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New Barons Brewing Cooperative

Milwaukee, WI


Crusin' Rating: C-

Booze Rating: D+


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- New Barns Coop- Inside the Tap Room

We are kicking off a mini series of articles of our first ever booze cruise entirely in one building, that’s right; four breweries and a distillery located in an old warehouse, the Lincoln Warehouse to be exact, in Milwaukee’s Bayview Neighborhood. The first of these stops has a one of a kind feature, and according to its website, the first of its kind in all of Wisconsin - New Barons Brewing Cooperative (New Barons). A unique and cool concept, New Barons opened in 2018 but only recently opened its taproom to customers in fall of 2020. With over 200 member-owners, New Barons was started by some like-minded home-brewers who decided to get together and go pro. Unfortunately, though, there wasn’t a ton of information we could find about the co-op itself outside of this article previewing the brewery coming to fruition after Enlightened Brewery moved to a new location. What we can glean is that the head brewmaster, John Degroote, has been homebrewing for over a decade and did some brewing in the space while it was still Enlightened Brewing.

The space itself, like many of the locations in the Lincoln Warehouse, is fairly small, fitting about 33 people seated - which wouldn’t leave a ton of extra room to move about. There’s an “L” shaped bar immediately when you walk in that seats 11, some 4-seater high-top tables split between the lower space and the slightly lofted production space. There’s a glass garage door that makes up the front wall of the space that rolls up in the summer when it’s nice out and a unique mural of a raccoon that dominates the wall opposite the bar. The vibe reminded me of a friendly, local bar even though there were only non alcoholic beverages and beers being poured. No food other than bagged chips - a trend that we thought someone should take advantage of in the Lincoln Warehouse. No food means dogs are allowed! With Barlow still in puppy class and learning his manners, we opted to let him spend time with his Newfoundland cousin, Ziggy.

One unique thing is the space shares a hallway, where the bathrooms are located, with the distillery - Twisted Path - next door and we were told by the bartender that you can get cocktails and carry them into the brewery. I’m not sure though if you can do the inverse and carry beer into the distillery. Either way, that’s something we haven’t seen before and I’m sure would be appreciated by those non-beer drinkers out there!

We opted for our standard single flight here since we had a lot of reviewing ahead of us!

Hopped by Ziggy (7.0% ABV) - We snagged this one solely because it included the aforementioned Newfoundland’s namesake but you can read all about the story behind this beer on the New Baron’s blog. This juicy IPA poured a patina gold, we picked up plenty of peach, mango, and some musky guava. This beer had an understated hoppiness, maybe even a little too understated. Don’t tell Mr. Tin Fox - our IPA Expert - but we didn’t think this IPA was balanced with enough hop presence to curb the style and ended up tasting fully of tangerine and apricot with no hop qualities to curb the sweetness of the fruit juice. This one was just “Okay”

All Work, No Play (6.0 % ABV) - A name that evokes what many of us feel after a long week, this West Coast IPA poured warm bronze with medium clarity. Primarily grassy and floral when smelling. As it should, this beer had a strong, hoppy bite with plenty of earthy spruce coming through. If you’re a big fan of hops, and the Hopped by Ziggy isn’t quite doing it for you, then this is your beer. For us, we fall a little bit in between the two extremes.

Witches Bit (4.5% ABV) - This Belgian Witbier had medium clarity and golden color. This witbier had faint smells of herbal breadiness and green banana but I expected there to be a lot more citrusy-ness and even some spices for this style. This carried over into the flavor department that while there was a slightly honey, grainy sweetness I didn’t find much in the way of either citrus or other spices. A serviceable wheat if not necessarily a great example of this particular style.

Loud as Helles (5.0% ABV) - This Helles Lager poured gold with high clarity. With a malty aroma that bordered on sweet, both Hannah and I actually found a little acidity up front when tasting this beer mixed into the usual graininess. It was a tartness that didn’t quite make it all the way to sour, but definitely had us scratching our heads. As one of my favorite styles, I was definitely hoping for well rounded flavor that included some forward malt, some sweet and a nice, gentle-dry finish. There was really no room for acidity in this style. Skip this one.

New Barons takes its namesake from the original beer barons that give Milwaukee in particular such a rich history that is so closely tied to beer. It’s definitely a cool - if a little vague - idea to have a bunch of member-owners in the community owning this spot, with some of them even lending a hand in brewing beer. To be honest though, we were hoping to find more information about this whole thing. Digging in, we weren’t able to find a ton of information on this whole beer Co-Op Idea. The member list is impressive and full of local businesses but I think this spot could really use some polishing on telling us “Why do a Co-Op?” The beers also left us looking for a little bit more, but we can chalk that up to them being fairly new. Or are they? I’m not sure if everyone has a hand in brewing the beer or if just the brewmaster? With so much experience under that belt, I would hope for slightly stronger offerings, but if members can come in to brew their own beer then that would put our review in a different light. Definitely a cool idea, but we left with some questions that don’t seem to have an easy answer.

Join us for the rest of this booze cruise taking place all in the Lincoln Warehouse.

Until then, keep on crusin’ don’t stop boozin’

To learn more about New Barons Brewing Cooperative please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @NewBaronsBrewingCoop or on Instagram: @NewBaronsBrewCoop

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