Thursday Doors: Flight of the Lion’s Tail

No, not that kind of flight.

I did not get on a plane to take photos for Thursday doors. Instead, an SUV took me, my brother and his girlfriend to a couple of new breweries and a flight of their finest adult craft, as did a stairway.

IMG_20160807_123001704I’m not sure if that was appropriate. I expected a free sample of beer or box of dark chocolates at the top, but was left with a window that peered into Weiss beer fermentation equipment. Okay, whatever. Perhaps brother was impressed. Whenever brother comes to town, there is always beer in the mix of our activities. He is a beer connoisseur and a recent home brewer with two of his buddies. I have mentioned this before, but he has made me (in a good way) into a bit of a beer snob. When he comes to visit, we have to either find a new craft brewery or pay a visit to one of the local establishments that has an exceptional assortment of craft beers. It’s one of the few times I drink beer (or drink anything) during the year, so I tend to appreciate the sudsy stuff more than if I was regularly imbibing.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors, I will be focusing on only one of the breweries, saving the other one for a day when I suspect you might be thirsty or ready for another beer post.

The Lion’s Tail Brewery in Neenah, WI, is located on the back side of a former life insurance building, built in 1909 and named the Equitable Fraternal Union Building or Equitable Reserve Association. The building is home to a few other businesses, but on the day that we visited, I didn’t make note. We were only interested in beer.

Inside the brewery, one can find remnants of the Equitable Reserve Association, from an old vault door to a room filled with old safe deposit boxes and an interesting chandelier.

From Wikipedia on the manufacturer of the safe door:

The Cary Safe Company is a defunct safe company that was established and located in Buffalo, New York. The company manufactured and sold bank vaults, cabinets (safes), and safe deposit boxes from 1878 to 1929. A majority of the safes sold by Cary had letters painted to the purchaser’s request on the upper portion of the safe. Typically common was a customer’s family name or the name of a business. Every Cary safe was built fire and burglar-proof. The company also manufactured intricate time locks and combination locks (standard key) locks, and prison cells.

Prison cells. It might be interesting to have a brew pub in a former prison cell, don’t you think?

I thought it odd that on a wall opposite the vault door, there was another door that would have been easy to break into. I imagine it was added after the original vault was built as there is no security here. Also interesting was a shuffleboard table in another room. It appeared to be an antique, but I doubt it came from the original residents of this building.

The rest of the brewpub had an inviting decor, although the large windows in the bar area only had a view of the parking lot and street. The bartender was friendly and was glad to serve two flights (four samples each) of their own brew, along with a few tastings from other Wisconsin brewpubs. Although the three of us found the Lion’s Tail beer fairly pleasurable, my favorite turned out to be an Irish ale from Vintage Brewery in Madison (which means that may be a destination for brother’s next visit). I felt a little timid telling the bartender when she asked which one was my favorite.


IMG_20160806_153420872 (2)
Drawn on the hallway leading to the room with the shuffleboard.

For additional cheers, make sure you visit Norm 2.0 and click on the blue frog link that leads to all door posts.

29 responses to Thursday Doors: Flight of the Lion’s Tail

  1. Dan Antion says:

    You hooked me with the title, Mary, but this was a very interesting post. Great doors and beautiful photos. “located on the back side of a former life insurance building” – I can’t think of a better change. The building must have rejoiced when insurance was replaced by beer. It’s always good when a good day out and about ends with plans for the next adventure. In search of Irish beer…gotta love it.

  2. joannesisco says:

    I think this is a perfectly wonderful way to spend quality time with a sibling – or a friend – or even a complete stranger 🙂
    A building repurposed from an insurance company into a brewery sounds like a good use of resources to me – right down to the vault door! I’m disappointed they didn’t think of a cool purpose for the vault though 😉

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yeah, the vault room was a bit anti-climactic. The most interesting piece was the chandelier. It might have been fun if they closed the vault door on people as they entered…kind of like “welcome to Hotel California.” Will you live or won’t you?

  3. Sounds like fun and since we’re only in the Chicago area, I’ll have to check out how far away it is. We’re always up for some good beer. I like the re-use of the building!


  4. joey says:

    I like that you went black and white for this one. The safe doors and the chandelier are especially interesting in the monochromatic. Really dig those.
    I’m no beer snob, although I do enjoy the complexity of the many craft beers. I’ll see my beer snob friend next month, and honestly, I’m just hoping we don’t talk about it too much 😉 lol

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Joey. I went with B&W because of the age of the building and door, so I’m glad you like my “artistic expression.” If your friend starts talking about craft beers, just nod your head a lot, smile, agree with her, and then order a Bud Light and see if she rolls her eyes. 😉

  5. Norm 2.0 says:

    Gotta love it when they find new uses for old buildings. I’m not much of a beer snob either but it is great to see so many choices out there for those do enjoy it.
    Safe door was my fave – nice choice on going B&W too 🙂

  6. LB says:

    When I finally return to Wisconsin someday, and get to meet you, we are definitley going to meet up at a brewery!
    The choice to B&W to show us the old vault pieces is great.

  7. It is apropos that I get to this post today as yesterday we celebrated International Buy A Priest A Beer Day (which I duly did). It’s still IBAPAB Day where you are, you know….

    We’ve seen quite an explosion of micro breweries locally and one of the larger breweries has in recent years taken over an old woollen mill if you like repurposed brewery buildings. Just sayin’…. We also have wine…..

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Someone seriously came up with IBAPAB Day? It must have been a thirsty priest. Unfortunately, I did not buy a priest or my pastor a beer today…I don’t even have one to drink myself and it’s Friday night.

      I love all of the micro breweries and the re-purposed buildings. It’s such delicious fun!

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