How the Beer Community Is Stepping Up to Help Milwaukee’s Godfather of Craft Beer

The beer community is helping one of its own on Wednesday night.

Out of respect for its guest of honor on Wednesday (Jan. 22), Champps Americana (1240 S. Moorland Rd.) should consider a strict policy not allowing any large groups, pub crawls or buses. That’s been one of the longstanding rules of Romans’ Pub, and, considering Wednesday night is a benefit for the legendary bar’s owner Mike Romans, it seems fitting.

The big event at Champps starts at 5 p.m. and features a few extremely rare kegs, some great auction items and a raffle. Romans was recently diagnosed with cancer, and proceeds will help with some of the medical costs incurred during treatment.

Some of the highlights include Toppling Goliath Mostra 6th Anniversary Stout and Mornin’ Delight Imperial Stout, Lakefront Black Friday Barrel-Aged Stout, a few Goose Island Bourbon County Stout variants and more rarities that are being added up until the event.

“Put business practices aside, we are all human first and I have always pushed to help as many people as I can across a very diverse spectrum,” said Champps owner Tony Lewanovich. “Mike is a great bar owner, yes, but he has become a friend over the past few years and it is our obligation to one another to help in any way possible when we are in need. The beer community as a whole, whether you like, love or are indifferent to Mike, owe the original craft beer bar owners a debt of gratitude. They took the leap well before many of us even knew what the potential of craft beer even was.”

A Craft Beer Pioneer

ROMANS’ PUB HAS been in business for more than 40 years, and Romans has always been a staple behind the bar. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of spending quality time on a barstool while he’s bartending knows how entertaining Romans’ mix of booming voice and exuberant opinion sharing can be. It’s not always for everyone, but Romans’ personality is a big part of the draw to his Bay View bar. The other is obviously his well-curated selection of craft beer. Romans has earned the moniker of Milwaukee’s Godfather of Craft Beer simply because he was pouring it when other local taps were dominated by the likes of Miller High Life and Pabst.

“Mike Romans got the idea that the city that was famous for its best-selling macros might be willing to pay a little more for a bigger bodied, richer, more complex beer,” explained local beer guru Tom “Grynder” Ciula. “There wasn’t much going on in Milwaukee as far as craft beer, so Mike sought out and became friends with the up-and-coming regional and national craft breweries. He has great stories of meetings with the founders of Goose lsland, Three Floyds, Bells and many more. He got kegs of their special beers to his Milwaukee pub and became so respected in the regional craft beer community, that the highest rated breweries from all over the country were looking to get their kegs into Romans’ Pub.”

Event Details

Mike Romans Benefit

Location: Champps Americana (1240 Moorland Rd.)
Time: 5 p.m.
What to Expect: Some extremely rare beers, and a who’s who of brewers and beer industry types showing their support. Get there early.



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.