By Jody Renaud, Eastside News
The aptly named Starkweather Brewing Company will be joining the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara neighborhood Feb. 10 in the location formerly occupied by Next Door Brewing Company, 2439 Atwood Ave.
Four people with a passion to create something special, owners and general managing partners Tom Gosse, Thomas McVary, Michael Chronister and Peter Schroder, came up with the name Starkweather Brewing before they even made arrangements to purchase the location on Atwood Avenue. McVary and Schroder had met at Next Door and talked about opening a brewery together. Chronister and Gosse were regulars at Next Door and members of the mug club. A shared passion for good beer and an interest in owning a brewery brought them all together. Plus, all owners live on the east side of Madison.
The four partners had considered other options for their business, but when Next Door became available, they knew it would be perfect. The location was very appealing and was everything they were looking for, including the fit with the name they had already chosen in honor of the nearby creek. This is the first business ownership for all four partners, and they are excited about their mission of making their brewery a place to go in the neighborhood.
Most of the beers on tap are the creation of Schroder, the brewmaster, although some other local brews may be offered. One tap line will be reserved for gluten-free beer. Schroder has won awards for his commercial and home products. He has worked at a number of the local breweries in the Madison area and is a former president of the Sun Prairie Wort Hogs Home Brewing Club. Schroder describes himself as “an adventuresome brewer, always liking to look for other flavors.”
To him, his craft is all about variety and flavor. How does licorice beer sound? He is also considering brewing a spicy pepper beer. He believes his passion for experimenting with flavors may have originated from growing up in the Netherlands, where beer choices were limited. Schroder had no interest in brewing beer until his wife gave him a home brewing kit 12 years ago, and his interest took off. Now he brews pilot batches of his creations at home.
Starkweather Brewing has had conversations with Olbrich Gardens about using its spices, herbs and fruits in beer. Three brews each year will use Olbrich products. The brewery also raised the idea of using fruit from the neighborhood at a SASY Neighborhood Association meeting.
Newly painted walls are waiting for the doors to open and the unveiling of their beers. Food will be coming sometime in the future, but the focus now is offering good beer.
There will be a mug club, which will include etched glass mugs, and mug club members from Next Door will be automatically enrolled as members. Starkweather Brewing also plans to host game nights and possibly movie nights. With multiple TVs, people will always be able to catch their favorite sports.
Neighborhood residents and businesses have been very enthusiastic. The owners are hoping to team up with neighborhood groups to host events, with a percentage of the sales going to a charity.
For more information, visit starkweatherbrewing.com.
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