How a Vacation Led to 1840 Brewing’s Latest Collaboration

Kyle Vetter snagged a rather large souvenir after a weekend trip to the Door County Beer Festival in June 2019.

When the founder of 1840 Brewing Company and his wife loaded up their pickup for the drive home to Milwaukee, their cargo included a 330-gallon liquid tote filled with wort from a weekend brewing collaboration with Hacienda Brewing Company.

Upon arrival in Milwaukee, Vetter immediately transferred the creation into large Pineau des Charentes and Cabernet Sauvignon barrels where it developed until bottling it in October 2020. The result is Parking Lot Party, a complex Saison that melds tart and funky dry flavor with mild grape fruitiness and a touch of spirit barrel character. Bottles of the beer are being released this weekend. Presale is Friday (Feb. 12) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bottle pickup is at 1840 Brewing (342 E. Ward St.) from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“We got invited to Door County Beer Festival last summer, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to make a weekend of it,” said Vetter. “It was super fun. We called the beer Parking Lot Party because the Hacienda parking lot was where we hung out for most of the weekend drinking beers, making beers, and hanging with friends.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Vetter.
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Old School Ingredients

An interesting addition was made during the initial stages of the brewing process. A bale or two of hay was added directly to the mash tun. Hay has a place in brewing history and was used as a way to filter out spent grain from the liquid wort.

“We thought we’d do something different and rustic,” added Vetter. “The conversation turned to hay and we threw it right in the mash tun. It’s a fun, rustic technique and we were curious to see if we would pull any flavor from the hay. We didn’t notice a ton of flavor from it, but either way it was a fun project. We also used toasted buckwheat, which (gave the wort) a really nice creamy kind of wheat flavor before fermentation.”

Hauling Precious Cargo

Once the wort was created, Vetter couldn’t waste any time getting back to 1840 Brewing so that he could add yeast, barrel the wort and begin the fermentation process. That made the three-hour trip from Bailey’s Harbor slightly stressful.

“It was nerve wracking,” explained Vetter. “We needed to get the wort straight back and into barrels. It’s a long period of time to not have yeast in there but we made it safe and sound.”

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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.