By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 24, 2021 at 10:04 AM

In what has become a familiar scene at Third Space Brewing, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave., in the Menomonee Valley, the brewery got two more tanks delivered this month.

The new 90-barrel fermentation tanks boost Third Space’s capacity to 18,000 barrels per year, up from 15,000.

Before its third birthday in 2019, the brewery had already expanded three times.

Third Space has also hired another veteran brewer, Nate Bahr, who has worked at Lakefront, Bavarian Bierhaus and Foxtown.

According to co-founder Andy Gehl, the new capacity will help the brewery meet demand for popular brews like Happy Place Midwest Pale Ale, while creating capacity for its new year-round hazy IPA called Heavenly Haze.

This, despite fears that idle Brewers and Bucks venues might hit Happy Place hard. In fact, beer brewed for the stadium and Fiserv Forum were sold at a discount by the brewery when both venues barred fans from games and canceled concerts and other events.

Despite this potential setback, Third Space added a new brew kettle in 2020.

And despite a massive decline in draught beer sales due to bar and restaurant closures and limitations – including at the brewery’s own popular taproom – Third Space boosted sales 23 percent over 2019, selling 10,695 barrels of beer.

According to Gehl, the growth came in part through expanding its retail footprint but also due to a pandemic boom in packaged beer sales at retail.

The expanded capacity means Third Space is eying further growth to its geographic sales territory.

"We always need some extra capacity in summer to meet that (stadium) demand," Gehl added.

Part of that plan surely includes Heavenly Haze, a 6.2% ABV and 20 IBU brew that will be sold in six packs of 12-ounce cans. It is the brewery’s first full-scale hazy IPA release.

It was launched in the taproom on Feb. 26 and is expected to arrive in cans at retail soon.

“We believe the package size, price point, and consistency of this year-round Hazy IPA will be attractive to consumers who love the style and are looking for a go-to Hazy IPA that delivers every time,” said Gehl.

“While we have been known for flavor-packed beers since our opening, we have taken our time in joining the ‘haze craze’ because we wanted to adapt the style in a way that meets our strict quality standards and overall brewing philosophy of flavorful and balanced,” added co-founder and brewmaster Kevin Wright.

“Heavenly Haze does exactly that, using three different CryoHops to create intense juicy fruit hop flavors but with a balance not always found in a hazy IPA.”

You can read a history of Third Space and its building in this Urban Spelunking story.

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 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.