When more than 200,000 people come to your city of 50,000 for golf, you ignore that at your own peril.
And that’s exactly what’s happening in Sheboygan over the next 14 days as the Ryder Cup gets ready to tee off next week at Whistling Straits, just north of town. The international tournament is from Sept. 21-26, but throngs of fans, media and support staff are expected throughout the city and region as early as this weekend.
And 3 Sheeps Brewing is going to be ready with the beer. It’s staffing up during the entire run of the Ryder Cup and getting in the links spirit with three golf-themed beers. Golf.com will be set up on site as well, with live broadcasts from the taproom, golf simulators and pitching greens.
Grant Pauly, who opened 3 Sheeps in 2012, says hotels are booked weekend to weekend, and he doesn’t expect most people to be at Whistling Straits every day. “There’s going to be a quarter-million people in town, and they’re going to want to get some good experiences, try some craft beer, eat some food,” he said. “Hopefully all the bars and restaurants in Sheboygan get a good jolt.”
Pauly is planning on essentially five days in a row of taproom activity on par with 3 Sheeps’ blowout anniversary party. “We probably won’t hit that, but we want everyone available, all of our production crew – all hands on deck,” he said. “If the days aren’t as busy, there’s always work to do in the brewery.”
Safety with such crowds is a high priority, and Pauly noted the brewery’s high ceilings, upgraded ventilation system and garage doors that will be open to the outdoors. There’ll be a tap trailer serving the outdoor beer garden and a couple of large tents. “It should be a really comfortable place for people to just feel as normal as we can in these times,” Pauly said.
What’s the strategy for building a beer menu does a brewery offer a swollen market of wealthy, jet-setting golf fans?
“I’ve stopped trying to pigeonhole a group of people into one style,” Pauly said. “Craft beer fans come in every variety, so we just want to have a little variety of stuff here for them. We’re going to showcase a little of everything on draft.” That means lagers, easy drinkers like Oktoberfest, some IPAs, a fruit smoothie beer or two as well as a few barrel aged beers, including pumpkin spice version of Veneration Belgian quad – not to mention the brewery’s own Cloudless seltzer line. “We should have something for just about anyone who likes beer, or even people who don’t like beer.”
For the golf-themed beers, which drop this Friday, 3 Sheeps leaned into what it does best: hops and barrels. Each beer will be available on draft and to takeaway in four-packs of 16-ounce cans only from the taproom. Each of the three labels align with the others to create a kind of triptych scene evocative of Whistling Straits itself. They are:
Scramble: This milkshake IPA (that is, made with vanilla and milk sugar) is brewed with boysenberry, lime and Cashmere hops. Pauly likes how the tartness of the fruit cleanses the palate on every sip, holding the beer back from the cloying sweetness that milkshake IPAs can suffer from. And the juicy Cashmere hops hold the tartness in check.
Up and Down: 3 Sheeps has become one of many local masters of the hazy IPA, and this one utilizes Moutere, Zappa and Citra hops. While the latter is a staple of the modern IPA, the other two are more featured: the New Zealand-grown Moutere brings tropical fruity notes like grapefruit and passionfruit with a little spicy undernote, while Zappa has a nearly Fruity Pebbles type character accented by mint and spice.
Three Putt: It may not be a prototypical golf course beer, but who wouldn’t want to drink an imperial stout brewed with pecans, small-batch cocoa nibs and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels in just about any occasion? The cocoa sourced from Ghana imparts an intensely fudgy chocolate character, Pauly reports.