Porter, but I suspect co-founder and co-owner Andy Gehl actually enjoys being frozen.

He says the event was inspired by his experience at a ski party he attended in St. Anton, Austria.

“The Austrians really know how to party in the snow after a day on the slopes,” Gehl says. “People dance on tables in their ski boots and sing along to crazy songs with fellow skiers who turn into instant friends after a couple après ski beers.”

The season porter’s name derives from a German après ski singalong tune that salutes the “Eisbär,” the “King on the Eternal Ice.”


‘80s ski gear is encouraged and there’s a 3:30 p.m. costume contest for the best dressed.

Matty's Food Truck will be on hand, and there will also be ‘80s music courtesy of a DJ, plus an outdoor bar, firepits (for the weak-hearted, I guess) and “shotskis,” 2-ounce pours of Ice Bear, which is 9.4 percent ABV.

The taproom will be open and you can reserve a Happy Dome for $25 for two hours.

“The goal of Ice Bear Fest is to bring people out of their winter hibernation for some fun in the snow with great beer, fun music, and a little silliness mixed in. It’s one of my favorite days of the whole year,” said Gehl.

Brewficionados will want to stop in because Third Space is going to tap some special barrel-aged beers, including some peat-bombed Ice Bear that rested in Laphroaig casks and both variants of the 13.5 percent ABV 2021 Stout State of Mind, an imperial stout that was aged in J. Henry Bourbon barrels.

Plus, while you're there you can check out the new Robot Butcher hazy double IPA (45 IBU, 7.8 percent ABV, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops) that releases Friday.

Admission to the fest is free, but there’s a $20 merch package that includes a color-changing mug, a pair of Ice Bear Fest tinted sunglasses and a fest-branded fanny pack. It also come with $1 off drafts.

Items from any packs that don’t sell out in advance will be available for purchase at the event at a higher price, so order early if you really want ‘em. Order packs here.

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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.