Good City Brewing Picked a Great Time for Innovation

Getting creative is one smart way for breweries to approach the pandemic. Taprooms aren’t as busy, creativity keeps patrons interested and – unlike the uncertainty in the world around it – a brewery offers some measure of control over what’s going on in its brew kettles.

Good City Brewing’s small-batch Indigo Series isn’t necessarily a product of the pandemic, but its timing seems ideal.

“I think we identified innovation as something we wanted to work on pre-COVID,” said Good City co-founder David Dupee. “The genesis of Indigo germinated before but ramped up during COVID. We’ve certainly experienced our backs against the wall and we’re doing whatever we can to survive. That means innovating.”

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Bringing the Haze

Mystic Shade IPA Can
Photo courtesy of Good City Brewing

The first offering in the Indigo Series was Eternal Dawn DDH Imperial IPA, a hazy brew released on Oct. 17. The response to Eternal Dawn, which saw all but a few cases sold over the first weekend of its arrival, exceeded the expectations of the brewery.

On Saturday (Oct. 31), Good City releases the second beer in the planned biweekly series, Mystic Shade New England IPA.

Throngs of New England IPA fans will be happy to know that a third beer planned for the series also resides on the hazy side. The style is wildly popular, yet slightly underrepresented locally. Eagle Park Brewing has built a following with an arsenal of delicious NEIPAs, and a few other locals make a smattering of them well, but they aren’t necessarily prevalent on brewery tap room menus.

“You’ll probably see a lot of hazies in the Indigo Series,” added Dupee. “We’ve always been about IPAs as a brewery, and the reality is that hazy is where the market is right now. And although hazy has been a hot trend for a few years now, we do think it still has significant runway, particularly locally. We’re excited to put our own spin on it, including the use of some brand new hop varieties.”

Innovation Brewing

Indigo beers are created at the brewery’s East Side location (2108 N. Farwell Ave.) under the guidance of Brendan Williamson, who was hired in August as Good City’s innovation brewer. Williamson has an impressive pedigree that includes stints at Hacienda Beer Co., 1840 Brewing and the outstanding Transient Artisan Ales, a small outpost in Bridgman, Michigan, that has earned a large following due to its well-crafted hazy IPAs, barrel-aged stouts and wild ales.

“It’s definitely a lot of fun. It’s been awesome to explore everyone’s tastes, ideas, critiques and help process and turn that into really exciting, fun, and highly quaffable beer,” said Williamson. “There are many awesome craft maltsters, hop growers, yeast labs, as well as new processes and techniques, that we are just scraping the surface of helping share with all of our patrons through these small batch libations.”

Added Dupee: “Brendan is having fun sourcing hops we haven’t played with before. He brings a wider perspective on things. He’s a very talented and creative brewer with a proven track record.”

Andy Jones, co-founder and brewmaster since Good City opened in 2016, left the company in March and now is a project manager at Quality Tank Solutions in Waukesha, according to his LinkedIn.   

What’s Next?

After the initial run of hazy creations, expect a Black Friday pastry stout, a fruited kettle sour or two and more IPAs. Good City intends on keeping the Indigo Series going throughout 2021.

“(During the pandemic) survival instincts kick in and you realize you’ve been taking things for granted before this,” explained Dupee. “With all of that uncertainty, we decided that we just wanted to have some fun.”

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Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 15 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for close to 25.