Shopko Hall to host craft beer fest this fall

The first-ever Northeast Wisconsin Craft Beer Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 at Shopko Hall in Ashwaubenon.

GREEN BAY – Hold on to your steins.

A first ever craft beer festival will be coming to the Green Bay area this fall.

Dubbed the Northeast Wisconsin Craft Beer Festival, it will offer more than 150 beers from around the state and beyond.

But for one beer, it will feature four local craft brewers.

"The craft segment of the beer industry has seen massive growth over the last 15 years," said Brad Foytik with PMI Entertainment, the group putting on the event.

Using half-barrels and a bag of malt as a podium is fitting for the announcement of the area's first locally-run craft beer festival.

In fact, craft brewing industry numbers put Wisconsin tenth in the country for craft breweries. In less than one year, Green Bay has seen its number of breweries double. Now, the four are teaming up for a special festival beer.

"We're going to work on a 'Steam beer' - which is a hybrid-style of beer,” said Brad Stillmank with Stillmank Brewing Company. “For the beer geek, it combines ale and lager techniques together, the same way the brewers in this community are coming together to brew something special."

That special beer will be available before the festival. And then at the festival each brewer will individualize the beer by adding its own ingredients.

"What it does is it gives us a chance to do a little (research and development),” said Scott Kissman with Hinterland Brewing. “Create something that maybe will become something big."

"It's just another opportunity for us to show Green Bay that there is good beer in this town and that there's going to be some fabulous beer at the PMI brew fest, as well," Titletown Brewing Company’s Krystina Engebos said.

Of Green Bay's four breweries, three are currently undergoing expansions – Titletown (the oldest in the city), Badger State Brewing (less than a year old) and Stillmank (recently re-located). Stillmank is the closest to production.

“Maybe this weekend, we'll put our first actual beer in the tank," said Stillmank. "We got a lot of faith in this community, we know that there's some interest in what we're doing here – it's certainly a lot of fun."

Stillmank says building his own brewery and tap room comes with risks written with every check.

But don't call the city's resurgence in brewing a fad.

"Do you think it's a fad?" FOX 11’s Bill Miston asked Badger State Brewing Company’s president, Andrew Fabry.

"I really don't,” he replied. “I think that if you look back - kind of historically - and you really see what the brewing landscape was prior to prohibition, you realize that we're really just trying to get back to that point."

And he says the community support is there – for craft beer, and more of it.

Event details

When: Saturday, October 4, 6-9 p.m.

Where: Shopko Hall in Ashwaubenon

Cost: General admission - $40; VIP - $75; designated driver tickets - $10; VIP designated driver tickets - $45. Door tickets $10 extra

Event-goers will receive a commemorative sampling mug, unlimited two-ounce samples and hors d’oeuvres.

VIP ticketholders can get in an hour early to taste all available beers, including ones not available to the general public. Food will also be served.