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Last autumn, Verona-based Wisconsin Brewing Company installed the five-barrel Lake Louie Brewing – The DockHaus brewery to make its Lake Louie beers in the Baird Wealth Management Club at Wisconsin Brewing Company Park, home to the Lake Country DockHounds pro baseball team, in Oconomowoc.
Although the system was ready at the start of the 2023, it will host an official grand opening at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 14. The public is welcome and admission is free.
The DockHounds play in the American Association of Professional Baseball, an official Partner League of Major League Baseball.
The DockHaus was the first of a trio of breweries opening this year in Wisconsin ballparks, including the J. Leinenkugel’s Barrel Yard, opening April 3 at American Family Field and another due to open in June in Hudson.
When I visited in November, brewmaster Kirby Nelson was putting the final touches on the system.
“We have had it installed and have been working on it and trying a few things,” says WBC President Paul Verdu. “But we have flushed through all typical brewering start up issues and have a great brewing schedule planned in conjunction with the ball club’s promotional schedule etc.
“We wanted to make sure everything was as good as possible before a big unveiling. “
The brewhouse will be used mostly as an innovation brewery, says Verdu, to experiment with beers that will be served in the taproom at the huge (and expanding) Verona brewery and, potentially, into the broader retail market.
“The trial runs have been fantastic, and we cannot wait to unveil this gem to Wisconsin beer lovers,” says Verdu. “We are so proud to be partners with the Lake Country DockHounds and the ability to bring Lake Louie Brewing directly into the middle of Lake Country is a huge opportunity to grow the brand.”
The WBC brew team is working on a beer – aged with baseball bats! – to serve at the DockHounds’ home opener weekend, and plans a lime gose to coincide with June’s Margaritaville weekend promotion.
WBC is also partnering with Milwaukee’s Central Standard Craft Distillery on a barrel-aged series brewed on-site.
The ballpark brewhouse also has an on-site taproom that will be available on non-game days for events of all kinds.
“The combination of our new brewery, the amazing chefs from Butter than the Rest Catering that operate the on-site kitchen, the location right off I-94 and the flexibility of the space itself, make this the premier event venue in all of Lake Country,” says Verdu.
At the grand opening event there will be beer samples, light appetizers, brewery tours, beer for sale, a ribbon cutting, a keg tapping at 6 p.m. and live music by Bella Cain Unplugged at 8 p.m.
“We are honored to showcase The DockHaus at Wisconsin Brewing Company Park, with our valued partner Lake Louie Brewing,” said DockHounds Managing Partner Sonny Bando in a release. “Seeing their vision come to life has been extremely rewarding.
“For the Lake Country community to have the opportunity to enjoy a freshly crafted beverage while watching a DockHounds game, completely elevates the fan experience on game days and will be a game-changer throughout the year.”
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.