These past few weeks have been the start of something very exciting for Sophie Nelson. Almost a year ago, Randy Isely of the Ephraim Coffee Lab enlisted her help to start a craft-beer room in downtown Ephraim: the first beer room in its history.
“I love to make this claim,” Nelson said, “even though we have a serious advantage: It wasn’t until 2016 when alcohol was legalized in the village.” The goal was to offer a variety of taps and packaged beer of all varieties from all over the United States and beyond.
Last year did not turn out as they had intended, however, so during the summer and through early November, they were limited to selling only packaged beer outdoors.
When Milworks, a Milwaukee-based men’s clothing shop, moved out of its Ephraim location – next to the coffee lab and connected by a door – the space became available for a beer room. Construction began during the off-season, and with it came a name for the venture: Bad Moravian.
The name is a nod to Ephraim’s settlers: Norwegian Moravians led by Andreas Iverson in 1853. These settlers were responsible for the alcohol ban that lasted until a few years ago. Raised a Moravian in Ephraim, Nelson has always loved the sense of community that the church has created and the influence it has in the village. Already she’s been able to share a bit of Ephraim’s history through answering questions about the craft-beer room’s name.
Bad Moravian officially opened its doors Jan. 20 for inside seating and a new beer menu. The list includes a variety of styles: sour beers, hoppy ales, lighter options and maltier-focused choices.
“My goal is to share beers that aren’t easily found at Door County establishments,” Nelson said.
Sometimes this means a lot of coordination and driving a few hours to meet distributors.
“I’m aiming to offer a constantly rotating list of packaged – and eventually tap – options throughout the year,” Nelson said. “American craft beer is the best in the world, and I’m so excited to share examples from across the country with the community.”
Nelson hopes that Bad Moravian will be a space to share the love of all things beer – along with some ciders and seltzers – and to try new beers and new styles from breweries both familiar and new.