Hinterland Brewery nears Titletown opening
ASHWAUBENON - Hinterland Brewery's move to the Titletown District was five years in the making, or 22 if you want to count it that way. But, unavoidably, there is only a week left to get it done.
The last day of service downtown will be Saturday. Hinterland will move on Sunday, but is leaving behind brewing equipment for new Dousman Street owner and tenant Copper State Brewing Co. On Monday, Hinterland will host Packers representatives at the new building, followed by other soft-opening activities throughout the week. If all goes well, it could open to the public on April 11.
Hinterland was on Dousman Street for 18 years. The new site, on the corner of Lombardi Avenue and South Ridge Road, across the street from Lambeau Field, will be more high profile. It won't be primarily a destination place.
"I think we'll have a lot more tourist business. We are excited about that," said owner and president Bill Tressler. "We've had a lot of neighbors stopping in. We haven't had that before. Even being in closer proximity to (Interstate 41) makes us more accessible to everyone in the city."
Accessibility infused the brewery's design:
» The main-floor dining area, with seating for 130, plus 38 at the bar, will feature an open kitchen, 48-tap bar with 24 beers, two wood-fired pizza ovens, wood-fired grill and wood-fired rotisserie. Bar taps will include other locally produced craft beers as well as Hinterland favorites.
"We've always done wood-fired pizza ovens. This takes it to the 'Nth' degree," Tressler said.
Hinterland struggled, somewhat, with a perception that its downtown restaurant was only high-end. It did have the high-end items, but Tressler said there's always been a mixture, such as tacos and pizzas, in lower prices ranges.
"I think people always had sticker shock from the $43 elk," he said.
The main floor will feature a fast-casual menu and, for the first time, a lunch menu. The dinner menu on the main floor will include entrees carried over from downtown as well.
» An upstairs dining area they are calling the High Gravity Kitchen will include a wood-fired pizza oven, wood-fired grill and a 24-tap bar. It will have seating for about 80 people, including 28 at the bar. The main second-floor dining area includes a floor-to-ceiling window view of Lambeau Field. Also on the second floor is a 20-person conference room with a floor-to-ceiling view of the brewery.
The upstairs kitchen will have chef-driven, sometimes experimental, offerings. The executive chef is Kelly Qualley, who's been with Hinterland for many years.
"There's nobody else I'd wanted leading the charge," Tressler said.
The open kitchen will allow chefs to interact directly with diners, including getting immediate feedback on dishes.
"It's like bringing the back of the house out front," he said.
The second-floor dining area will open about 30 days after the rest of the operation.
For both restaurants, offerings will change on Packers game days, though how is still to be worked out.
"The first game day will be like nothing we've ever done. Nothing!" said Michelle Tressler, Hinterland vice president.
» A modern, automated brewery will allow everything from smaller, experimental batches to 14,000 barrels a year.
"I love the restaurant, but I'm a brewer," Bill Tressler said. "That's how I got into the business. It's a labor of love. This is freakin' Disneyland compared to what we are used to."
All-new equipment will improve quality and creativity. It will include an onsite testing lab.
"We went from dark ages to very modern," he said. "Now we can say 'if we tweak this, we'll get this result.' We have a lot more flexibility here. Brewers always like to play."
Hinterland distributes beer in six states. It's been as many as 10, but Tressler said increased demand in Wisconsin prompted them to pull back because they couldn't increase production downtown.
"Every day we were pushing the limits of what we could physically do there," Tressler said.
» A small retail shop near the entrance will offer beer and branded merchandise.
» An outdoor beer garden will open during the summer. It will be heated for colder months and is expected to be available well into the football season.
Michelle Tressler said the first time they talked to the Packers about becoming a Lambeau Field neighbor was five years ago. Talks heated up after Ed Policy became the Packers' Titletown Development point man.
The Packers chose three companies to anchor the 35-acre district, which will include retail, commercial, residential and recreational elements. Other tenants are Lodge Kohler, a four-diamond hotel, and Bellin Health Sports Medicine & Orthopedics clinic, both of which are under construction and scheduled to open this summer
The Titletown District includes 10 acres in the center of the development that will be a park and plaza. It will include a snow-tubing hill and playgrounds, among other amenities. The district also will include up to 70 townhouses and probably an apartment complex. The Packers have not provided details of the housing projects but say they've received many inquiries.
The team said it expects to release details on those and other Phase 2 elements of the Titletown District in the first half of this year.
Address: 1001 Lombardi Ave., Titletown District
What is it: Brewery and restaurant
Founded: 1995 in Langes Corners. Moved to 313 Dousman St. in 1999.
Occupancy: 300 indoors, up to 250 for outdoor beer garden, which will open during summer
Tentative opening date: April 11 (could open later that week)
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight, Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to close, Fridays and Saturdays
Titletown anchor updates
Lodge Kohler is about 80 percent complete on the way to its July opening.
Crews are working on interior finishes, which will continue through May. Exterior paving and landscaping will begin this month. The hotel will be substantially complete in late June.
The $45 million Lodge Kohler will have 134 rooms and 10 suites, a panoramic bar and restaurant, cafe, fitness facility and full-service spa.
RELATED: Lodge Kohler construction cam
Kohler Co. began marketing the hotel in November, when it started taking reservations. The hotel scheduled a career fair for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 8 in the Lambeau Field south end zone. Enter through the Shopko Gate.
The hotel also is introducing Club LK, which, among other benefits, allows members to guarantee room reservations for Packers games. Membership is $1,500 annually. For information, call Kathy Schultz at (920) 226-7863.
Bellin Health's sports medicine clinic has begun exterior masonry and precast facade.
The $12 million state-of-the-art clinic will include a team of orthopedic subspecialists and a total staff of 80 people, including Dr. Patrick McKenzie, who also is the Packers' team physician. The more than 51,000-square-foot building will include advanced diagnostic equipment, a performance lab with ultra-high-speed video equipment and a 3 Tesla MRI scanner. Clinic services will focus on injury prevention, performance improvement, treatment and therapy.
The clinic will be open to the public as well as serving the Packers.