Milwaukee's newest brewery, Torzala Brewing, is soon set to open in the the Lincoln Warehouse building at 2018 S. 1st St. in the city's Bay View neighborhood. Owners Jeff and Tricia Torzala plan to open their 49-seat taproom on June 18. The couple wants to bring a more traditional taste back to the Milwaukee brewing scene.
[caption id="attachment_549608" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tricia and Jeff Torzala[/caption]
Jeff Torzala has had a passion for classic beer since childhood. His father worked at Miller Brewing Company, which first sparked his interest. In the late '90s, he started homebrewing for the first time, a hobby he would continue for over 20 years.
“I knew this was what I wanted to do someday, so up to this point in my life, I would study and take classes when I could. Not just on brewing but business in general,” Torzala said.
To help hone his brewing skills, Torzala also went through the Barley to Barrel incubator program. It takes participants through every aspect of starting a brewery over 10 weeks. After joining an alumni group on Facebook made up of past Barley to Barrel participants, Torzala learned of the opportunity to move into the space in the Lincoln Warehouse. The space is ideal for the couple to expand their operations from just home brewing, he said.
“It’s going from kind of that home brew scale to the first step of commercial brewing. (The space) has a nano system. With a nano brewery, it’s a one-barrel brewhouse so it’s almost like you’re half in,” Torzala said.
[caption id="attachment_549618" align="alignleft" width="300"] From left are Jake Palubicki, Jeff Torzala and Brian Michalak.[/caption]
When it comes to making the space their own, the Torzalas are decorating the taproom to have a “south side of Milwaukee” vibe. That includes tie-ins to classic Milwaukee breweries, hand-crafted furniture created with wood gathered from their arborist neighbor, and several “earthy yet grounded” gathering spaces. Torzala's lifelong friend Brian Michalak created the Torzala Brewing logo while his brother-in-law Jake Palubicki, helped the couple rebuild the space into their own.
As for beer offerings, Torzala plans to stick to what he knows. He recalls while growing up, breweries focused on more light, American beers. Brewing is now in a heavy experimentation stage, producing styles like hazy IPAs and sours. Not being a fan of these modern beers, Torzala plans to stick to classic styles like lagers and pale ales. In the future, some food offerings that can be quickly heated up will also be served in house.
“A lot of the styles I like, craft brewers just aren’t making those anymore,” he said. “A lot of beers on the shelves today I’m not gravitating toward.”