If you're a beer fanatic and regular visitor to Stubby's Pub and Grub, 2060 N Humboldt Ave., you might be tempted to sample every beer that flows through the bar and restaurant's 53 tap lines.
And you wouldn't be alone.
To that end, Stubby's created "Stub Club."
"The main inspiration was to have a way for our regular guests to be able to track which beers they have had," says owner Brad Todd. "The 53 lines are kept very well rounded in terms of diversity and style, there has got to be something else in the line up that will stimulate their taste buds. Within any week, there are at least five new beers that hit the tap tower.
"For example, Spotted Cow -- great beer -- but when someone walks into the bar and asks the bartender for a Spotted Cow without even looking at the list, I want to be able to show this person that there are other great beers out there."
For a one-time $20 membership fee, Stub Club members get an ID card that tracks their purchases. When they've tried 53 beers, they get a $53 gift card. After downing another 53, they get another card.
Lots of places have "mug clubs," it's true. But what sets Stubby's apart is that it just might be the first that has its own iPhone app.
Club members log in and can see a "live" list of the beers currently on tap at Stubby's, check their list of "conquered beers," access the bar and grill's Twitter feed and check events, too. Clicking on the beers in the app links to the beers' Beer Advocate reviews and profiles.
Todd says the idea for the app came from talking to a regular customer at a sister venue, Rustico Pizzeria in the Third Ward.
"Months ago, I was talking with Brian Van Grunsven, one of our regular costumers at Rustico, who works in an IT office next door," recalls Todd.
"I told about my mug club idea, which was a bit different than simply hanging mugs on the wall for regulars to use when they are there. I want to use the club not only to reward regulars, but to encourage people to expand their beer horizons and try a bit of everything. That's when (Brian) mentioned to me that he thought he would be able to develop and app for that."
The result is this initial version of the app, which is currently only available for iPhone and open only to club members, though Todd says Droid and Blackberry versions are in the works and that plans are to expand access.
He also says that the launch version is just the start and users can expect to see changes.
"Now that the skeleton for the app has been developed, the possibilities are endless on what we can do with it," he muses. "We've been welcoming feedback to users and we already have plans to release an update in the near future. In the new version, non-members will be able to access the live beer list.
"The update will also allow members to view each others ratings and see member favorites. With the new version, we are also going to work in alerts, so we can notify members every time we tap a new beer. "
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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.