*This is the one-hundred and forty-first post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*
1) How many different beers?
5 available by the glass, 8 for purchase in bottle. Total 16 produced.
2) How long operational?
Since August 2017.
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
The owner was originally a brewer in Colorado, he realized Milwaukee was an under served market for new styles of beer.
Bottles for purchase at the brewery once per month.
5) What sets you apart?
Different beers sold in a different way.
6) How did you get your name?
“1840 was the first year a commercial brewery started in the City of Milwaukee”.
Named to honor the year that the first commercial brewery opened in Milwaukee, 1840 Brewing Company, hidden on the north end of quirky Bay View, would simultaneously be recognizable and foreign to those 19th century residents.
We found the taproom filled to the brim on a bitterly cold December Saturday morning, with lines curling around the space and nearly out the door. 1840 Brewing is currently only open to the public 1 Saturday a month (with 3 other days for VIP supporters), and the pent up demand is evident.
What’s familiar for any beer drinker of the last few hundred years: community drinking. As Kyle Vetter, owner and brewer, told us,
“Like wine, our products take so long to make that we feel they should be enjoyed with friends. All of our beers are only available in 500 or 750ml bottles.”
We tried all 5 they had available by glass the day of our visit:
The Cashmere Sweater IPA
Bottled 2 days ago, and it shows: fresh grapefruit explosion, with hints of red licorice and malted milk. Inviting and satisfying.
Sumerian Origin Cabernet Sauvignon Sour Ale
Tangy, sickly-sweet. Obvious sour saltiness in a lasting, woody Cab Sav dryness.
Little Daisies Saison
Light-bodied, with only the most hidden sour tinge. An all-dayer when cold, but the white grape comes out once it starts warming in your glass.
A unique, lip-smacky mouthfeel. Reminds me of a very dry Cream Ale. A bit cereal-grainy. Settles the stomach.
Neon Knights Imperial Porter
Bourbon on bourbon, but light on the burn. Dark chocolate, tart cherry, heavy cream.
The difference in this brewery lies in the styles Kyle and his wife are brewing, and aging, in this small warehouse.
“Most of our beers are fermented in used wine or spirits barrels… Most of the beers that we produce take between 3 months – 3 years to make.”
“Our goal in starting 1840 in Milwaukee was to bring new styles of beer to an old market and show Milwaukee what they had been missing.”
That’s part of the reason for this Colorado couple to choose Bay View: “a supportive community” that is full of people open to trying new and bold flavors of a classic Milwaukee product.
1840 Brewing Company seems eager to join the brewing heritage Milwaukee was built upon, but through their uniquely aged and bottled beers, they hope to turn our city’s traditional palates upside down. Grab a bottle with friends if you can make it on their next opening: February 10th.