Last August, OnMilwaukee.com reported that the World Of Beer was taking over the former Detour space, 1300 E. Brady St., and the projected opening date was tentatively scheduled for January 2012. Seven months later, after much anticipation, the upscale beer bar finally opened on Monday.
This is the 31st World Of Beer to open in the United States, and the first franchise for Wisconsin. The first WOB opened in Tampa, Fla., in 2007 by friends Scott Zepp and Matt LaFon.
All of the locations have a spacious feel and signature look with exposed brick, black stools and massive beer coolers behind a large, shiny bar.
World Of Beer offers 40 different beers on tap which will rotate according to season and 500 different bottled beers including brew offerings from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States.
There are 33 Wisconsin-made beers representing local breweries such as Hinterland, Lakefront, Central Waters, Leinenkugel, Potosi, Furthermore, Milwaukee Brewing Company, Tyranena, St. Francis, Sprecher and Lake Louie.
Prices range from $5 for a Leinenkugel to $22 for an Apocalypse Cow from the Three Floyds Brewing Co. Mix-and-matched six-packs are also available for take out and buyers receive a 33 percent retail discount when purchasing bottles to go.
World of Beer is offering live music every night this week as part of its grand opening celebration, and starting next week, will offer live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Upcoming performances include Ethan Keller on Thursday, Aug. 16, Scott Berendt on Friday, Aug. 17 and Twintones on Saturday, Aug. 18.
"There's never a cover charge," says Dave Norris, general manager.
Food is available from Balzac, Hi-Hat, Apollo Cafe, Philly Way, Classic Slice Pizza, Jimmy John's and Bel Air Cantina. World of Beer has compiled copies of the restaurants' menus and customers call in their food requests. When ordering, customers report where they are sitting in the bar based on the World Of Beer's "zoning map" in the menu book and food is delivered to their table or bar stool.
"It's a unique system that works really well," says Norris.
Everyone on staff went through two months of training and Norris believes the knowledge of the employees really elevates the concept. Manager-on-duty Joan LaRosa, for example, is a graduate of the Cicerone Certification Program which provides rigorous coursework for beer professionals. She's also a member of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).
LaRosa, who says she discovered beer by accident while studying abroad and visiting Belgium, is able to maintain draft lines, detect problems in beer and is a food-and-beer pairing expert. She is also a homebrewer of beer, wine, mead and cider.
"I ferment. Yeast is the best," she says.
LaRosa enjoys introducing new beers to people, especially those folks who claim not to like beer. She also likes to get customers who always drink the same beer to be more adventuresome with their beer drinking. On a recent visit, she offered a sample of a chocolate stout to a Guinness drinker and an Abita dopplebock sample to another.
"There's really a beer for everyone," she says. "I especially like tricking people into trying something new. That's a lot of fun."
World of Beer plans to host Packers and college football parties this fall. The bar also has Service Industry Night on Mondays featuring $3 on select pints and a Yappy Hour on Tuesday for caregivers and their dogs. Dogs are allowed on WOB's patio at anytime, but on Tuesdays, they get a special treat and the owners can buy $3 dog-related pints from breweries like the Flying Dog Brewery.
Tuesdays are also Loyalty Card Nights, and anyone with a World Of Beer Loyalty Card gets 25 percent off any bottle of beer. A Loyalty Card can be bought at any time for $15 and card holders receive two pints of their choice upon purchase.
Wednesdays are University Night offering $3 select pints to college students and faculty; Thursdays are Ladies and Military Night with $3 on select pints; Fridays offer $3 Wisconsin-brewed pints during Happy Hour and Sundays feature $3 on pints selected by the manager.
World Of Beer also has a mixed-drafts menu. (Think mixed drinks, only with beer.) The Fruit Cocktail, which Norris says is the most popular, mixes Belgium White, hefeweizen and framboise. It's garnished with blueberries, lemon, lime and orange slices. Beer shots are available, too.
"We're really happy to be a part of Brady Street and to bring something different – as well as much business as possible – to the area," says Norris.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.