*This is the one-hundred and thirty-first post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
1) How many different beers?
2 of their own on tap, plan is to stay at 6-8.
2) How long operational?
Since June 1, 2017.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Local homebrewer and antique collector teamed up to restore historic gas station.
Plan is only local restaurants.
5) What sets you apart?
Classic car theme.
6) How did you get your name?
Building originally was a City Service gas station.
The town of Darlington, some 2400 locals strong, sits at the confluence of Highways 81, 23 and the Pecatonica River about 2.5 hours from Milwaukee. By the time we rolled onto Main Street late Thursday night, we needed to pull into the first gas station we saw. Turns out, the old white-brick pit stop we parked at lacked the gas our car needed but was pumping the beer our bellies needed courtesy of City Service Brewing.
To call this coffe-shop-by-day, brewery-by-night “retro” would almost be a disservice; the building has been lovingly-restored and filled with authentic 1930s-50s decor. Some of the oil cans behind the bar still sit unopened from when FDR was president.
The bar itself is made from recycled air ducting from the original auto body shop on premises, as well as half a classic old car saved from the junk pile.
“We’re a car theme. Car crews, car people love it.” – Dick Tuescher, co-owner and brewer.
We tried the house brew and a few sodas outside of their custom piston-shaped flight holders.
Road Trip Mild English Bitter Ale
Perhaps the easiest- and smoothest-drinking beer I’ve ever had. Fresh bed of light hops lays out the most classic “beer” taste my memory could muster. I could drink it forever.
The bite I love in a Cream Soda, with friendly levels of cream taste. Sweet but not overly-so.
Think the unique taste of Barq’s, but without the same unsettling spiciness.
Both Dick and co-owner Ted Thuli have past connections to this building. Dick held up a photo showing his and Ted’s relatives hanging out as teenagers at this very gas station in the 1930s, and Ted once worked at City Service station while in high school. Small towns, eh?
Today, Dick’s converted a back space into his custom-engineered brewing system.
The old service bays now house Ted’s antique collection, worth a stroll through on its own.
As we commented on the drinkability of the beer, Dick told us,
“Darlington is full of light beer drinkers. But that’s good; low alcohol content means we can have a few beers and still enjoy the day.”
While the beer they’re brewing may lean light, City Service Brewing is heavy on the nostalgia. Make a pit stop for a fill up of your own.