Roll Out the Barrel!
Hoyt Park opens county’s newest beer garden
The influence of Milwaukee’s German roots has inspired the creation of another biergarten. After Estabrook Park’s beer garden experienced resounding success when it opened last summer, park lovers took notice. A perfect mix of community, culture and nostalgia, beer gardens draw people outdoors to enjoy refreshment of body and mind.
The Friends of Hoyt Park, the non-profit organization that spearheaded the effort to restore the Hoyt Park pool and Works Progress Administration-era bathhouse, will now undertake the opening of Milwaukee County’s second beer garden.
Friends’ Communications Director, Mary Pluta, explains, “One of our main goals is to keep the pool affordable for families. It was always part of the plan to develop the north-facing ‘head’ of the bathhouse as a revenue stream to defray the expense of running the pool.” After seeing Estabrook’s operation, the organizers at Hoyt thought adding a beer garden would be a good fit.
Though no official date has been set for the grand opening of The Landing, the name chosen for the Hoyt Park beer garden, the group is aiming for mid-July. There will be space for seating 266 at the long, European-style picnic tables as well as some green space under an old elm tree to spread a few picnic blankets. “It will be a great place for people to relax and get to know their neighbors a little better,” says Pluta.
Negotiations are still underway to determine what type of beer will be served. Pluta says, “The beer will primarily be from local brewers, but with all of the great ethnic festivals in Milwaukee, we’d like to tap beer from different countries at the same time to tie it together.” With an eye to environmental friendliness and tradition, the beer will be served in glass beer steins and pint glasses.
Food on offer will consist mainly of giant pretzels, popcorn, brats and hot dogs. The list will expand a bit more when it is opened up for suggestions on the group’s Facebook page. Pluta explains, “In the next few weeks we are going to put it out to our fans and ask them what foods they’d like to see on the menu.” In addition, visitors to The Landing will be able to carry in their own picnic baskets as another way to keep costs down for patrons.
The group plans to operate the beer garden from 3-9 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, with live music offered on some days between 4-8 p.m.
For people who have concerns about an adult venue like a beer garden being located adjacent to a family pool, Pluta recognizes, “It’s a valid concern, but we won’t be allowing anyone to bring beer or wine from the garden into the pool. They are really very separate areas. We will practice responsible serving because it’s really important to us that we make The Landing a family friendly space.”