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Brenner Brewing Co. bottled 400 cases of the Milwaukee Barons Pilsner on Thursday.

Brenner Brewing Co. bottles Milwaukee Barons Pilsner, Milwaukee soccer dreams

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The Milwaukee Barons may not have their own team yet, but they've got their own beer. And now, thanks to Brenner Brewing Co., they've got it in bottles and at places where you can drink it.

The independent soccer supporter's group, through its partnership with the Walker's Point brewery, completed its beer's first commercial bottling on Thursday. Brenner Brewing Co. produced and bottled 400 cases of the Milwaukee Barons Pilsner, plus an equivalent amount of the beer in kegs, to be distributed and sold at several local establishments around the city, including Nomad World Pub and Nehring's Family Market.

According to master brewer Mike Brenner, the Barons Pilsner is a typical German pilsner that's just a little bit hoppy. In fact, it is Brenner Brewing's regular German pilsner, repackaged with the Barons' label. He said the Glucklich Pils sells well, so he expects the Barons brew will also be popular.

"Even with all the excitement around craft beer, double IPAs, people here still really want to drink a light beer," said Brenner, who studied in Munich. "I want to offer people an American beer, brewed in Milwaukee, that represents our Germanic heritage and helps grow soccer in this city."

The Barons, essentially a well-organized and remarkably well-branded fan club, were founded more than a year ago to unite Wisconsin's fans and bring an upper-level professional outdoor organization to the state. Recently, they've publicly backed the Milwaukee Torrent, a new pro team that will begin its first season this spring in the fourth-tier National Professional Soccer League. The group has said it hopes to generate community interest in the sport, promote collaboration among different soccer factions and support any area squad that will help achieve its ultimate goal of attracting a major-league club.

"The whole point of the Barons is to unite the tribes," said Fred Gillich, owner of Too Much Metal for One Hand and one of the group's organizers. "We want to bring people together and open up a dialogue with cats who have the money to potentially invest in a team here." A longtime friend and project partner of Brenner whose favorite brew was the German pilsner, Gillich figured what better way to unite Milwaukeeans than through beer? Over the last six months, the two have turned the idea into a reality.

"Because we're so new, we can do whatever we want," Brenner said. "But also we don't have a lot of money," so making the Barons Pilsner out of a beer that was already being brewed was cost-effective.

Fred Gillich via Facebook

A few bars already had the soccer brew on draft, including Nomad and Bremen Café. But, since Brenner recently started using General Beverage for distribution – previously the brewery was doing that on its own – he's now able to get the bottled beer into The Highbury Pub, Riverwest Public House, The Winchester, Fink's and even the Vietnamese restaurant Hue.

He's understandably wary of getting too deeply entangled in the wrangling politics that pervade both the local soccer and beer-selling spheres. But Brenner, who grew up playing the game in Milwaukee Kickers and is 100 percent German, said he's eager to help a city of Miller Lite-drinkers enjoy a high-quality German light beer and also advance the Barons' cause of drawing a high-level professional soccer team here.

"It's exciting to be a part of it," Brenner said. "The politics, I try not to get involved. But I would love to sponsor something, sponsor a team.

And the Barons Pilsner?

"As soon as I have free kegs, we'll start again," Brenner said. "If it sells well, we'll consider it for six-packs."


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