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Brew City Review: Crowdsourced Craft

Individuals who review Milwaukee beer and bars are as endless as the drinks and locations themselves. This ongoing series does not seek to be a definitive source or commentary on the local brewing culture. The goal is not to publish expert reviews or give crowd-sourced ratings. The intention is to offer a valuable perspective from a local couple who enjoy the brewing community and can translate the experience for veterans and first-timers alike. The beer industry itself is an evolving art form and these reports offer a snapshot of this moment of the beverage’s place in Milwaukee.

MobCraft started with three college students getting input from friends and family to decide the next beer they would brew. They now have their own 14,000 square-foot brewing facility and taproom to share the fun of crowdsourcing, with a crowd.

Located at the corner of 5th Street and West Virginia Avenue in Walker’s Point, the irst completely crowdsourced brewery in the world has opened a taproom, and hopes to have their Milwaukee operations up and running soon. They continue to brew in Madison at House of Brews.

Through the company’s website, people can submit a recipe or idea for a beer. Recipes are posted online and the public can vote for their favorite idea. When voting, customers are actually pre-ordering bottles of that particular beer. If that beer does not win, they are not charged, or there is the option to purchase the winning recipe. As the process of federal approval and brewing takes months, orders are taken until the bottling is complete. At that time folks can pick up their purchase at the brewery or have it shipped via local distribution.

As expected from that business model, the styles of brew do vary. The beers can be summed up as adventurous, and it’s unlikely that anything similar can be found brewed around town. Visitors should come with an open minded palette. Otherwise, even the less adventurous should be able to find something in one of the many guest brewery taps.

The styles range from a grapefruit wheat, to a barrel aged sour, to the helles bock brewed with ginger.

Our favorites were the less crazy, but still different brews. The Malt Shoppe Suds was a 7.5% milk stout brewed with a distinct taste of salted caramel and chocolate. Definitely a treat. The Rhubarb IPA is brewed with Wisconsin grown rhubarb and imparts a light, fresh flavor with just a hint of fruitiness dancing between the taste of hops. A nice summer drinker coming in at 6% AVB (Alcohol By Volume). Finally, the Batsh!t Crazy is a fine take on a coffee beer. Brewed as a brown ale, it uses milk sugar and plenty of coffee. It imparts an earthy, roasty coffee aroma, with a smooth mouth feel without being too heavy.

Make sure to visit often because new beers, both from the crowdsourcing and the brewers themselves, come out every month.

The former warehouse has been remodeled, black I-beams, grey textured walls, and cement floor keep the industrial feel alive. The trendy garage doors wrap around the corner of the building to the very wide sidewalk with several wooden picnic tables. Inside, there are doggie dishes available for those with furry friends.

When seated at the long bar, visitors can see a reclaimed wooden look on the top and square beam slices stacked end to end for the base, with USB plugs available every few feet. The bar-side of the space has additional picnic tables for seating but there’s also a lot of room for mingling and moving around. A large chalk board has the 25 taps listed, with house and guest taps available. Beer can be ordered in 5, 10 or 16 oz. sizes, prices follow each listing. Be sure to ask to see the printed menu, which will provide more details about each tap and flight options. In addition to growlers, they also have a cooler full of can and bottles for purchase.

The adjacent area has a group of eclectic, comfy, over-stuffed chairs and couches around tables. For additional fun, there are pingpong and foosball tables, as well as a bags game. From that perspective there is a full view of the general brewing space, as well as a special enclosed room set aside for their sour barreling.

The height of the ceilings makes enjoying a quiet night at MobCraft a challenge, but when the doors are open the sound evens out and it becomes quite pleasant.

Visitors could spend an entire weekend in the MobCraft neighborhood, with multiple restaurants, cheese and custard sampling, a variety of adult beverage options, and the nearby Harley-Davidson Museum.

www.mobcraftbeer.com

Overall style: Adventurous

Flights: Yes: $11 – $14 per flight

Take Away: Growlers, limited bottles and cans

Food: No, take in or delivery

Additional Libations: Pepsi

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Best Place to Sit: Over-sized chairs

Pet Friendly: Yes

Child Friendly: Yes

Getting There: CAR: Street parking at meters; BUS: Green & Blue Lines, 15, 19, 23 and 80; BIKE: 2nd Street has bike lanes, no official bike racks; BUBBLR: 6th Street & West Virginia.

About The Author

Hops & Malt

Hops & Malt are the pseudonyms of a husband and wife who have spent most of their lives in Milwaukee, and enjoy sharing what they love about the people and culture. Their interest focuses on the industry that created the Brew City nickname and the current renaissance of local breweries.

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