It’s hard not to be impressed by the wide range of styles that brewer Jack Borgardt crafts at the ripe old age of 25. The selection at Eagle Park Brewing includes IPAs, porters, saisons and the amazing Loop Station, a golden ale brewed with agave nectar, lime peel and sea salt. The brewery—founded by Borgardt, his brother Max and Jake Schinker—opened its cozy taproom on January 28.
How has the response been since opening?
The first six months have been crazy. The response to our beer and our taproom has been incredible. We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from our customers both in the taproom and our on premise accounts. We are very proud to have 10 beers on tap at all times with a one-barrel system, and I think people are pleasantly surprised by the amount of offerings we have. I think the biggest surprise is just how fast the past seven months have been.
When did you begin brewing?[My brother] Max and I started brewing four years ago at our parents’ house. They had the room to store the equipment and they have been super supportive of it. Max and I discovered craft beer together and it just seemed like a natural progression to brew our own beer. Our first beer was an India Brown Ale. From the first beer we were absolutely hooked.
You’re also a musician and a part of the talented band Eagle Trace. How do brewing and creating music compare?
Beer and music are very similar in that they are both art forms. We do our best work as musicians and as a brewery when we are inspired. Whether it is an awesome concert that we go to or a great meal that inspires a beer to pair with it. We have written songs in as little as 15 minutes on the other hand some take months even years before a riff or a melody can properly be finished. It is the same with a great beer recipe. I have brewed recipes for years before I was happy with them and others I got right the first time around.
What styles can we expect from Eagle Park?
I am a pretty big hophead; however, I don’t think we are going to focus in on any particular style. Being a one-barrel brewery, we love the ability to constantly experiment with new hops and flavors. Being creative with trying new styles/techniques is definitely the highlight of being a brewer. We just brewed our first kettle sour and doing all the research about kettle sours has been a lot of fun. Part of that research involves drinking a fair amount of them, so that is a definite plus.
What are future plans for the brewery?
We are trying to focus on our outside distribution. We are planning to have cans of Set List IPA and Loop Station by late fall. Our facility in the Lincoln Warehouse has definitely reached its capacity. Our current brewery was always planned to be a first step into the industry. We just didn’t think we would have outgrown our space four months in. So we are currently planning our next step, which will most likely be a new space with a larger brewery and taproom. We want a space where we can have a lot of live music and support the local music scene.
Is all of the brewing done in the Lincoln Warehouse?
We currently brew all of our specialty and seasonal beers in the Lincoln Warehouse. Set List IPA and Loop Station are brewed at Octopi Brewing in Waunakee. Brewing at Octopi has allowed us to get our beer out to the market, which on our current system we can’t do. We will also start canning there this fall.
What do you think about Milwaukee’s recent craft beer growth?
We say the more the merrier. What’s most exciting is how well the people of Milwaukee have embraced the new breweries. People now spend their weekends going from brewery to brewery and it’s really cool to see. Every brewery is supportive of one another and always help out if anyone needs anything. Milwaukee Craft Brewery Week in early August was a testament to that.