It’s nice having Flux Design as a neighbor. For Gathering Place Brewing Company (811 E. Vienna Ave.), it means a stylish taproom complete with a metal archway entry and ample wood accents, including an amazing wood mosaic back wall, courtesy of Flux.
Of course, all of that cool stuff doesn’t matter much if the beer pouring from the taps isn’t any good. Thankfully for the new brewery—which opened on August 19—the beer does indeed measure up.
The menu has been steadily growing since Gathering Place opened and now features a dozen beers that represent an impressive range of styles. One highlight is the Porte des Morte Belgian Tripel made with Door County cherries. The tasty beer is just sweet enough and has a nice smooth finish that hides its potent 8.7% ABV. (Note: I’m serious when I say “hides.” The beer is incredibly easy to drink, so be very careful if you decide to have a few.) For hopheads, the recently released Friendly Debate Blonde IPA is worth a try. It has a nice juicy flavor with a hint of bitterness.
Owner Joe Yeado, an award-winning homebrewer, hardly seems devoted to popular styles, and that lends to creativity and variety. Selections on the current menu include myriad options like a hefeweizen, Bavarian farmhouse ale, dark rye lager and a German-American IPA.
“Our focus is on crafting unique beers that reflect our unique community,” explained Yeado. “That means exploring styles often overlooked by American brewers and Wisconsin brewers. Our Priere Belgian Single is a great example. It’s a beer style many people in Milwaukee aren’t familiar with, but they try it and like it. It’s one of our best sellers. The world has plenty of good amber ales. We want to play on the fringe of the style guidelines and put interesting beer in front of our customers.”
Yeado knows his way around the brew room, but he made a savvy business decision by hiring a head brewer with serious chops. Corey Blodgett, a native of Waterford, came to Gathering Place from Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland, Oregon.
“We work really hard to make the best possible beer and we’re thrilled that people have responded so positively to what we’re doing,” said Yeado. “We opened a little more than eight weeks ago and we’ve seen people come back four, five and six times and bring new people with them. That’s the best compliment. We just started selling kegs to bars and restaurants about a week ago and we’ve already delivered kegs to 12 accounts around Milwaukee. It was a surreal feeling to walk into a bar last weekend and order my own beer.”