Craft breweries have become a thriving industry in the United States, with beer enthusiasts seeking unique flavors and experiences. One such gem in the brewing landscape is East Troy Brewery, nestled in the historic downtown of East Troy, Wisconsin. Opened in 2018 by Ted and Ann Zess, this Brewery has quickly made a name for itself, blending tradition and innovation to create exceptional craft beers. Located in the charming confines of the former State Bank of East Troy building, East Troy Brewery has revitalized the space, breathing new life into both the structure and the community.
Ted and Ann Zess, the owners of East Troy Brewery, have an interesting journey that led them to become restaurateurs and brewery owners. Prior to their venture into the brewing industry, they were the owners of Allan Integrated Control Systems, located just up the street from the brewery.
While the Zess couple did have some experience in homebrewing, they never initially planned to open a restaurant or a brewery. However, their passion for craft beer and their involvement in the local beer community sparked their interest in taking on a more active role in the industry. Their love for craft beer led them to collaborate with others in organizing East Troy’s annual brewfest, which takes place in the historic Village Square.
As avid craft beer enthusiasts, Ted and Ann were not content with simply being consumers of great beer. They saw an opportunity to contribute to the local beer scene by opening their own brewery. Drawing on their knowledge and experience in brewing, as well as their connections within the community, they embarked on the journey of creating East Troy Brewery.
Their background in Allan Integrated Control Systems, which specializes in control systems and automation, may have also played a role in their decision to integrate an automated brewing system into their brewery. This combination of their professional expertise and their passion for craft beer has shaped the unique identity of East Troy Brewery.
The Zess couple’s involvement in the local beer community, particularly in organizing the annual brewfest, likely provided them with valuable insights into the preferences and tastes of the local community. This understanding of the community’s beer culture has likely influenced the offerings and ambiance of East Troy Brewery.
While Ted and Ann Zess may not have initially planned to become restaurateurs and brewery owners, their love for craft beer and their dedication to their community led them down this exciting path. Through their brewery, they have created a space where locals and visitors can come together, enjoy exceptional craft beer, and be a part of East Troy’s vibrant beer culture.
The choice of East Troy as the location for East Troy Brewery is not a mere coincidence. East Troy, a small town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, boasts a rich history deeply rooted in the brewing industry. This historical connection makes it an ideal setting for a craft brewery like East Troy Brewery. By acquiring the former State Bank of East Troy building, the Zess family made a deliberate investment in preserving the town’s heritage and contributing to its vibrant present.
The restoration and renovation of the building itself reflect the Zess family’s commitment to honoring the past while creating a modern and inviting space for beer enthusiasts. When the family purchased the building in 2017, they embarked on a mission to pay tribute to its history while providing a contemporary setting for people to enjoy craft beer and delicious food.
The Breweries interior showcases the architectural features of the original 1892 cream city brick corner bank building. The bar, now situated where the teller windows once stood, offers a glimpse into the building’s past. The majority of the space has been transformed into comfortable seating areas, providing ample room for patrons to relax and enjoy their brewery experience. The brew system itself, made by Quality Tank Solutions of Oconomowoc, adds a touch of craftsmanship and reliability to the brewing process. Additionally, the Brewery features a full kitchen that serves a delectable menu of pub fare, ensuring that visitors have an array of options to complement their beer choices.
To enhance the overall ambiance, the East Troy Brewery offers a variety of events and entertainment. Live music performances, trivia nights, and beer dinners create a lively and engaging atmosphere for guests to enjoy. These events foster a sense of community and provide opportunities for individuals to connect with others who share a love for craft beer and local culture.
The Zess family’s commitment to preserving the building’s history is evident in the restoration efforts. They meticulously uncovered the original corner entrance, which now serves as a window, allowing natural light to illuminate the interior space. Cream city brick walls were exposed, showcasing the building’s historic charm. Gaps in the brickwork were filled using bricks salvaged from a nearby 19th-century elementary schoolhouse, adding an authentic touch to the restoration process.
A unique feature of the Brewery is the installation of safe deposit boxes in the 1930s vault, sourced from a bank in Burlington that was undergoing demolition. The Zess family has meticulously arranged a collection of East Troy State Bank memorabilia within a vitrine in one corner of the safe, further connecting visitors to the building’s past. The rental of these safe deposit boxes to Brew Club members has turned out to be a popular concept, offering a unique and secure storage option within the brewery.
While the exact contents of these safe deposit boxes remain a mystery, it is intriguing to contemplate what people choose to store inside them. While some individuals may utilize them for traditional valuables as they would at a bank, others may use them to hold sentimental items or personal mementos. The safe deposit boxes add an element of curiosity and provide a unique experience for visitors to the Brewery.
One of the most intriguing features of the East Troy Brewery is an automated brewing system. This innovative system allows customers to witness the brewing process through an interactive control system. This modern twist on both a historical process and a historic building provides visitors with a unique and immersive experience. They will have the opportunity to gain insights into the brewing process, understanding the intricacies and craftsmanship involved in creating their favorite brews.
At the heart of East Troy Breweries success lies its dedication to crafting exceptional beers. Ted Zess, a passionate homebrewer turned professional, leads the brewing operations. His expertise and creativity shine through in each meticulously crafted beer, ensuring that patrons have an unforgettable experience.
The Brewery offers a diverse range of beer styles to cater to a wide range of tastes. From hop-forward IPAs to smooth and malty stouts, there is something to please every beer lover’s palate. East Troy Brewery takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, fostering connections with local farmers and suppliers. This commitment to supporting the local community shines through in the quality and flavor of their brews.
The commitment to local talent and community engagement is evident in every aspect of East Troy Brewery. The mural adorning the brewery’s wall is a testament to this dedication, as it was created by a local artist. By showcasing the work of a talented member of the East Troy community, the brewery not only adds visual appeal to its space but also supports and promotes the local arts scene.
In addition to the mural, East Troy Brewery also extends its local focus to the equipment used in the brewing process. The brew system itself was manufactured in nearby Oconomowoc, emphasizing the brewery’s commitment to supporting local businesses and industries. This decision not only reinforces the brewery’s connection to the region but also contributes to the growth and vitality of the local economy.
The location of East Troy Brewery, is a deliberate choice that aligns with the town’s brewing history. The restoration of the former State Bank of East Troy building serves as a testament to the Zess family’s commitment to preserving the town’s heritage while creating a modern and welcoming space for beer enthusiasts. The incorporation of historical elements, the utilization of safe deposit boxes, and the wide range of events and offerings contribute to the unique and vibrant atmosphere of the brewery. Visitors to East Troy Brewery are not only treated to exceptional craft beer and food but also to a genuine connection to the town’s past and a warm sense of community.
Lager – Helles
The beer that launched a 1,000 beers…. This is an easy to drink German-Style Helles which offers a touch of sweetness that balances a measurable addition of spicy German hop flavor and light bitterness. Light, flavorful, and easy to drink. you’ll want a 1,00 more too!
Lager – American Amber / Red
This is a traditional amber brewed with Caramel, and Munich malts. This is a great session-able beer, red in color, with balanced hops and a great crisp malt finish. This beer is a great entry level beer for the new to craft beer scene while still maintaining the traditional values of old time beer lovers.
IPA – English
A simple grain bill of Pale malt and Crystal 40 malt. Add to that 20 pounds of Citra, Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops. Fermented with Verdant IPA yeast, which leaves a soft yet sweet malt profile with slightly more body than American IPA yeast strains.
Sour – Fruited
A sour brewed with Philly yeast. The yeast does it all, it produces lactic acid souring the beer at the beginning of fermentation and then finishes fermentation by producing alcohol. We then added 308 pounds of red raspberry puree. Pucker up and enjoy this one.
Stout – Milk / Sweet
The Sewall Stout, named after the man who opened East Troy’s first general store in 1841 – Sewall Smith, is a dark and full-bodied ale with a distinctive malty flavor that is brewed with unmalted roasted barley and brown sugar. This version of our Stout is served on Nitro.
Stout – Oatmeal
This twist on a classic oatmeal stout is brewed with Maris Otter malt, biscuit malt for breadiness, oatmeal, and cocoa nibs, just to name a few ingredients. Also flavored with real vanilla and dyed with beet juice, together, these ingredients bring a balanced flavor profile of sweet and earthy, complimenting each other to red velvet perfection, with the nitro pour being the icing on the cake.