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Ahnapee Brewery opening in Suamico

By Ben Rodgers

SUAMICO – Ahnapee Brewery is ready to open the doors at its new Suamico location, or garage doors for those familiar with the brewery and its past.

Started in 2013 out of a tiny two-garage setup in Algoma, Ahnapee has moved to Suamico, located at Parkfield Court, just off the Lineville exit on Interstate 41, and expanded its operations and offerings.

“It’s really about the garage, because the tap room is in the garage, the slogan is ‘I’ll be in the garage,’ we obviously use the image for the two-stall garage throughout,” said Nick Calaway, owner and head brewer. “We’re not here to forget about Algoma, we’re here to embrace Algoma – where we’ve been and hopefully where we’ll go.”

The City of Algoma was originally called Ahnapee, and was home to the original Ahnapee brewery from 1868 to 1886.

A backroom at the new location contains original Ahnapee artwork from the side of an old building in Algoma as an homage to the community and the brewery’s beginnings.

Calaway said the new building, with 18-foot-tall ceilings, greatly expands Ahnapee’s brewing capabilities, in terms of volume and creative output.

“What you’ve known about Ahnapaee will stay the same, but there’s going to be some new, exciting offerings we’ll have,” he said. “We’ve always focused on one IPA (India pale ale) at a time out there in Algoma. If we had two on, they would cannibalize each other, and we want both to sell. Here we’re going to have four or five or six, malty, hoppy, high ABV (alcohol by volume), low ABV, barrel-aged stuff, a little bit of everything.”

The number of tap lines has increased at Ahnapee, up from the eight it has in Algoma, where the taproom remains open, to 16 now in Suamico, where all the beer will be brewed.

There are 16 different types of beer available for sampling and growler and howler fills at the new Ahnapee Brewery in Suamico. Ben Rodgers Photo

Calaway said the brewery’s flagships are Little Soldier, an amber ale, and Two Stall, a chocolate milk stout.

The brewery offers a range of seasonals, including Fun Guy, an English brown brewed with mushrooms, Gray Wolf, a blonde coffee ale, Cherry Mechanic, a cherry infused beer that is geared more to wine and cider drinkers, a Märzen-style Oktoberfest, plus many more.

In between the flagships and seasonals, Calaway said the Suamico taproom with its 16 taps will offer unique limited brews only found there.

The starting lineup includes a limoncello inspired sour, a mango smoothie IPA, and a strong barrel-aged beer brewed to taste like a whiskey old-fashioned sweet.

Instead of focusing on one style of beer, Calaway said Ahnapee casts a wide net, and the changing lineup will represent a balance from all sides of the tasting spectrum.

“Focusing on getting people here, that’s important to me,” he said. “There’s so many beers, there’s so little shelf space and it’s getting crowded. If you want to drink local, you can come to the source and find some things you can’t try anywhere else.”

Calaway said he understands the middle of a pandemic is not the best time to get people to visit the brewery, but he said a move to the Green Bay area has been in the works for the past five years, and now is the time.

This mural, painted on a building in Algoma in 2007, now calls Suamico home. Once the pandemic subsides, the plan is to employ 26 to 30 people either full-time or part-time. Ben Rodgers Photo

“As far as COVID, we’ve separated all the tables by roughly 6 feet, we have a mask policy so you’ll have to wear a mask in and while you’re moving around, but you’ll be able to remove it while sitting down…” he said. “We want to be as busy as possible, but we want to be as safe as possible at the same time.”

Capacity is also limited to 50 percent and outdoor seating is available.

The new location also has four garage doors that open to a patio in the main room, to open the space up and for those nostalgic for Algoma.

“It’s just time for the next step, and Suamico seemed like a great place to be a part of,” Calaway said. “It seems like a growing community. To be this close to the highway, visibility-wise, we were really off the beaten path, and now we’re going to be on the path, which will be fantastic.”

For more information on available beers, visit ahnapeebrewery.com.

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