Architect: Engberg Anderson Architects
Owner: Blue Ribbon Management, LLC
Contractor: : KM Development
Nestled on the southwest side of the Brewery campus, the old German Methodist Church was rehabilitated into a micro-brewery and tasting room. Built in 1873 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the gothic-style church is designated a City of Milwaukee landmark within the historic district. The primary project goal was to renovate the building, while keeping as much of the historical fabric of the original church as possible. The new small-batch test brewery is on the ground floor of the church and the 3,020 sf restaurant and tasting room are on the upper level. An additional 1,000 sf addition was built to the south to accommodate a kitchen, elevator, storage, and ADA bathrooms. Finally, a 2,000 sf outdoor beer garden and patio completes this unique, historical, and sustainable project.
Rather than a traditional mass masonry building, the church was actually built with a brick veneer, with exception of the limestone base and bell tower. In order to stabilize the masonry, a helical tie system with a CTP clip was used to tie the brick to the studs from the back side of the brick. The original masonry was restored from a black soot covered exterior to a vibrant cream city and limestone, in a true Milwaukee tradition. With a barnlike superstructure, implementing stick-framed (not sure about this hyphen) infill and traditional residential style board sheathing, spray foam insulation was installed improving the building envelope performance significantly. Wood shingles were installed in order to bring the church’s roofing back to a more aesthetically pleasing and historically accurate building material. All the original gothic arched windows were restored to former glory and interior storm windows were custom made to add energy saving value while preserving the character of the openings. Floors, choir loft, and other features were also restored in the sanctuary space to keep the feel of a place of worship while modern finishes blended the industrial context of the neighborhood.
The southern addition was designed to be sensitive to the original architecture, without literal interpretation, to house the new services that provide code-required ADA accessibility and support for the brewery operation on the ground level. The tight space at the first floor was truly a challenge to program for the volume of beer production desired. The beer garden, featuring an outdoor bar covered by a heavy steel canopy and enclosed by repurposed iron gates,, finished the integration of this historic building within Milwaukee’s Brewery District.
Photos: Pabst Milwaukee Brewery