In Bars & Clubs

Amber Jewel is among Stock House Brewing's new releases at its friendly neighborhood tap room.

Zum Wohl! Stock House Brewing Co. is now open in East Tosa

It's been a winding road paved with both anticipation and delays; but East Tosa officially has its very own neighborhood brewery. Stock House Brewing Co. – named for the stock houses where breweries stored their beer during the fermentation process – opened today at 4 p.m. at 7208 W. North Ave.

Behind the new brewery is home brewer and industry veteran Mark Mahoney and Paul Hepp, owner of Fun Beer Tours, a business which provides tours, scavenger hunts and numerous activities that facilitate appreciation for Milwaukee and its beer-brewing history and culture.

Walking into the brewery, customers' eyes will most likely be drawn first to the colorful mural painted on the west wall. It depicts a map of East Tosa, homes reminiscent of those in the surrounding neighborhood and a message: "Meet new beer and old friends." Painted by local artist Fred Kaems, the artwork embodies the mission and intention of Stock House: to be East Tosa's neighborhood brewery.

That theme can be found woven throughout the tap room, including on tables throughout the space, each of which displays logos from area neighborhoods on their wooden tops.

And gathering together is the name of the game at Stock House, where Mahoney and Hepp hope to foster a sense of community. To promote that, guests will find two flat screen televisions at the bar and a projection screen toward the back of the brewery. All will be used to broadcast baseball, basketball and football games for guests' viewing enjoyment. "If the game's on TV, we'll be showing it," notes Mahoney, adding that he really hopes to be a neighborhood gathering place where folks can come to watch the game and grab a few beers.

That sense of neighborliness is also reflected in the brewery's "Pay it Forward Beer Board," a fixture behind the bar that encourages customers to buy their neighbors a beer.

"Maybe Bob was nice enough to shovel your walk ... you can buy him a beer," Mahoney says. "We'll put his name on the board and the next time he's in, he can drink that beer. We want it to be the sort of thing where people should check the board first thing when they come in."

To start things off right, Tosa Insurance has already purchased the first 20 beers for Stock House guests.

On tap

Speaking of beer, the choices on tap at Stock House will include brews made by Mahoney, as well as investors Shane Grulke, a brewer who also grows hops on his farm in Oconomowoc (all of which are used in Stock House brews), and Jason Pinkowski, a home brewer and graduate of the Barley to Barrel program.

All are brewed on Stock House's (tiny!) 1 ½ barrel system, which is located just past the bar. Six fermenters, located in the basement of the building, will store that beer until it's ready for consumption.

Mahoney says the goal will be to have at least four beers on tap at any given moment. Currently, he says, they have four extremely easy drinkers.

  • Yard Sale (4.7%) is a mash up of a variety of "extra ingredients," notes Mahoney. The resulting beer is unapologetically untraditional, but akin to a German wheat wine, complete with a bubbly character.
  • Amalthea (4.5%) is a traditional cream ale brewed by Grulke featuring his hops and Wisconsin-grown sweet corn.
  • Amber Jewel (4.4%) is an amber ale brewed by Pinkowski and named for a song written by his friend Janeen Martin, a woman who encouraged Pinkowski to shoot for his dreams and pursue his talents in the brewing industry. Martin passed away in 2006, so the beer is an homage to her memory.
  • SMaSH the Teapot (3.7%) is a traditional smash beer (single malt, single hop) made with Vienna malt from Proximity Malt in Walker's Point and locally grown Columbus hops. The name pays homage to a phrase from the 1800s that described someone who has "fallen off the wagon" in terms of drinking. Mahoney says it's also an apt phrase for the East Tosa brewery, which is officially bringing craft beer drinking back to the area.

Mahoney says the brewery will also feature a guest tap or two. Right now, they are featuring Juice Packets IPA from Fermentorium in Cedarburg (another brewery slated to open a second location in East Tosa).

As for beers in the works, Mahoney says that by the end of this week, Stock House will be adding their first IPA to the menu, and by Thanksgiving there will also be an 11% stout.

Fun Beer Tours HQ

Stock House will also serve as the official headquarters for Fun Beer Tours, a passion project Hepp launched three years ago to share his love for history and Milwaukee's brewing heritage.

"I think people are really curious about Milwaukee beer history," says Hepp, "And they don't necessarily take the time on their own to explore it. I'm a history guy, and I really love to pay homage to the historical component of our brewing history."

In addition to Fun Beer Tours current slate of activities, Hepp will also host a Stock House brewery tour. The working name of the tour "From Inspiration to Consumption" will offer an inside look into how the small brewery operation works, as well as insights into the historical context of breweries – both in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.

Visitors to the brewery can also take a peek at the Beer + History Gallery Hepp has pulled together toward the back of the space It which features mixed media prints by Wauwatosa artist, Jenny Kyle Smith, a Pabst sign created by local artist Britt Musial and a Milwaukee Beer Trail piece created by local craftsman Craig Lindow. There's also a collection of prints from the late 1800s depicting historic breweries including Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz, Miller, Falk and Gettelman.

Visitors can also explore the "World's Smallest Beer Museum" showcasing a collection of Milwaukee beer artifacts including beer bottles, steins and random pieces, including a silver tray bequeathed to John Loew, a longtime driver for Blatz Brewing, who Hepp says drove from 1912 to 1950 without a single accident.

"This place is the product of a lot of long nights and a winding road of connections. But everyone involved in this project has really put in time to make this happen. We've had such a great reception already from the neighborhood, that it's on us now. In the end, we want to be their neighborhood brewery... an adult Disneyland for beer lovers."

Mahoney says they are hoping to launch the Stock House beer garden – located just behind the brewery – in time for St. Patrick's Day.

The Stock House Brewing tap room is open Monday through Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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