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Ever since visiting a bar called Hops in Budapest in 2015, Garth Beyer was inspired to create his own craft beer bar. After more than three years in the making, that idea will be actualized in Garth's Brew Bar, a new craft beer-focused spot on Monroe Street set to open this fall.
Beyer, who also works as a public relations and social media account executive at Hiebing, has had a long-time interest in craft breweries and brewers.
He started by writing about the local beer scene and getting to know the people behind the beer. In college, he was the managing editor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism's Curb Magazine, where he created two projects related to Wisconsin breweries. He then moved on to start a beer column at the Badger Herald and freelance writing about beer for the CapTimes.
As he continued to write about breweries in the Madison area, Beyer says he developed a respect for brewers and connections within the brewing community.
"These people are amazing," Beyer says. "Their tenacity is ridiculous, and they care deeply about the communities that they're in, and they weren't getting as much praise as they deserved."
Beyer says he wanted to find something to help the local breweries thrive, but at the time, craft beer bars weren't as prevalent.
Fast forward to visiting Hops in Budapest, Beyer says after that visit, he knew he wanted to open up his own craft beer bar. Then, shortly after that trip, the process to create Garth's Brew Bar began.
Beyer meticulously thought about all the details necessary to open the bar over the past three years, including conducting a survey to find out public opinions on things like location, cost and how far people will travel. When it came to location, he found that most people wanted something in the near east side or near west side. Beyer ultimately set his sights on Monroe Street.
Beyer says Monroe Street stood out because of the community, neighborhood organizations and the merchant's association.
"[In choosing Monroe Street] you've got the people confirming they'd go there, got the neighbors confirming they want it there, you have the businesses there to support you and for you to support them, it's just like a whirlwind of this is the best space you could possibly do," Beyer says.
Garth's Brew Bar will be one of the new businesses in the multiuse building that replaced the Associated Bank. The interior will be done by Carlson Construction and Jacob Morrison of MoTiS Architecture which worked on businesses like Robin Room, RED Sushi and Madison Chocolate Co.
The spot will have 18 taps with a reach in cooler with 100 to 150 different bottles of beer. Beyer says he'll mainly focus on Madison and Wisconsin craft breweries, but will also offer other selections from smaller American craft breweries.
Beyer, who is a certified Cicerone—what he calls the sommelier of beer—says he wants the place to "feel like a curated experience for folks" with really good beer. Beyer is one of nine certified Cicerones in the Madison area and the only one who operates his own establishment.
"It brings a little bit of credibility to the curation of beer at this venue," Beyer says. "Not only am I tasting everything and making sure there aren't any off flavors, that it's good to sell and people are going to appreciate it."
Beyer says he plans to have a gluten-free option and session beers for those looking to drink beers lower in alcohol content. He also says he's also hoping to find a good-tasting, zero alcohol beer. While the bar won't have a wide variety of food options, it will have Batch Bakehouse pretzels and Fraboni's pizzas available.
Garth's Brew Bar is expected to open in the fall at 1726 Monroe Street.
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