Bridge Up Brewing Adds to County’s Craft Beer Experience

Trent Snyder can’t wait for you to try his beer, and he really wants to know what you think.

“If it was just for me, I’d brew IPA all day,” he said. “We want to see what people like. That’s our goal here, to brew for the people. We care about what people want to drink. We’re brewing it for the people of Door County, whether they live here all year round or [are] just visiting.”

Snyder was speaking just after the final inspection of the new Bridge Up Brewing Company at Sonny’s Pizzeria in Sturgeon Bay.

Snyder grew up in Door County. His family owned a Fish Creek gift shop, Yours and Mine Gifts, for 28 years. He eventually moved to Minneapolis for 22 years but continued vacationing here with his wife and two daughters.

“Door County has always felt like home to me. I grew up in Northern Door, went to Gibraltar. It was just great. I wanted my daughters to experience this lifestyle,” he said. “We found ourselves coming more and more. Finally we said, what are we doing? Let’s investigate what it would take to make the move. We were outgrowing our little house in Minneapolis. It just all worked out. It happened real quick, but it’s the best decision we ever made.”

They made the move 18 months ago. Snyder took a job at Marine Travelift, but he knew that would not be a career for him.

This is where real estate agent Steve Estes enters the picture.

“Steve was my realtor and my only real friend up here for quite a while. We got to know each other real well,” Snyder said. “One day he called and said, ‘My brother has a crazy idea about brewing beer. Can he call you?’”

Estes’ brother is Jason Estes, owner of Sonny’s Pizzeria.

“We talked on the phone a little bit. Then I met him at Sonny’s, and we talked some more,” Snyder said.

While Snyder thought Estes was bouncing ideas off him as a consultant, it was actually a job interview.

“Jason just said, ‘I think you’re the right guy for the job,’ and I said, ‘What job?’” Snyder said.

They bought a brewing system from Spike Brewing Equipment of Milwaukee.

“We’re a one-barrel system, so the most we’ll brew is 31 gallons at a time, small-batch craft. That allows us to use quality ingredients, as much local ingredients as we can. Keep it new and exciting,” Snyder said. “I’ve got a pretty solid lineup. We’ll do a little bit of everything. We’ll have a blonde ale – a nice entry for people who have steered away from the craft beer scene. We’ll have a brown. We’ll have a nice cream ale – a little bit lighter and sweeter, higher corn content. We’ll play the seasons as we get going.”

The brewing operation is in the lower level of the pizzeria, in a room full of windows.

“We want to be educational,” Snyder said. “We have glass around the brewing area so people can watch and ask questions.”

Stay tuned for an announcement of Bridge Up’s first brews.

Related Organizations