By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 29, 2024 at 8:06 AM

It’s been five months since Milwaukee's Third Space Brewing announced that it will open a taproom and innovation brewery in a new development in Menomonee Falls.

Now, with construction and planning moving full speed ahead, owners Andy Gehl and Kevin Wright say the Third Space Innovation Brewhouse should be open by early June.

The patio, facing Appleton Avenue, is covered.
The patio, facing Appleton Avenue, is covered.

The facility is being built as part of a mixed-use development with 173 apartments on the southeast corner of Good Hope Road and Appleton Avenue. Third Space’s roughly 5,000-square-foot venue, designed by Three Sixty, will occupy a new structure designed by JLA Architects.

The site was home for the 35 years to the Trysting Place Pub, which closed in 2020 and was demolished soon after.

Third Space owners
Third Space owners Kevin Wright and Andy Gehl.

Though it’s called the Innovation Brewhouse, the new place will open first as a 112-seat taproom, with a restaurant coming online shortly after – “like weeks, not months, after,” says Wright – and a 10-barrel brewing system installed and operations a bit later.

“We really wanted to just focus,” says Gehl. “One thing we've learned over the years is when you try to do everything it once, you can't do everything well. So let's get this thing right. Let's get this open as a taproom and then a restaurant.

“The restaurant is a new thing for us. Let's knock that out of the park, then we can shift our focus to building up.”

The bar and pass window.

Inside the taproom, on the left side, there is a large bar that wraps around a corner, where there's a mural in shades of green that riffs on the brewery's logo.

There will be 16 tap lines.

Just around another corner are the restrooms, with beautiful tile.

Behind the bar is a kitchen with a pass that can either serve as a walk-up window for customers to order and pick up food. If Third Space opts for table service, the window will serve as a pass for servers.

restroom tile
Tile in the restrooms.

There’s also a walk-up space for ordering at the bar.

In addition to Third Space brews, new legislation going into effect May 1 allows the venue to stock a full-service bar with wine, mixed drinks and more.

Table seating is on the right when you walk in, in a space separated by a low wall.

Andy Gehl
Andy Gehl pointing out the future brewhouse space.

At the far, west end of the room is the area reserved for the future brewhouse, which is being built for the space.

Third Space will continue to run its five-barrel pilot system at its original brewery in the Menomonee Valley.

“We'll have a five-, a 10- and a 30- (barrel) now,” says Gehl, who says the Menomonee Falls system will likely brew beer that will be sold on-site, though some of it may be made available in the Valley, too.

dining area
Table seating area.

“This won't add to our distribution capacity. It may relieve some of the burden on the system there, but this is really going to be producing beer for this space. And hopefully we're busy enough here that we're flying through that.”

Wright adds that Third Space’s flagship brews will come over from St. Paul Avenue.

“Happy Place wouldn't be brewed here unless we were specifically going to try a new process or tweak something and we felt we needed more capacity than the five-barrel (pilot system),” Wright explains.

Some renderings of the project.

“Like if we want test a different hop blend or something, if we're getting raw material from a different place, and we want to test it on a larger scale.”

The brewhouse will have a number of lagering tanks to help facilitate brewing more lagers, which have come back into fashion among craft beer drinkers.

In addition, the bar will have a pair of Czech Lukr side pull beer taps perfect for pilsner pours.

The brewhouse will be easily visible to passersby on Appleton Avenue via a series of large windows.


There had been talk, Gehl says, of making the new venue just a taproom, but in the end he and Wright decided that making beer on-site is important.

“For us it's the authenticity of it,” he says. “We want this to be an innovation brewhouse. You don't want to just go to a place that just has our name on it. You want to be in a brewery, right?

"There are plenty of great bars and restaurants where you can enjoy Third Space beers. The goal of the Innovation Brewhouse is to give customers an immersive experience with the Third Space brand to help us sell more beer everywhere.”

Wright – who lives nearby and is eager to brew in the new place – says he expects Third Space will use the system once or twice a week. Initially, he says, he and other Third Space brewers will likely share the duties.

“We'll probably have rotation, but then depending on how things take off, I could see somebody permanently being scheduled here,” he says.


“Our staff is excited about the opportunity to come up here and work and do innovation beers,” adds Gehl. “That's what excites you as a brewer is trying new things, trying out recipes. It’s another chance to really flex that muscle.

“And we find we end up using our pilot system all the time now for more functional things, which takes away from our ability to truly make it an innovation system.”

The patio
Looking out at the patio.

Outside, Third Space has a 1,400-square foot covered patio with 75 seats that connects seamlessly to a common area with fire pits and a pergola-covered stage for performers. That space will be shared with the tenant of a neighboring retail space that’s also under construction.

There had initially been a restaurant tenant for that space, but the deal fell through and the developer is now seeking a new occupant.

Common space
The outdoor space, still under construction.

“We're hoping for a restaurant in there that complements what we're offering,” says Gehl, who says Third Space’s first foray into dining will include wraps, salads, sandwiches and appetizers.

“We've really been describing it as handhelds and shareables,” he adds. “You're coming here to drink beer, experience the Third Space brand, but if you want to get a bite to eat while you're here, we're going to have that for you.”

Gehl says that he expects this location to draw even more families than does the Menomonee Valley taproom.

“It's going to be more people coming out for happy hour and a quick bite or dinner with their family,” he predicts. “Eventually lunch. We won't be open for lunch at first on weekdays, but there are so many businesses around here, we can have that.”

The dining part has been a learning experience, Gehl admits, but Third Space has hired experienced restaurant manager and head chef, though he can’t yet name them as they’re working elsewhere.

“A lot of experience is going to help us navigate it,” he says. “(The chef) has well-rounded experience. He has worked in several places similar to this, with great food but more of a bar, but he’s also worked in some high-end kitchens, so he has a lot of classic skills that he's going to be able to bring.


“We're basically aiming for something not as elevated as a gastropub, but better than pub food. Really good food, but a limited menu that's simple.

“First and foremost, we're still a brewery focused on beer.”

Third Space expects to begin hiring staff for the new location in early May. Expect a grand opening event later in the summer.

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.