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Ope! Brewing Company

West Allis, Wisconsin

 

Crusin’ Rating: C

Booze Rating: C+

 

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Ope! Brewing Company

What’s more Wisconsin than an “Ope!” when you’ve had a slight mix-up or are trying to scooch past someone real quick once?


That’s the name of this week’s brewery that we are checking out in West Allis, Wisconsin.  Ope! Brewing Company has been open since only May of 2022.  A fairly large operation, Ope! Brewing Co. - with it’s wide open concept, large space, and family-friendly atmosphere reminded me of 3 Sheeps in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. With seating for at least 120 inside and a large stage for live music, it was apparent that Ope! Brewing Company is hoping for large crowds rain or shine.  We saw evidence of that when we had to wait to snag a table on a Friday night!  While it was a winter’s night in late December when we visited, we did peep a bit of the outside area which looks equally designed for a large crowd.  


The outdoor space sports multiple sand volleyball courts, an outdoor serving bar, space for food trucks, and fire pits along with plenty of seating by the looks of the stacked chairs.  While it may not quite be to the level of Cocoon Brewing Company, it was definitely impressive to see a lot of space dedicated to outdoor activities at a brewery.  Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot of green that’s going to be seen, I would still put it up there with one of the largest city-brewery playgrounds that we’ve come across.  


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Ope! Brewing Company

Did I mention that this is a Frenchie-friendly space?  We even ran into a slobbery-perpetually happy English Bulldog, who would’ve gotten along with Barlow perfectly.


What surprised us a little about this space was the varied and mixed crowd - agewise - that we weren’t sure on account of the blues band playing that evening on the raised stage, or if it’s a spot that is always drawing in imbibers of all ages.  We saw some couples in their sixties jamming and dancing in front of the stage,  young families with small kids, college-aged kids, and just about everyone in between.  To me that says that Ope! Is drawing in just about everyone from the neighborhood and casting a wide net to entertain all ages.  It’s not something we see all the time, believe it or not.  


Not to sound too old, but Ope! Is a spot abuzz with activity, busy, and quite loud.  If you’re looking for a quiet beer, you might want to look elsewhere between dogs and kids and bands.  If you’re into a spot that is just as loud as any music venue with plenty of conversation, then this is your spot.


Ope! Features some pre-packaged snacks but did have a food truck onsite for sustenance, and I believe they will even get a couple different trucks on warmer nights by the sounds of it.  Sporting 20 beers on tap, soda, and even some N/A beer options - the cocktail crowd is going to have to look elsewhere for their chosen juice.  There are a ton of lights and light fixtures, some even stylized as hops which was cute, but even with the light fixtures Hannah and I both agreed the space is fairly dark and there isn’t a ton of windows for natural light to peek in during the day.  


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Ope! Brewing Company- Beer Flight

With 20 beers on tap, there were no shortage of choices for a flight of 4, which ran $12.00. I grabbed two for Hannah to taste and two for me, let’s see if you can guess who reviewed which!


But is it Traditional (5.9% ABV) - This Kolsch featured high clarity and poured pale gold with an aroma of sweet cereal and biscuit.  Pleasant to drink, with slight sweetness to begin but just a little bit too on the sweet side to be balanced between malt, hops, bitterness, and sweetness.  But that may be why this one is named like it is.  I’d say a little on the sweet side for the style but I think that’s a fairly niche correction.  This beer finished cleanly and slightly dry.  Again, a pleasant experience.


Habanero (7% ABV) - A White IPA with Habanero pouring gold with brilliant clarity.  What is a white IPA?  From what I can tell, it’s a mixture of American IPA and a Belgian Wit.  This was our first encounter with this style of beer, so it sent me down a rabbit-hole of learning which I can always appreciate.  What I can gather though, is that if you look at a Belgian Wit or an IPA, they are both going to be hazy and this one was not.  But I think the haze is typical of the style, not that there aren’t exceptions to the rule.  From my own research this IPA should have the fruits of an IPA in aroma mixed with a little spice, and then have a bready, but high hop presence when tasting.  I’d note, this is something that really sounds delicious, add in a little heat, and it could be the makings of a style that could easily become a favorite.


Unfortunately, our first foray into the style was not really nailing the aspects.  While we did get some stone fruit and mango on the nose, there was no heat whatsoever.  When tasting, we got notes of floralness, then pineapple - no detectable spice, and neither of us thought this was overly bready, and none of the other notes you’d find in a Belgian.  It tasted closer to a mellow IPA - again with no detectable heat.  We didn’t even detect a lot of bitterness or hop presence.  A mellow IPA is not what we were looking for here.


Don’t threaten me with habanero’s and hops but then fall short on both. But, this is definitely a new proverbial dragon to chase.


Ope! Soury - Raspberry Vanilla (5.7% ABV) - Do you see what they did there with the name?  This fruited sour poured garnet red and featured brilliant clarity.  Smelling of raspberry syrup, and tasting a little sour almost to the point of astringency, once past that there were rich raspberry notes, like a raspberry-filled donut and neither of us picked up overly strong vanilla notes.  Not quite a dessert and not Hannah’s preferred sourness type.  


Ope! Soury - Cranberry (5.7% ABV) - We unfortunately double-down on the sours here and this one poured a Christmas ribbon shade of red and had high clarity featuring vanilla and cranberry sauce notes on the nose.  Hannah describes this as a artificial cranberry flavor with an unnatural tartenss to it and noted that while it was tart initially, it wasn’t truly sour and overall had the impression closer to a cranberry juice cocktail than any notes of beer.  Hannah said skip the sours here.


As far as the beer goes, I applaud finding a new style and they had a lot of potential.  Since we chose to eat there, there were options for other beer tasting - a Barleywine, APA, and Belgian Blonde and I think that there is still work to be done here, on the whole for beer.  They haven’t been open long so there is always room for improvement and I would love to see some improvement on the White IPA with Habanero, and I’m sure Hannah would love a spicy beer to fall back on closer to her parents' house.  I’m sure we will find our way back here at some point because of proximity to family, and I’m always open for updating a review.  


For now, if you’re in West Allis or the Milwaukee area and are looking for some sand volleyball at a brewery in Summer - well, your options might be fairly limited to Ope!  I don’t know if I would recommend a trip over from Madison, and with how stiff the competition is in the Milwaukee Area - Ope! Is going to have to do a little bit of work to get on a booze cruise tour.  That may change though when we check back in warmer months, after all, that Kolsch was a pleasant sipper.


Until next time, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’!


To learn more about Ope! Brewing, please visit their website at: www.opebrewingco.com or on Facebook: @OpeBrewingCo or on Instagram: @OpeBrewingCo




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