Baseball-themed brewery to open in Third Ward

Broken Bat Brewery to open in basement of 231 E. Buffalo St. building

Dan McElwee, left, and Tim Pauly.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:23 pm

It’s been almost five years in the making, but the owners of a new, baseball-themed brewery and tap room under construction on Buffalo Street in the Historic Third Ward aren’t quite done yet.

Tim Pauly and Dan McElwee, two childhood friends who grew up in the Milwaukee area, are the owners of Broken Bat Brewery, a small, “nanobrewery” currently being built in about 2,400 square feet of space in the basement of 231 E. Buffalo St.

Dan McElwee, left, and Tim Pauly.
Dan McElwee, left, and Tim Pauly.

The pair have been working toward opening a brewpub since coming up with the idea on a fishing trip in March 2012, but after more than four years of perfecting recipes, finding space, securing financing and drawing up plans, they still have a few tasks left to complete before they can begin serving customers in time for game one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ first home series against the Chicago Cubs on April 7.

Pauly and McElwee started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $8,500 for a final piece of brewing equipment, called a glycol chilling system, last week. They plan to install their fermentation tanks in February, and they’re currently in the midst of renovating what will soon become their tap room on Buffalo Street.

Once its finished, the tap room will likely fit in with the aesthetic of nearby Third Ward bars, such as Bugsy’s Back Alley Speakeasy or the Milwaukee Ale House.

“We’re really hoping to have more of an old-school, 1920s baseball feel,” Pauly said. “There’s lots of exposed brick and stone in our tap room. It’s going to have a real 1920s, golden-age-of-baseball feel.”

McElwee has been home-brewing batches of beer for almost a decade. His specialties are a potent Double IPA, a dried-apricot infused IPA and a tart cherry ale, all of which will be on tap when the brewery opens in the spring, along with at least two more brews.

“I’m a die-hard Brewer’s fan born and raised here in Milwaukee,” Pauly said. “I certainly love my Packers and Bucks, but baseball just runs through my blood. Dan and I have been friends for 25 years. So we blended the two passions together. I just blurted (Broken Bat Brewery) out one night and both of us looked at each other and said ‘we could build a brand off that.'”

brokenbatbrewery-beertap-2016-12-21-contributedAlmost a dozen craft breweries have opened in the Milwaukee area in the past year alone, including Urban Harvest Brewing Company, 1024 South 5th St., Third Space Brewing, 1505 W St. Paul Ave.; Good City Brewing, 2108 N. Farwell Ave.; MobCraft, 505 S. 5th St.; and The Explorium Brewpub at Southridge Mall. And those come in addition to several other more established brands and local favorites such as Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee Brewing Co., Sprecher Brewing Co., and Brenner Brewing Co.

And more are on the way, including The Gathering Place Brewing Company, which plans to open in spring 2017, and City Lights Brewing Company, which plans to open sometime next year at 2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave in the Menomonee Valley.

But Pauly and McElwee said they still see still room in the local brewing scene to carve out a niche with a unique brand, and that opening another brewery will only help Milwaukee’s national craft beer reputation.

“We’ve actually looked at it as, if we can help Milwaukee become more nationally recognized for its craft scene, we’re just excited to be a part of that,” Pauly said. “We’re just excited to carve out our little niche. We’re hoping to attract a (customer base) that might be just getting into craft beer, a little bit more casual. We’re not going to have any of the over-the-top wild stuff right off the bat.”

The Broken Bat Brewery Kickstarter campaign for a $8,500 glycol chilling system, which keeps beer at a specific temperature during fermentation, raised around $5,000 in its first seven days and will remain open through Jan. 12, 2017.

The Milwaukee Brewers will open their 2017 season at Miller Park with a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies starting April 3. The home series against the Cubs, beginning April 7, will be the Brewers’ second home series of the season.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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