E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: USA, WI: Amorphic Beer planning to launch in Milwaukee towards end of November

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E-Malt.com News article: USA, WI: Amorphic Beer planning to launch in Milwaukee towards end of November
Brewery news

Amorphic Beer, a new brewery and taproom in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, is planning to open toward the end of November, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on October 28.

But this brewery does things a little differently — or as co-owner Ron Hockersmith puts it, "backwards." Heck, the crew doesn't even concern itself with fitting its brews into specific styles.

When developing a beer, Hockersmith — who has been into home brewing for about 20 years — said he first thinks about how he wants it to look, smell and taste.

Then, he said, his team uses math, physics and chemistry to select ingredients, calculate how much they need of each and determine what process to use in order to achieve their end goal.

Math and science are strong suits of Hockersmith and the brewery's other owners, Alan Willhite and Joe Broeckert. They all have engineering backgrounds and met working at GE Healthcare.

Willhite said for years, the three joked about someday opening their own brewery.

A year and a half ago, Hockersmith said he retired early from Leonardo DRS, which makes electric propulsion systems, power distribution systems and more for the U.S. Navy and allies. He then spent about a year as a brewer for Milwaukee's Company Brewing. About a year ago, Willhite also left the corporate world.

"Alan called me up and said, 'Hey, remember how we used to joke about starting a brewery? Should we do that for real now?' " Hockersmith said, "I made either a great decision or the mistake of saying yes," he laughed.

"We all had a passion for starting our own small business and trying something outside of the corporate life," Willhite said.

The brewery's taproom will have 12 beers on tap. A third of them will be "hop-forward," such as IPAs and Amorphic's Czech pilsner; and the rest will be mostly Czech lagers; and "weird stuff," like a florescent pink beer made with hibiscus flowers and cactus fruit.

Hockersmith pulls inspiration from travel. While vacationing in Vietnam years ago, he had cocktails made with cucumbers and gin. When he returned, he developed a German kölsch beer that's made with cucumbers and aged in gin barrels. That brew might make an appearance in spring, he said.

So far, the crew has made about a dozen pilot batch samples at the brewery, which they've shared with family and friends. That way, they can make adjustments if needed.

"You have an idea of what you want the outcome to be, and it takes a little bit of experimentation to get it just right," Willhite said.

Taproom beers will be priced between about $5 and $9.

Cans will also be available, including a "double dry hopped" IPA made with Bru-1, citra and citra cryo hops; a Czech dark lager that's made with coffee malt and has a "coffee taste" to it; and a "double dry hopped" version of Amorphic's Czech pilsner that's hopped in two different stages to give it "a lot of fresh hop aroma."

The team is starting to experiment with seltzers and figure out ways to make them a little different from what's already on the market.

While the brewery doesn't have a kitchen, it's hoping to partner with local establishments for food delivery and host a food truck or two on select nights.

The space at 3700 North Fratney Street is about 5,000 square feet, split between the brewery and taproom.

The taproom, which has an "industrial chic" look, can seat about 50. There's also a patio and beer garden that can each seat about 30.

The team is tapping into nearby creative businesses to get parts of the space and its brand ready to launch.

The Urban Craftsman is creating a unique bar top with urban forest wood and other wood elements for the taproom. Amorphic has been collaborating with House of RAD for branding and can label designs. Metalsmoke Design repurposed antique tools Hockersmith had collected over the years for tapper handles.

"There's just so much art and crafty people in this area that we thought it would be a good fit," Hockersmith said.

The trio's backgrounds are engrained in many aspects of their business. They have spreadsheets for nearly everything, from the beers they make to the brewery's name selection process.

"I think it's just in our nature," Hockersmith said.

After brainstorming a list of about 30 names and surveying people, Amorphic was chosen to give off a "science and technology vibe," Willhite said.

It comes from the word "amorphous," Hockersmith said, which means "always changing." The brewery's slogan is "beer without shape."

The Amorphic crew doesn't try to force their concoctions into the parameters of certain styles of beer, Hockersmith said. If a brew doesn't fit into an official category, that doesn't bother them at all.

The team is also coming up with ways to turn their love of math and science into entertainment for their business.

Hockersmith said one way could be to partner with local graduate schools and have students drink a beer, then present their theses in three minutes.

It would give students experience presenting in front of a general audience as opposed to just experts in their respective fields, he said.

The brewery is planning to open Nov. 20.

The taproom plans to be open from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Even though the brewery is not a sports bar, Hockersmith said, it will also be open during Wisconsin sports games, which will be shown on their TVs.

"I like the product we're coming up with, the location we're in and we'll be thrilled to open the doors to the more general public," Willhite said.

28 October, 2021

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