It’s surely the choice beverage for adults in America’s Dairyland. If you guessed milk, for any of those not hailing from the great state of Wisconsin, your slightly logical deduction would prove absolutely false. There happens to be another refreshment Wisconsinites dig, and it’s been produced here since the mid 19th century- before the ‘Badger State’ became a ‘dairy land’. Plus, even though I’m sure Wisconsin adults drink plenty of milk, I have yet to see them gather around a dairy to consume the product, produced on site. That place might actually exist, I don’t know. Yet craft beer brewers, who offer their drinks on site at local micro breweries, draw Green Bay residents towards tap rooms quite easily. And with the emergence of the craft beer industry, one more quality establishment has opened it’s doors just beyond Green Bay’s borders in Allouez.
Zambaldi Beer, the new brewery, is still a work in progress. Yet, what this place will become is evident in appearance, ambiance and, of course, beer list choices. There was definitely a buzz about this latest addition to Green Bay’s growing micro brewery scene and, with an owner who has worked for award winning breweries such as Green Bay’s Title Town Brewing Co. and Montana’s Big Sky Brewery, the buzz is understandable.
Zambaldi Beer’s ownership consists of a husband and wife duo, David and Abbey Malcolm, along with Wade Zander. To kick off things right, the first beer to be brewed on site will be Clan Malcolm, a beer served at Dave and Abbey’s wedding. That’s dedication to craft and family!
So, on with my experience at newly opened Zambaldi Beer in Allouez Wisconsin.
I’ve just turned on Webster Avenue and have crossed into Allouez, as I make the trek southward. Here, the area needs a facelift, dilapidated buildings mar the landscape. Yet my heart is envisioning the future of this area as I close in on, what officials hope will be, a spark for redevelopment in this district.
Low and behold, the new industrial styled Zambaldi Beer building seems to shine as I approach, even on this overcast day. I pull into the parking lot and am immediately appreciative of the design of the structure. Large plate glass windows, against a backdrop of grey corrugated metal, allow me to survey the glistening new machinery of the brewery. Towards the front of the building, beyond the Brewery portion, glass paneled garage doors allow a glimpse at the bustling tap room.
As I cross the threshold of the taproom, I immediately love the ambiance because it says start up, but in a sensible and attractive way. In front of me are hand made tables, constructed by David Malcolm, along with some very old chairs which David claims to have purchased from a middle school. It reminds me of my middle school cafeteria, yet cooler. It conjures recollections of a promise that one day, when I was older, I could drink beer. Today is one of those promised days.
Over towards the bar, a counter with a light wood finish reflects the beams of the pendulum lights above. The tap room is definitely spacious, even in a crowd, I can’t Imagine it becoming cramped. David hadn’t anticipated the loud echoes a crowd incites in the room, but he has decided to add measures to subdue the racket.
As for a kitchen, the limit is a Pizza oven, though people are encouraged to bring food in and have a beer with their meal. There has been food vendors in the parking lot serving barbecue over this past weekend. Zambaldi Beer also offers snacks like pretzels, Palo Popcorn and cheese curds served with Ritz crackers.
As for the main draw, the beer, well I’m about to order. Zambaldi Beer’s menu consists of six in house brews. These have been brewed at Sand Creek Brewery and are in limited supply. David estimates that, for now, he won’t have enough to keep serving his customers. Have no fear, he plans to bring in some more guest taps, in which he offers six right now, because he knows “We’re not the only ones that can brew good beer”, and brewing onsite should start in February.
I survey the beer list at a counter, complete with a modern cash register. Like I’ve mentioned, right now there are only six Zambaldi Beers to choose from, David says that number will swell to as many as twelve once the ball starts rolling. Arnie Brau (blonde ale) Yard Games IPA (American IPA), Allie the Red Irish Ale, Patio Pale Ale, Meat Ball Man Amber and Good Dog Porter are the choices today. Of the six he’s offering now, four will be mainstays. For those who love to try new beers, he will be adding seasonal beers as well.
As for my choice, I decided, before I even arrived, that I would choose something in which the description sounds appealing and has an interesting name. The Meatball Man Amber has a curious title and my favorite type of brews are amber ales. So, I’m sold easily. I should mention that a pint comes at a cost of $6 and a 10 oz glass is 4$. They also will offer flights, no price was listed.
As I sip my Meat Ball Man Amber off in the corner of the bar, peering out the numerous glass garage doors that overlook Webster Avenue, which will open to a patio once weather breaks and concrete can be poured, David approaches me. He is friendly and eager to inform me on their new business.
I learn that the beer that I’m currently sipping had its name derive from David’s experience in Dusseldorf. While drinking beer at a local brewery, he came across a man, who apparently was not affiliated with the brewery, selling gigantic meatballs in the taproom. “I could picture his wife and kids making meatballs in the basement.” David said. I pause to think, and am inclined to conclude that he’s most likely right. David adds, “We’re thinking of serving meatballs for our own meatball day.” I think that’s an absolutely original Idea.
As for the taste, if the Meatball Man Amber is indicative of the concoctions Zambaldi Beer will serve, I have to say this place does it right. This amber is what I look for in its type, with a hint of hops and a distinct golden roast malty texture. This beer weighs in at 5.5 ABV, as all of the house brews fall in between 4.8 to six percent.
In closing, I wondered if another brewery in Green Bay was a wise choice. After all, there has to be a point of saturation. Judging from the people in the tap room, this place will do alright, with an ambiance that embodies the spirit of the Green Bay native and beers that are worth their malt. I know this will not be my last visit to Zambaldi Beer.