Brewed In Milwaukee: The Fermentorium

The other weekend Dan, Alexa, Luna, and I made the trek up to Cedarburg, WI (about 25 minutes north of Milwaukee) to check out The Fermentorium. It opened in January of 2016 and we have been itching to get there for awhile. We had a ton of fun! I also had the opportunity to chat with Mitch, their media director.

The Brewery

The brewery itself was really cool. When you park you immediately see patio seating with picnic tables. It is simple but cozy and where we ended up sitting as it was a beautiful evening. The patio is dog friendly, and Luna had a blast (and met a couple friends!).

When you walk into the building it is open. The brewery itself is on the right and separated from the tasting room by a wall with huge windows, so you can see the entire brewery, super cool. The tasting room has a long bar with seating and plenty of other places to sit, from tables, to cozy chairs. It is very airy and not at all cramped. It definitely has a relaxed and fun vibe about it.

The Beer

I tried several of their beers in all different styles and you want to know what is amazing? They were all delicious! The first I had was their maibock. I don’t even want to try pronouncing it, so good thing I am writing this. The name of the beer is Fruhlingsbock. Say that ten times fast. Either way, it was delicious. I am a maibock lover so this made me very happy.

The second beer I tried was the Strawberry Wheat, a much more manageable name and a very drinkable beer. Perfect for sitting on the patio on a nice summer evening, which is exactly what we were doing.

As I was sitting on the patio, contemplating life and what beer I was going to have next, I started talking to the owner’s of one of Luna’s new friends. He said he was a regular so I asked for his recommendation, and boy am I glad I did. He recommended the Rainbows & Lollipops, which originally intrigued me because of the name, but I passed over because it was an IPA and those are not usually my style. Rainbows & Lollipops was smooth and delicious. It definitely had the complexity of the IPA, but it won’t make you pucker at the end like some do.

The Interview

Here is the interview, enjoy!

 Can you give some history on your brewery? When was it started? How did it get its start?

“The Fermentorium” name was around long before the brewery. Our owner, Kristopher Volkman, is a fermentation enthusiast who dabbles in brewing beer, wine, cider, mead, sake, kefir, kombucha as well as making cheese, sauerkraut, salami, and more, therefore dubbing his house “The Fermentorium.” His friends and neighbors enjoyed his creations so much, the next step was clear. The decision was made to “go pro,” and the name came along.

He had to start somewhere with the concept, and that was with beer.

 To this day, we still hold “Fermentoberfest” at the brewery in mid October, a holiday play on Oktoberfest that he’s hosted for years before the brewery opened. It’s a yearly solute and a sneak peak into where the concept of The Fermentorium was derived.

The Brewery opened in January 2016 in a re-purposed pet shop in Cedarburg. The build out took 6 months. Plumbers regularly scratch there heads in confusion by the sheer number of water hookups from dog grooming showers that used to be there.

What makes your brewery unique?

Experimental Pilot batches are brewed on the same 10 gallon brew house that started it all, and can only be experienced at the Tasting room. It’s because of this uniquely small pilot system that a new beer can be released every week, so we do… IT’s from here that We seek out what hasn’t been done, and strive for perfect renditions of what has. Any employee can try their hand on this system, and on occasion, our most regular Mug Club patrons. However, if the beer isn’t good, it doesn’t get served. Recipes that are reeeallly good get brewed on our 20 barrel brew house so more people can enjoy.

How is your beer connected to the local area?

Breweries historically have been staples in the community, particularly in Wisconsin. We believe that modern breweries need to strive to be more than just a provider of great beer, but reflect the communities to which they reside. Yes, Locals have a say in what gets brewed by their reactions to our pilot batches, but most important is our priority in giving back to the community that supports us, and we do. In addition, we only work with local businesses for the food we serve at the tasting room, and regularly collaborate with local businesses in beer pairings to help promote and grow the great community around us.

 Is there inspiration behind the beers you make? What is your flagship beer?

This brewery was built specifically to make an awesome Hefeweizen, and we do Golden Spiral Hefeweizen and Stone Hearth Dunkelweiss in six month increments. It is therefore not a flagship… In a way, the build out was inspired by the style of beer, not the other way around.  However, We take inspiration from the excitement of experimentation. At launch we tried our hardest to stay away from having a flagship beer, and failed hard. We couldn’t say no to the mass amount of people that loved that first pilot batch of Juice Packets IPA, so we brewed it on our 20 barrel system. That second batch was gone so quickly, it was clear that we struck a cord with the community. We got our canning line up and running. It was our first of three beers available in cans. If we had a flagship, our fans would probably say Juice Packets.

Visiting the Brewery

Tasting Room Hours:

Tue – Thu: 4pm -10pm
Fri – Sat: 12pm – 10pm
Sun: 12pm – 6pm

Tours aren’t running yet, but will be very shortly, and will take place on Saturdays. Beer Pairings take place twice per month, typically feature local artisan products, and have guest speakers that make the products. All events are described and listed on our website www.thefermentorium.com. We just started serving simple food at our Tasting Room.

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