Marquette Wire

Gathering for food, friendship, craft beer

Alumnus prepares to open German-style beer garden in May

Yeado+won+several+awards+for+his+home+brews%2C+which+will+be+featured+at+Gathering+Place.+Photo+courtesy+of+Joe+Yeado.+
Yeado won several awards for his home brews, which will be featured at Gathering Place. Photo courtesy of Joe Yeado.

Yeado won several awards for his home brews, which will be featured at Gathering Place. Photo courtesy of Joe Yeado.

Yeado won several awards for his home brews, which will be featured at Gathering Place. Photo courtesy of Joe Yeado.

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When Marquette’s 21 and older population pines for a cold brew, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors and Miller Lite are the first—and sometimes only—options that pour through their minds due to their ready availability, large quantity and student friendly prices.

Joe Yeado, a 2006 Marquette alumnus and winner of several home brew competitions, is looking to change that by opening Gathering Place, a craft brewery, tasting room and food truck hot spot all rolled into one big German-style beer garden. His goal is to have it open by May.

“I’m a fan of quality over quantity,” Yeado said. “Craft beer tends to be a bit pricier, but not so much so. You see Miller light for three or four dollars, and a craft beer for five. But, what you’re getting is more flavor and complexity.”

Developing and embracing a fine-tuned, mature beer palate might be a difficult challenge for of-age Marquette students, but Yeado said getting into craft brews doesn’t have to be intimidating, doesn’t take an expert and isn’t just for beer snobs. Instead, it can be an eye-opening, and most importantly, delicious experience.

“College is a time to explore and try different things,” he said. “Food and beverages fit right into that.”

More than the experience, his biggest selling point is the award-winning product flowing through the kegs.

Kristin Yeado, Joe’s wife and business partner, has seen his entire evolution. When they first met freshman year at Marquette, brewing was barely even a hobby of his. Now it’s their lifestyle.

“When Joe started after college, he used standard recipes,” she said.

His first brews were concocted in a large pot over a small kitchen stove. Now, he uses shiny new tanks, and his recipes have undergone a tangible upgrade.

“When you crack a name brand beer, you know what you’re gonna get, and that’s really great,” she said. “But, with Joe’s beers, there is much more flavor.”

Nowadays, when Joe has people over for a party, they no longer reach for the name brands. Instead, they tap in for a second round of his home brew, an experience and feeling Joe says is the best in the world.

Currently, his plan is to start with five year-round beers that cater to a wide variety of individuals, both sophisticated and naive.

“We’ll have an IPA and pale ale, common styles, with our unique twist on the recipe,” he said. “Then, we have two I’ve won several awards with, a German style wheat beer called Hefeweizen, and a dark beer, most likely a porter or milk stout. Finally, we have my Belgian Sour Cherry Triple. That particular recipe won the 2013 Sam Adams home brew competition.”

Even his wife admits that’s her favorite beer of all-time.

Gathering Place Brewery is set to open in May. Photo courtesy of Joe Yeado.

The now famous brew, in addition to the 22 awards he won in 2016, are his main inspirations for transitioning out of his job as a senior researcher heading up the education portfolio at the public policy forum to becoming a full time brewery owner.

However, his passion for beer really started brewing during his time in the Marquette German exchange program.

Yeado spent his full sophomore year of school in Germany. While he was there, he frequently saw locals going to the beer garden. It was part of the culture he wanted to bring back to the states, and he’s excited to finally share all of that with customers and the wider community.

The community is certainly excited for his brewery as well, evidenced by his campaign on kickstarter.com raising over 20,000 dollars.

Passion, and of course skill, might be the main things that separate Yeado from other local brewers; but there is one unique, Jesuit-inspired value incorporated into his business plan that truly elevates him above the crowd: charity. Gathering Place plans to donate at least one percent of sales to a Milwaukee non-profit organization.

“We are committed, as Marquette alumni, to the Milwaukee community,” Kristin Yeado said. “We hope it’s a gathering place for community organization and residents.”

The community has always been Yeado’s focus. Throughout his life, he’s worked in non-profits, aided Hunger Clean-up as a college student, advised K-12 educators and coached multiple rowing programs. All his experiences tie back to the name of his brewery, Gathering Place.

“Gathering Place by the Waters is the Potowatomi word for Milwaukee. It’s built into our history,” he said. “Of course, success means that we grow sustainably over time, but further, the brewery really becomes a place where people gather.”

His vision of what this looks like combines food, drink and a laid-back atmosphere to enjoy the company of friends.

“On a random Thursday or Saturday, people can bring some friends from out of town, get a taco from a food truck outside and play a board game or some darts in the tasting room,” he said.

For college students, Yeado says it’s important to take advantage of local options like these while in a growing, cultural city like Milwaukee.

“Looking back, if there is one thing I wish I would’ve done more, is get off campus and explore the city,” he said. “You don’t have to look far to be entertained, but Milwaukee is such a cool city and I hope students take advantage of it.”

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