Pilot Project Milwaukee set to open next Friday

The main bar at Pilot Project Brewing.

Last updated on November 14th, 2022 at 02:27 pm

Chicago-based Pilot Project Brewing is on track to open its new Milwaukee location next Friday. The brewery incubator acquired both the old Milwaukee Brewing Company facility at 1128 N. 9th St. and the Bottlehouse 42 restaurant in September. They’ve combined the restaurant and brewery into one large space.

Bottlehouse 42 is now the home of Gemma Foods, a Chicago-based fresh pasta company. During a media tour of the new space Friday, Dan Abel, co-founder and CEO of Pilot Project, shared how the renovated 9th Street space reflects the company’s mission.

“The design and the purpose of the space is to feel like your living room but also effortlessly flow into a proper beer hall,” said Abel. “A really important piece about our space is that because we’re going to be incubating different brands, the décor shouldn’t feel loud. Earth tones, palms, sand – all that stuff allows other branding to come out.”

All Pilot Project bartenders are cicerones, meaning they’re certified beer servers able to share their knowledge with guests.

A barrel room will serve rare, barrel-aged products. True to its name, the room will have barrels stacked up around the space – what Abel dubbed a “barrel cathedral.”

Pilot Project also has its own “wild room.” While it won’t be open next week, once the wild room does open, it will house highly fermented beverages such as kombucha. The contained space will prevent cross-contamination with other beers being brewed in the facility.

Pilot Project brewed its first official batch of beer this week, a hazy IPA from Chicago-based Brewer’s Kitchen.

As for Gemma Foods offerings, a wide array of salty and savory treats will be offered. Menu items include deviled eggs, short ribs, beef tartare toast, mussels, cheese curds – made with hush puppy batter and polenta – and fried fish with cucumber. There will also be several other Milwaukee and Chicago classics.

Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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