Brewery Takes Off

K-Point getting own space inside Coffee Grounds

Justine Childs, photos by Andrea Paulseth

BEYOND THIS WALL ... PROGRESS! Ongoing renovations at The Coffee Grounds are greating more space for the brewing – and drinking – of K-Point’s beverages.
BEYOND THIS WALL ... PROGRESS! Ongoing renovations at The Coffee Grounds are greating more space for the brewing – and drinking – of K-Point’s beverages.

There comes a point in ski jumping when the hill changes and it’s time to leap, where risk becomes reward and the fun begins. K-Point Brewing is at that point, too. And after speaking to Lon Blaser and Tom Breneman, it becomes clear how the two men came up with the name for their new brewery located inside Coffee Grounds, 4212 Southtowne Drive.

The pair met in Italy six years ago on a food and wine trip with their travel group. Both are from the Chippewa Valley, but they had never met previously. Tom refers to Lon as the mastermind – the Walt to his Jessie if it were Breaking Bad.

“We want to make beers the craft beer connoisseur will find interesting, but also a new consumer will want to try.” – Tom Breneman, K-Point Brewing

Both men have been homebrewers for a number of years, Lon since 1982 and Tom since 1995 when he received a homebrewing kit as a Christmas present. The idea for K-Point Brewing hatched in 2014 and the 14-month journey through paperwork, licenses, and permits began.

What started as a tiny brewing operation has quickly given way to something more substantial. Their space within Coffee Grounds is current undergoing renovation to expand the brewing practice. They plan to complete the construction process by the 25th anniversary of Coffee Grounds on April 2. And in the spring, they plan to add a patio outside where patrons can enjoy a beer.

Although the offerings of beer will be somewhat driven by the market, they plan to offer a porter, a red or amber, a pale ale, an IPA, and a Wisconsinized version of “California Common” or “Steam Beer,” a beer made during the gold rush in California when refrigeration was a luxury. The brewers had to improvise back then to cool the beer down, so they used shallow fermenters. In a way, the lager yeast was trained to ferment quicker at warmer temperatures. Lon and Tom plan to get their hops from a farm in Arkansas and grains from right here in Wisconsin.

That’s not to say they wouldn’t try specialty flavors or styles, but in general they prefer to stick to traditional styles for the beer enthusiast who wants authentic beers. They also want to hold beer education classes and food pairings beginning in April.

“We want to make beers the craft beer connoisseur will find interesting, but also a new consumer will want to try,” Tom explained.

The beer will be served fresh from the tanks with taps coming right out of the walk-in refrigerator to a bar on the other side. As you are enjoying your beer you will be in the same room as the tanks and can witness the process your beer went through to get into your glass.

The tanks were acquired from a successful brewery in Washington, White Bluffs Brewery. K-Point started by brewing 10-gallon batches, but now they can do 230 gallons in the same amount of time. Their goal is to gain such a market for their beer that they can’t keep up. Additionally, they plan to have growlers available for take home in 32 and 64 ounces.

“Beer has played a significant role in the history of civilization,” Lon said. “I’m happy to be a part of that and our attempts to continue that legacy.”

Learn more about K-Point Brewing at www.facebook.com/kpointbeers.