City Lights Brewing opened its doors in February with a tap list of four basic brews—an amber, a brown ale, a session IPA and a standard IPA. Brewer Jimmy Gohsman has added a few more to the list since then, and created a popular taproom in the process.
City Lights Brewing Co. (2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.) celebrates its grand opening over Memorial Day weekend. Beginning Thursday, the taproom will have live music, promotions, special giveaways and, of course, good beer.
We asked Co-owner/brewer Jimmy Gohsman a few questions about what it’s like to be a part of Milwaukee’s brewery boom.
DM: How has the response been after opening?
JG: The response the first couple of months has been amazing. It’s pretty cool to see people in the taproom that we built drinking the beer that we brewed and having a great time, a bit surreal at times. People love the beer and they love the space that we created.
DM: Is there anything that you’ve been surprised by?
JG: I’ve been surprised by the passion our team has and the community we’ve built here. The production team is amazing and we learn from each other every day and we have a lot of fun; which helps us make great beer. The taproom staff are all certified Cicerone servers and could tell you as much about each beer as most of the brewers could. Everyone cares so much about the product and the experience in the taproom and that really sets the tone for the people that come here to enjoy our beer. It’s a happy place to be, and our customers can feel that when they walk through the door.
DM: Any new styles on the horizon?
JG: We have our four core beers, and we’ve added four more with a fifth that we tapped last weekend. Our first specialty beer was an Irish Red Ale, which is our number one seller in the taproom. After that we did a Lemongrass Wheat Ale, which is a delicious lighter spring/summer beer. We also have an American Pale Ale, a Coconut Porter, and our Double IPA, which we just tapped.
DM: Any brews that you’re especially happy with so far?
JG: Our American Pale Ale is a stunner. I used Mosaic and Ekuanot hops, with the majority of the hops used in the whirlpool and dry hopping. The late additions and heavy dry hopping give the beer a beautiful aroma and a hop forward flavor without being too bitter. There is a little bit of residual sweetness on the backend so it rounds everything out perfectly. At 5.3% ABV, it has a big hop flavor but is still quite sessionable.
DM: Milwaukee’s brewery community built up seemingly overnight. How has that been?
JG: The boom has been pretty cool to see. I think it’s something Milwaukee has been waiting for. It’s an awesome group of individuals to be around. We’re right down the road from Third Space. It’s a very cool group. Everyone’s helpful and willing to lend a hand.
Milwaukee Brewers slugger Eric Thames has already won Milwaukee sports fans over with his power at the plate. Next up, brewing a beer for fans. Thames and Brewers relievers Corey Knebel and Oliver Drake are headed to Miller Brewery to work with MillerCoors master brewers on a limited edition beer that will be available at Miller Park later this season.
Congrats to Black Husky Brewing (909 E. Locust Ave.) and MobCraft Brewery (505 S. 5th St.) for both earning Mayor’s Design Awards. The awards were handed out last Thursday at UWM’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning.