Four years ago, I navigated a crowd to get to the small bar at the newly opened Biloba Brewing Company, nestled in a cozy space on Pleasant Street in Brookfield. I sampled a tasty barrel-aged Smokin’ Gramma Wee Heavy and figured the family-run outfit was in good shape with Gordon Lane in charge of brewing.
In February 2017, the brewery moved around the corner into a space at 2970 N. Brookfield Road three times bigger. That’s where Biloba sits now, preparing for their fourth anniversary celebration on Saturday, April 28. So far, so good.
“We put together a business plan that we kept pretty much on track with over the past four years,” said Lane. “We planned from the start to be a community-based brewery and to put together a brewery that fit that model. I think we are amazed at the number of great people we’ve met and the great response we’ve had from the community. It was also amazing to see the friendships that have developed amongst our customer base. The city of Brookfield has been a great asset to us in getting to the point we are at.”
Biloba was ahead of the curve when it opened in 2014. Two years later, Milwaukee saw a brewery boom. By then, Biloba was an established spot in Brookfield. Lane’s ability to craft a wide range of styles — there are no shortages of barrel-aged beers, saisons or Belgian-influenced brews frequently on the menu — keeps the tap list interesting.
“[One of the best parts about running Biloba] is the flexibility we have in brewing to create everything from an 18% ABV barley wine to a delicate 3.5% Berliner Weiss beer and to see first-hand the expressions when someone tries out a new beer,” explained Lane.
The combination of a good beer list with the friendliness of the Lane family — matriarch Jean and daughters Kathryn and Kristen are essential parts of the Biloba organization — provides even more reason why the brewery has thrived for four years.
“It’s been great [running a brewery as a family],” added Lane. “We do challenge one another every now and then, but we all get along great. In the past two years all of our children have blessed us with grandsons, which has changed some of the dynamics, but we worked through them fine.”
To celebrate four years of brewing, Biloba is hosting a fourth anniversary party on Saturday, April 28, from 2 to 10 p.m. and tapping a slew of rarities. The brewer is partial to the lambic being tapped at 7 p.m.
“This is a straight lambic, with no fruit added, that is four years old and was fermented and aged in a Woodford Reserve barrel,” explained Lane.
Sounds just fine to me. Cheers, Biloba.
Biloba Brewing Co. (2970 N. Brookfield Rd.)
Saturday, April 28; 2 to 10 p.m.
Tappings and Pours (more TBA)
- 3 p.m. Bottle pours of the 18-month old Russian Imperial Stout
- 4 p.m. Smokin’ Gramma Sour
- 5 p.m. Apricot Berliner Weiss Firkin
- 6 p.m. Old John Barleycorn Barleywine Firkin
- 7 p.m. Biloba Four-year-old Lambic