Goodman Community Center | Minocqua Brewing Company set to open a…

Minocqua Brewing Company set to open a taproom on East Washington

Political progressive Kirk Bangstad will bring his creativity and vision to Madison’s east side.

December 12, 2023 |
Some of One Barrel Brewing's equipment is going to be used at Minocqua Brewing's taproom on East Washington Avenue.
Minocqua Brewing will be opening a taproom in the former Growlers To Go-Go site, 2927 E. Washington Ave. It has already secured brewing equipment from One Barrel Brewing’s now-closed location at Schenk’s Corners.

By Jody Renaud, Eastside News

Political progressive Kirk Bangstad will soon bring the creativity and vision of his Minocqua Brewing Company to Madison’s east side. His beverages allow customers to enjoy quality beverages, reflect upon the inspiring messages found on its labels and support progressive causes.

With beers called Biden Beer, Tammy Shandy, Lady Justice, School House Rock, Fair Maps 2.0 and Choice, his brews have been available at a limited number of liquor outlets in Madison. Now people will be able to enjoy being part of this tale at a new taproom opening next to Trixie’s Liquor, 2929 E. Washington Ave., in December or January. Bangstad is excited about the location, both because of the facility and the outside space. He plans to open a unique outdoor beer garden in the green space behind the building.

In addition to beer, Minocqua Brewing offers WOKE coffee and CHOICE wines. The wines are a sauvignon blanc and rosé of pinot noir and are produced in partnership with Equality Vines — a cause-based winery in Sonoma County, California. He also has nonalcoholic Rainbow Land Soda.

Chris and Colleen Welsh, owners of Trixie’s Liquor, were the first to offer Minocqua Brewery Company products in Madison. They like to carry products from self-distributors at Trixie’s. Bangstad would drive up in his truck and drop off his beer himself. And the beers have sold well.

Chris Welsh feels Minocqua Brewing is going to be a good neighbor, and his understanding is that it’s not going to be a traditional bar, but more of a place “where people in Madison can gather.” He’s also excited to witness the opening of the beer garden and what the future will bring.

“I think it is great they will be able to support this business right here in Madison.”

Fighting lawsuits on a number of fronts due to his beliefs and facing political retaliation for publicly displaying his progressive views, Bangstad felt he needed to find a new and stable source of revenue for his business. He feels people in Madison will welcome his iconic beer names and the opportunity to gather.

On a nice summer day in mid-September, people were stopping at Minocqua Brewing Company on Front Street in downtown Minocqua to sit at the outdoor tables, enjoy a beverage and talk with Bangstad and others. The smiles, camaraderie and good conversation were occasionally interrupted by the obscene gestures of passing motorists.

Bangstad readily acknowledges that his combative style does not sit well with even some supporters, but he makes no apologies for his progressive beliefs and will fight for what he feels is right in his own way. While he believes most of the residents in the conservative area around Minocqua do not like him, there are more people in the area who support progressive policies than one might believe.

Kari, who lives in the Minocqua area, is supportive of Bangstad’s narrative and clever ways he advocates for his causes — showing there is more to the area than the more vocal conservative agenda.

“There is a need for other voices in rural Wisconsin,” she said.

A couple from Sun Prairie, who occasionally stop at the Minocqua location, are excited about the brewery opening locally.

“I think it is great they will be able to support this business right here in Madison,” one of them said.

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