CONSTRUCTION

The former Lane's Bakery site on the 400 block of South Park Street.

Recently established Rockhound Brewing Company is planning to set up a brewpub this coming winter in the first-floor commercial space of a five-story apartment project on the corner of South Park and Drake streets.

Sitting on the corner that used to house Lane’s Bakery, it will offer beer made on-site alongside “upscale comfort food,” guest taps, local wines and specialty drinks.

Owner Nate Warnke has been a home brewer for more than 10 years and has been scouting locations for months, settling on the near west side location in part due to the potential of an untapped market and his familiarity of the neighborhood as a resident.

“I looked at a number of places,” Warnke said. “I think a lot of it was due to looking at the market overall and where the market might be best for a brewpub.”

He has 10 to 12 beers he’s “very proud to put on tap” at this point, including a Balanced Rock Rye named after the Devil’s Lake formation, Mosquito Bite IPA and a traditionally styled Scotch ale called Shot Rock.

He said he’s tweaking the names and recipes slightly, but the nine beers listed on the brewing company’s website are the basic concepts of what will be on tap. Those also include an oatmeal ale, a coffee porter, a lager and some seasonal beers.

“It’s a matter of what I can brew right off the bat,” Warnke said.

He had originally hoped to be open by summer, but the site selection pushed the open date back to winter due to ongoing construction of the building. The five-story, 40-unit apartment building under construction at 444 S. Park St. is slated for completion by late this year instead of the original date of July 2014.

Warnke said it is somewhat fortuitous the location worked out because the timeline gives him some extra flexibility.

The brewpub plans to maintain 16 tap beers and food ranging from small plates and seasonal entrees to burgers. Warnke also plans to host live music on a periodic basis as long as permits are granted, focusing on folk and light country music.

Warnke said he has worked in the corporate world for 12 years and has had a career at American Family Insurance. While he said it’s a fine career and he’s generally pretty happy, the 38-year-old has always dreamed of doing something on his own.

“It was kind of a now or never scenario,” Warnke said. “I didn’t want to look back at 68 and say, ‘Why didn’t I try that?’”

Owner Nate Warnke has been a home brewer for more than 10 years and has been scouting locations for months, settling on the near west side location in part due to the potential of an untapped market and his familiarity of the neighborhood as a resident.

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