Sophie Bolich

Ice Bear Fest Returns to Third Space Jan. 28

Live music, beer shotskis, costume contest and more on deck for brewery's après-ski-themed party.

By - Jan 26th, 2023 12:59 pm
Ice Bear Fest, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave., photo courtesy of Third Space Brewing.

Ice Bear Fest, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave., photo courtesy of Third Space Brewing.

Whether you’re fresh off a run on the Alps or navigating the streets of Milwaukee mid-winter, nothing hits the spot after sliding around on the ice and snow quite like a cold beer.

If it’s the latter you’re hoping for, you’re in luck — Third Space Brewing Company will welcome guests for its fourth in-person installment of Ice Bear Fest, a 1980s ski-themed party featuring live music, beer shotskis, a costume contest and more.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28 from noon until 7 p.m. at the brewery’s Menomonee River Valley taproom, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave.

Attendees are encouraged to don their 80s ski gear, with a costume contest at 4:30 p.m. to determine the best dressed. A DJ from Events by Design will be on site all afternoon spinning 80s music and other après ski tunes. Local 80s tribute band, Mix Tape, will cap off the evening with an indoor set from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Third Space will operate two outdoor bars during the outdoor festivities, with several fire pits located throughout the beer garden to keep party-goers warm.

The fest coincides with the annual release of the brewery’s Ice Bear Baltic Porter. During Saturday’s festival, Third Space will sell shotskis filled with 2-ounce shots of the 9.4% ABV seasonal beer.

Several barrel-aged beers will also be featured, including Bear in the Woods, a take on the classic Ice Bear that’s aged in Maker’s Mark bourbon barrels, as well as the brewery’s new, 15% bourbon barrel-aged wheatwine, Honeymoon. Additionally, upcoming and recent releases including Cold Fusion Cold IPA, Hey Cow Nitro Milk Stout and Smile Citrus Wheat Ale will be available.

Non-beer offerings will include hot coffee, courtesy of Stone Creek, and nosh from Piña Mexican Eats food truck.

Andy Gehl, co-founder and president of Third Space, said the wintertime fest was inspired by a trip to St. Anton, Austria, where he attended a European après ski party. In fact, the name of the beer, Ice Bear, comes from a German après ski sing-along song that pays tribute to the Eisbär, the King on the Eternal Ice.

“The Austrians really know how to party in the snow after a day on the slopes,” Gehl said. “People dance on tables in their ski boots and sing along to crazy songs with fellow skiers who turn into instant friends after a couple après ski beers.”

In creating Ice Bear Fest, Gehl hoped to foster a similar sense of joy and community at home in Milwaukee, despite the elements.

“The goal of Ice Bear Fest is to bring people out of their winter hibernation for some fun in the snow with great beer, fun music, and a little silliness mixed in,” Gehl said. “It’s one of my favorite days of the whole year.”

Ice Bear Fest is free to attend, but guests are encouraged to pre-order the event’s official merchandise package, including a color-changing mug (good for discounts on draft beers), tinted sunglasses and a trapper hat for $30. If packages do not sell out, items will be sold a la carte for an increased price at the end of the day.

Packages are available for pre-order online for pickup at the event.


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