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Topsy Turvy Brewery

Lake Geneva, WI


Crusin' Rating: A-

Booze Rating: B

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Topsy Turvy Brewery

Lake Geneva, the quintessential lakeside city, jewel of Southeastern Wisconsin, and the most effective FIB magnet on earth. Lake Geneva is many, many things:

Over hyped? Almost assuredly.

Overstated? Most definitely.

Overpriced? Assuredly.

Underappreciated? Most likely.

Uninspiring? I had thought so...

Lake Geneva is a cute little Wisconsin town three quarters of the year, but, like so many mosquitos to a bug zapper, the folks down south swarm this little town to the point that this destination a strict no fly zone for anyone familiar with it. It becomes so congested with unwashable stench of bears, cubs, and those who have seemingly all gotten their license but a mere hour ago. Lake Geneva has become somewhat of an anathema to Wisconsin, a battle that we had given up long ago. Yes indeed, we had willingly ceded this small town to Baja Wisconsin long before I was born. So, as you may guessed, I was not expecting much as winter set in except for maybe a parking ticket, and if I was really, really lucky, a mediocre lunch setting me back around thirty bucks.

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Topsy Turvy Brewery Logo

Imagine my surprise when something dawned on me as the stiff 35° wind whipped off the lake as I made my way to our next stop. Off-season. Oh yes, those turkeys from down south are only driving around the lake when it’s above 50 (bunch of quitters right? That’s prime waterskiing weather). So, as we explored downtown a little bit on a Sunday, after lunch, we found ourselves at a quiet, but quite unique spot that is Topsy Turvy Brewery.

For some reason, this place had gone totally unnoticed by me but now that I’ve seen it, it’s really hard not to notice it. This brewery is built in a gosh darn church of all places! Churches and beer go way back, traditionally, if we are talking monks, monasteries and some fine Trappist beer. The outside looks like a church of course, complete with brick bell tower! There are great twinkle-lights outside that light up the patio space, and a wrought-iron fence that separates the outdoor space from the sidewalk. They did the best they could with such little space outside, but I could see it getting packed on a hot day. The sign is a little jarring, especially since the logo they use everywhere else fits the themed colors and even evokes the stained glass which is the highlight of this space.

Crusin For Booze- Wiscsonsin Blogger- Topsy Turvy Brewery Bar

Speaking of, just look at that bar? It’s incredible! Walking through the church doors you’re met with a massive space. Easily the biggest space in a microbrewery we’ve seen that isn’t a giant commercial warehouse. There are incredible ceilings, a beautiful chandelier and seating for what looks to be an easy fifty people. But the GLASS! Just look at the bar and above the door. With the light pouring in, it’s definitely the most memorable bar backdrop we’ve seen yet. The rest of the space is decorated nicely. It seems like it should be a winery with all of the soft touches, attention to color details and patterns, and that extra something. This space was well decorated and appointed according to Hannah’s keen eye. Personally, I would have loved to see a large hearth in the far end of the space with some seating to make it cozy in the winter. When it gets cold, a church isn’t the first place you think of as being homely and someplace you want to hang out. Hannah and I both agreed a few more coffee tables and comfortable couches would go a long way to making this an excellent place to while away a winter’s afternoon. More cushioned furniture would also counteract some of the noise and echo of a busy day since the space is so large.

There’s plenty of merchandise space and there’s something to be said for their slogan “Have

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Topsy Turvy Brewery Merch

you been to church lately.” No one could begrudge you telling your other half that you and some buddies are going down to volunteer at church on a Saturday night, that’s for sure. Alas, a quarter zip still eludes me. The merchandise is suitably beachy themed and seems to even have some quality embroidering on some pieces. It’s updated inside, as you can see, the pews have been removed, there’s a small stained-glass seating room that offers a modicum of privacy and an entire back area with plenty of stained glass for private parties.

In all this updated church is something we have not seen before and it could have been really tacky but it ended up being well done. Although I couldn’t shake the feeling that it should be a winery. Maybe the color pallet, maybe the furniture choices, maybe the fun Sunday-Funday-ladies behind the bar, it just really felt like it should be a winery.

There are no dogs allowed inside and a fridge does have some pre-packaged snacks, but other than those treats, there is no food.

But we aren’t here for the food anyway, we are here for the beer! The beers had some creative names that tied into Wisconsin and the descriptions were great.

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Topsy Turvy Beer Flight
Beer Flight at Topsy Turvy Brewery

Tangerine Tango Mash (5.6% ABV) - This fruited sour was light gold in color and smelled strongly of orange citrus, tangerines and mandarin oranges. Sporting high carbonation, this beer delivered on sweet tangerine juice flavor and then a hint of added sour from lactobacillus which then gave way into some sweet malted wheat notes. It felt thick in the mouth, like a melted marshmallow, but other than that, I didn’t pick up on Marshmallow notes as the description described.

Oktoberfest (6% ABV) - This dark copper Mӓrzen had an aroma of deeply roasted malt and a rich, floral taste that even hinted at some toasted nuts. Medium carbonation allowed it to open up and finish dry with a hint of caramel. A solid Oktoberfest, and what won me over, is that they also have a Festbier on tap and note the difference, which is always appreciated since we have seen other spots use the terms interchangeably.

Hugh Hefeweizen (6% ABV) - A nod to what was once the playboy mansion in Lake Geneva (and is now Grand Geneva Resort), this Hefeweizen, named for the bunny king, was pale straw in color, full of banana on the nose but decidedly heavy on clove scent. It was, unfortunately, full of what I could assume is the taste of Hugh Heffner. There was sourness all over in this beer and it did not belong at all in the style. Please skip this one.

Lemon Squeeze (4.9% ABV) - This sour was golden in color and brewed with lemonade. It smelled of lemon hard candies and tasted strongly of lemonade and citric acid. If that is your flavor, go for this one. It was interesting that this was not a shandy, as that’s usually what you attribute lemonade in beer to. To me, it tasted similar to a yellow Crybaby candy that friends and I used to test each others’ mettle in seeing how many we could fit in our mouths without our eyes watering. It was interesting also that this sour tasted distinctly of lemonade, and not just lemon, picking up notes of both lemon and sugar, rather than just lemon. Hannah enjoyed this one and I could see it being a decent summer sipper.

Lake Path Blonde (4.7% ABV) - This blonde was brilliantly clear gold and nearly scentless, perhaps only a breath of malt when smelling. Strong hops greet your tongue and make way for faint sweetness. Since the hops were so strong on the palate, this reminded me more of a Pilsner as far as the flavor profile goes, even though there was almost no hop character on the nose. A pretty interesting conundrum. I can’t help but feel that if the hops were a little more balanced, this would have been my favorite of their beers and an easy local substitute to Miller or Coors while on the lake, or after an 8 hour hike along the beer’s namesake.

Midnight Raspberry Dunkelweizen (5.6%) - With a name like this, I had to try it. This Dunkel was deep chocolate-brown with absolutely zero clarity. It smelled of coffee roasts and melted chocolate with deep flavors of chocolate raspberries with a strong aftertaste of coffee with a little raspberry puree mixed in for good measure. While I wasn’t head-over-heels, I thought this was definitely different and is very much worth a try since it’s not often you’ll come across unique flavor pairings.

Topsy Turkey (6.7% ABV) - Billed as an “Herbed Beer” I was intrigued by both the name and notion of a possible Thanksgiving Beer. There are Christmas beers if you look for them, but Thanksgiving?! We had to try it. The color of cherry wood with low clarity, this beer smelled of pumpkin pie spice, apples, and sugary syrup. It was incredibly busy on the palate, a little overwhelming to be honest as you try and navigate the myriad of flavors including apple juice, ginger, and maple syrup. This beer is as hectic as waking up on Christmas day, a good thing for Hannah. To me, though, I found it like an unwelcome Christmas assault like when you turn on the radio November first and it’s already Christmas music 24/7. Like, back off Mariah Carey, give me a month to settle into the season.

Stellar Nova OG (7% ABV) - This New England Hazy IPA is Topsy Turvy’s best seller and I could see why. This IPA was all up in my nose with Citra and El Dorado Hops and, yes, let’s not forget Mosaic back there too. Very pale yellow in color with no clarity, this IPA featured low hop bitterness and was full of notes of mango and pineapple juice, it was overall pleasant and laid back, without hops that lingered for just the right amount of time on your tongue. This was my favorite of their offerings.

Crusin For Booze- Wisconsin Blogger- Topsy Turvy Brewery

In sum, they had above-average beers. I went into this with pretty low expectations for the beer and was pleasantly surprised. The Church absolutely nailed our expectations and that stained glass was amazing. It was a great space with plenty of board games, seating, and merchandise. There could be a few tweaks done to make the space feel cozy in the off season but in all we really enjoyed what they managed to do with an old church. If you find yourself in Racine, Kenosha, or Burlington areas I would venture to say it’s worth alone to experience some beers within a church.

See you at the next stop and, until then. Don’t stop crusin’, keep on boozin’.

To learn more about Topsy Turvy Brewery please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @TopsyTurvyBrewery or on Instagram: @TopsyTurvyBrewery

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