By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 14, 2023 at 11:56 AM

Last week, Milwaukee’s Hacienda Beer Company took the top award at the seventh annual Wisconsin IPA Fest, hosted by Third Space Brewing in the Menomonee Valley.

Hacienda, located on Milwaukee’s East Side, won with Back to the Flow, a 7.4 percent ABV hazy India Pale Ale brewed with Mosaic, Motueka, and a newer New Zealand hop called Nectaron.

The top beer was selected by a panel of professional judges and fellow Wisconsin brewers in a blind tasting the day before the Aug. 5 event.

Riverwest's Amorphic Beer took home the People’s Choice Award, voted on by IPA Fest attendees.

I caught up with Hacienda’s Director of Brewing Operations Scott Krebsbach to ask about the winning beer.

OnMilwaukee: Tell us about the flavor profile of Back to the Flow.

Scott Krebsbach: With all of our hazys, the goal is to feature the hops. So we use high-quality, light pilsner malt, (and) some flaked wheat and oats to help our hazy and add a little body to the beer. The hop combination gives us a great berry, mango, stone fruit and tropical lime notes.

How long has Hacienda been brewing it?

This was only the second time we brewed this beer. We loved it so much the first time that we knew we had to make it for the IPA Fest. We did use a different yeast for this second batch that really helped pull out those hop flavors.

Where does it fit into Hacienda's over-all range of IPAs?

This beer is right in our wheelhouse. We certainly took inspiration from some of our more popular brands, and then added a few small twists to make it stand out from the crowd.

How did it feel to win?

There are few things more satisfying than being recognized by your peers. We are lucky to have a lot of good breweries in Wisconsin, and we are truly honored to be in this industry.

You'll now get to make the collab brew for next IPA Fest. Any dream recipes you might try to bring to the table?

The recipe part of a collaboration is always the easy part. You just need to agree on a basic style and then pick a new grain, hop or yeast you want to feature or build the recipe around.

The part we most look forward to is the actual brew day and learning some of the new processes, procedures and tricks of the trade. Third Space is one of the best breweries in the state, so we are very excited to work with them.

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.