By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 20, 2023 at 2:03 PM

Back to school season is upon us. Back to Lake Louie Beer School, that is!

Wisconsin Brewing Brewmaster Kirby Nelson – a craft pioneer who was brewing at Capital Brewery in 1987! – will lead two classes (“classes” makes it sound way less fun that it will be) at Lake Louie’s brewery, The DockHaus, July 25 and Aug. 10.

Beer ClassesX

The DockHaus is located at the Lake Country DockHounds baseball stadium, Wisconsin Brewing Company Park, in Oconomowoc.

The classes start at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $25. The cost includes hands-on experience in the brewery, a welcome beer and samples.

As the loquacious and light-hearted Nelson himself tells me, “after 40-plus years, (I’ve) had countless experiences is the world of beer brewing. And I love sharing my stories and knowledge. An evening of beer school with me will cover history, raw materials, brewing process, fermentation, beer styles, and any other topic having to do with beer.

“Attendees will be given generous samples of various styles to sip on as they listen in rapt awe learning the breadth of this fascinating liquid.”

The classes, each of which will be different, so collect them all, will discuss beer history, the brewing process, raw materials, beer styles and more.

Sign up for the classes here.

The Beer School is part of Wisconsin Brewing’s efforts to make the most of its new five-barrel ballyard brewhouse, which opened earlier this year.

“We are slowly trying to build our space at the ballpark into a taproom type setting on non-game days and during the off-season,” says President Paul Verdu. “Part of that is to do these Beer Schools.

“We’re trying to keep craft beer culture vibrant and interesting and Kirby is just the person to help do that.

Nelson has been brewmaster at Wisconsin Brewing Company, which owns Lake Louie, since 2012.

In related news, Verdu says that among the new brews at Lake Louie is a new Mamacita Raspberry Key Lime Sour brewed by the Pink Boots team. 

"The latest thing in tank is a Sunflower Seed Pilsner as part of my involvement with MoveUrkaine," he adds. "It’s a Ukraine-, England-, U.S.-based charity focused on rebuilding homes for the millions of displaced Ukrainians. 

"Something near and dear to my heart as the father of three adopted kids from the region."

Verdu says that the style is a new one, even for the uber-experienced Nelson.

"Kirby never brewed with sunflower seeds, (and) the aroma during boil was insanely nice. Like that smell you get at the fair when walking by the cart selling roasted nuts."

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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.