By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 14, 2023 at 8:02 AM

Lake Louie Brewing Company kicks off the first in a planned Collaboration Series at its Oconomowoc pilot brewery on Tuesday when it taps Crimson Crush Cranberry Saison, brewed in partnership with Warrens, Wisconsin-based Wetherby Cranberry Co.

The beer was brewed by Lake Louie Brewmaster Kirby Nelson and Wetherby Co-Owner Mike Gnewikow on the pilot system at WBC Park in Oconomowoc. The tapping takes place in the taproom adjacent to the brewhouse at 5 p.m.


Madison folks can taste it the first day at the Lake Louie taproom in Verona and via select retailers in the Madison and Lake Country areas.

The beer is not being packaged for to-go sales.

“I was operating a tractor and don’t answer the phone out there,” says Gnewikow. “Then I got word that someone from Lake Louie Brewing was trying to reach me, I pulled over and immediately took the call. I happen to love homebrewing and beer overall so to say I was excited to talk about a collaboration is an understatement.”

Nelson and Head Brewer Luke Foth spent a day at farm during harvest and made a plan for the beer.

Mike and Kirby
Mike Gnewikow and Kirby Nelson at the farm.

“I was amazed by the beauty of the cranberry fields and marshes, and I was in awe of the operation that Mike and his family run up there in Warrens,” said Nelson.

“I’ve been all over the state most of my life, but this was my first visit to a cranberry farm.  It won’t be my last.”  

Back at the brewery, they brewed two batches of a traditional Belgian farmhouse ale using freshly crushed cranberries from the 2023 harvest. The resulting crimson colored brew, with 6 percent ABV, is bubbly, slightly dry and tart, according to Lake Louie President Paul Verdu.

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.