Episode 47

Published on:

20th Jun 2022

The Tap Yard Beer Garden at Ackerman's Grove Park with Jamie Ludovic and Nick Marking

The parks in Washington County, Wis. have a ton to offer. From lakes and ponds to swim in to dog parks, hiking trails, and beer gardens! This week, Jamie Ludovic—Washington County's Chief Community Development Officer, and Nick Marking—owner/operator of The Tap Yard Beer Gardens, join me to talk about the all new beer garden at Ackerman's Grove County Park in Polk, Wis. It's a must-attend venue that is available every Wednesday through Sunday during the summer.


Fuzz Martin 0:00

Hey happy summer y'all. What's happening? It's Fuzz Martin and this is Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. I hope you had a great Father's Day weekend. I know I did. We went did some beer tasting at Sprecher Brewery in Milwaukee then had a nice dinner. Still full. Might be full the whole week. Who knows? But it was great weekend. You know if there's one thing I'm impressed with here in Washington County, Wisconsin, it is the parks from our local municipalities to the county parks themselves. There is no shortage of great places to go explore and recreate here in Washington County, whether you want to swim, golf, hike, run the pups sit down and have a nice beer you can find whatever you're looking for. Very close to home and this week, Jamie Ludovic Washington County's chief community development officer and Nick Marking owner operator of the Tap Yard Beer Garden Joining me to talk about the new Tap Yard Beer Garden at Ackermans Grove in the town of Polk. After recording this episode, I held an employee meeting there. I don't think I ever want to hold meetings anywhere else other than the Tap Yard the rest of the summer. It's a great place with great beer and a great view. And now here's 15 minutes on the Tap Yard beer garden at Ackermans Grove Park with Jamie Ludovic and Nick Marking here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

Fuzz Martin 1:39

Jamie and Nick, thank you for coming in today. First Jamie let's talk about Washington County's park system. So you and I spoke about it in the winter regarding sledding hills, but we're finally back to outdoor warm outdoor weather season and Washington County has a lot to offer. So first off, how many parks do we have in the Washington County Parks and trail system so

Jamie Ludovic 1:58

e's six major parks just over:

Fuzz Martin 2:15

Yes, guys, the Eisenbahn trail is beloved for sure. And so the parks aren't just beautiful green spaces, but you guys also have a ton of amenities. Right. So can you highlight some of the fun things that listeners in their families can do at our Washington County Parks?

Jamie Ludovic 2:29

Sure. And yeah, it's an absolute beautiful time to visit them. So I'm going to kind of go in just a random order. But the first thing that always pops into my head is dogs, so dogs are allowed on leash in all of our parks, Sandy Paws at Sandy Knoll and Homestead Howl in Homestead Hollow in Germantown. Our two dog parks Germantown actually offers an agility course in that dog park. We think both of them are fantastic and offer trails in the woods for those dog parks.

Fuzz Martin 2:58

The dog parks in Washington County are fantastic. I have a little puppy that we got during the pandemic she's not a little puppy anymore but she was when we first got her but the fact that like it Sandy Knoll there's the little dog one and the big dog one, I think at Homestead how well there is as well, right? Yes, yeah. So it's if you have not taken your dogs to them, they are wonderful.

Jamie Ludovic 3:20

Right and you know later we'll we're going to talk about some of the events that we have going on but the dogs are welcome at all of those events, which we're finding is something that people people want and that's unique to county parks. We also have our disc golf courses. We have two one in heritage trails and then we have our Sandy Knoll disc golf course. They both have 18 Regular holes. Sandy Knoll actually has another nine beginner holes I'm gonna butcher this word I'm not a disc golfer Einfanger is that right?

Fuzz Martin 3:48

That sounds right. So nice German word whatever it is.

Jamie Ludovic 3:51

Yeah, and there are a variety of forested and open holes in the partnership with Riverside disc golf course has really made that an elite course in Washington County. I mean, it really is great. We have professional tournaments there and it's it's maintenance level is just something that only a community like Washington County can deliver.

Fuzz Martin 4:07

Yeah, and if you walk through Sandy Knoll you'll see you can like is one of the trails are a few of the trails kind of walk alongside of the the disc golf course. And it's really fun, even if you're not a disc golfer to see other people doing and it's it's kind of fun.

Jamie Ludovic 4:22

Yeah, for sure. Fishing. So we have a variety of different bodies of water. There's two ponds in Sandy Knoll and one in Homestead Hollow the Homestead Hollow one is stocked. Goeden has access to the Milwaukee River there's four lakes that we have access to Little Cedar Lake which we'll talk about more Silver, Fries, and Erler Lake and the lakes are in Ackermans Grove, Henschke, Hillside, Glacier Hills, and Yahr Park. And that segues right into swimming. Yeah, which we have three swim at your own risk locations in Ackermans. Grove, Sandy Knoll and Yahr Park and I'll just add that Yahr Park is the beach was recently tripled in size eyes okay, and that is really on the must do summer bucket list for anybody with kids 12 And under it's just an absolutely gorgeous swimming location. And I mean it really rivals any swimming beach I've ever been to with my children.

Fuzz Martin 5:14

Okay, that's great to know with places like Kewaskum where the pool is closed this year and some other places where they're currently having issues finding staff that that's a swim in your own risk place so you have to take your own risk but you can still go swimming there so that's great and the fact that there's a great beach is great, right?

Jamie Ludovic 5:32

It's a huge beach is non motorized, and it's fairly shallow so it's a great swim at your own risk location. You can see the playground on one side and the beach and and we absolutely love it. I'm sure everybody will love it. And as that amenity builds we look forward to you know what's going to come out of that swimming hole. Very good geocaching. I put this on the list because of our recent Boy Scouts of America Project where there is actually some geocaching of veterans grave sites throughout the county happening and we have geocaches that are hidden throughout all of our parks. We have planted them they're both in partnership with West Bend's Cash Bash, but also just users have done that. So if you're a geocacher you could pick any one of these locations pair that with hiking, which all of our parks are great for hiking and walking, particularly glacier hills which you should also put on your summer bucket list. And that's one that I think everybody should give a try to have you been you geocache?

Fuzz Martin 6:29

I have not been geocaching though I am on the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce board. So I probably should because they're so heavily involved with it. So when West Bend is the what the Geocaching Area of the World or something like that.

Jamie Ludovic 6:43

So yeah, absolutely. I've got glamping. So we have nine tiny cabins in Glacier hills. Our parks don't offer traditional camping but we do have the wooden structures that are available for rent on Airbnb. And that's a really unique experience with kids that kind of keeps you away from the bugs but also gets you in nature a little bit that if somebody is kind of interested in staycation with gas prices being so high, yeah, I really encourage people to take a look at the camping cabins available. still available for this summer for rent on Airbnb.

Fuzz Martin 7:17

Okay, very good. You can find the listing of them on the county website, right?

Jamie Ludovic 7:21

Yep, correct. Washcoparks.com. Great. And then the last thing events, we do have a variety of events happening throughout the parks, beer gardens. And as well as you know, there's live music happening and you can find a calendar for all of those and things that are happening within those parks on our website.

Fuzz Martin 7:37

Washington County also runs the Washington County golf course. Right, which is the number one ranked municipal courts in Wisconsin. So what makes it so great?

Jamie Ludovic 7:45

Well, Fuzz...

Fuzz Martin 7:46

I set you up with like, super easy, questions here.

Jamie Ludovic 7:51

Super easy. I'm gonna cheat. I'm gonna go to Midwest Golf Magazine for this one. All right. They recently did their own story. And they called us the king of perceived value. So in a great article that they wrote on us, I absolutely love it. I quote it all the time. It's called value driven. They talk about the championship conditioned and maintain property that charges a municipal rate. And then they go on and talk about the four mission goals of the course that formed the code of conduct and how those common goals is what leads us to success. What's really interesting, and I'm going to just opine on I can go into those goals, about the community and the quality of play in Washington County. But this year, it's the 25th anniversary of the course. And I had the opportunity to work on a history piece about the 25th anniversary celebration. There's also a canned beer from city lights brewing about this, and celebrations and customer appreciation happening all season. But when they built it, they built it to be the people's Country Club, they wanted a public golf course that was elite golf. So it was a very intentional goal of the Private Sector donors going into that course. And I think it's an example of where the community really talked about a gap that they saw. And then they kind of came together to make that happen. So we're celebrating all season long, and you can find information on the golf courses website about that.

Fuzz Martin 9:15

And I'll link to that in the show notes here for the this episode. One of the great parks in Washington County is right off Highway Z in the Town of Polk. It's on the shore of Little Cedar. It's called Ackermans Grove. What can you tell me specifically about Ackermans Grove?

Jamie Ludovic 9:29

Well, it's a beautiful spot. The Cedar Lake area is beautiful. And I know we're going to talk about kind of how we're trying to bring some life to this park net in your next question. But so I'm going to take the opportunity since you asked me yes to tell you that what I love about this park and Nick, maybe this will be news to you later, but is the new and it's new SC Wave Washington County Soccer Club sign Okay, so what we don't know about that sign at the entrance of that park is It says all it says is "Home of SC Wave Washington County." But every time I drive by it, the word home is sort of a trigger for me about belonging and a place where we come and we return. And it's something that the County Executive and our team is working really hard to create in Washington County is kind of that sense of place, in a variety of ways. And so that sign is that visual reminder for me of this is our home. And everything we do here, you know, kind of comes back to, you know, do you want this in your, in our place, and it's ours, it's our community, and we should protect it diligently. And so we try to do that.

Fuzz Martin:

I love that statement. And being a resident of the county, obviously, it's great to have all of these parks, but that's, that's really cool. So thank you, Jamie, for that. Appreciate that. And then we're going to talk to you Nick, this year with the Washington County Parks and Trails system, they've now formed a public private partnership today with the Tap Yard Beer Gardens. Sorry to keep you waiting, Nick, but welcome to the show.

Nick Marking:

Thank you. I appreciate you having me today.

Fuzz Martin:

Yeah, you're very welcome. So tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started? Sure.

Nick Marking:

I used to on the Brass Tap and Greenfield we had at draft beers on tap. So kind of a smorgasbord, like eclectic mix of, of every style of beer that you can imagine. And I own that for seven years. So it's my bar manager during the pandemic, okay, and we started a beer garden to right down the street at 4th and Layton. Okay. It was a wild success. And we just saw kind of how successful it was, you know, what we did down there. And so like, well, this, this has some wheels. And we decided to once I sold the bar, like, hey, let's start this beer garden entity. We started our first location in Waukesha, a great success, your two's this year, as well. And we decided to expand. And we started with the Instagram posts to the social media for Washington County. And like, Hey, we're interested potentially, in seeing what you may have in Washington County for an expansion of the tap yard. And here we are today. So starting negotiations, and how the how this came to be, and we're very excited to be at Ackermans Grove,

Fuzz Martin:

During the pandemic, starting an outdoor kind of beer garden type thing was something that we all needed, first of all, but I don't see that going away, because I think we all fell in love with that whenand when, when it was the only thing we could do.

Nick Marking:

Absolutely. And certainly, you know, those numbers that we had at 4th and Layton were monsters because we were the only ones open. Right. But we certainly this process will link up your grounds are here to stay. Yeah. And you know, we would love to be a part of Ackermans Grove Washington.

Fuzz Martin:

So tell us about the Tap Yard. According to the press release. You guys have 24 drafts of craft beer and hard seltzer. So you guys have a huge selection.

Nick Marking:

Yes, we have a huge selection, both local, regional and national brands. We certainly have hard sell stores as well, from Eagle Park to truly is to, you know, that kind of line. And we have live music. We have trivia on Thursdays and then we have family fun days on Sundays as well.

Fuzz Martin:

What kind of things happen on family fun days?

Nick Marking:

Sure. Well, obviously there's a beach down on the below of the hill. Okay. Lots of people use as a playground on there as well. And we also be having an (inaudible) come in with inflatables, every probably six weeks that come in run a nice family fun event for us. So that's a lot of a lot of fun things for the kids.

Fuzz Martin:

All right. And then I saw that you have a board and brush Wednesdays what is that?

Unknown Speaker:

Sure. So we actually is called plant and sip. Plant and sip is where they come in people pay for the ticket. They build a kind of Terranea, some kind of succulent kind of thing. And then they have a couple of beers on top of it.

Fuzz Martin:

Oh, excellent. Yeah, that's very cool. You have music in the parks on Fridays and Saturdays. What kind of music do you have?

Nick Marking:

We have an eclectic mix. We have live music about four to five times a month. Okay. We started out with Robert Allen Jr. Duo. He's a fantastic blues duo. And this week, we have Marcel Guyton coming on. He plays a lot in the area, okay, plays a piano really great music, a lot of fun. And we have Marlo Parotta he does a lot of like 90s 2000 music like light rock. So you have kind of an eclectic mix of music kind of come in the summer at Ackermans Grove. Is there a cover charge for no cover charge? So obviously there there is a sticker to come into the park for the concert residents and then otherwise it is a $5 by dollar fee for entrance.

Fuzz Martin:

I also saw that you guys have a food truck that comes as well as

Nick Marking:

We do so Tacos La Guerra they usually at Fleet Farm. They are our resident truck. So there will be there. Most of the summer for us was amazing. They serve some really, really good food. And then we do a food truck cuisine tour once a month on Sundays. So it usually will fall on the second Sunday of the month. Okay, the next one coming up is Taco Fest. So we'll have a bunch of taco trucks out there on Sunday, which is amazing tacos La Guerra will be part of that as well. And we expect you know, really fun crowds for that as well.

Fuzz Martin:

Yeah, I did have tacos, tacos, La Guerra one afternoon for lunch, and I will say that they're just they're amazing.

Nick Marking:

They're Yeah, they're amazing, amazing people that we're very proud, proud to partner with them to provide food at Ackerman's Grove,

Fuzz Martin:

And there was a nice, nice line of people waiting for food. I was very happy to see that. So what days of the week is the tap yard open at Ackermans Grove?

Nick Marking:

So we're open Wednesday through Sunday. So Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, four to 9pm Saturday 12 to 9pm and Sunday 12 to 7pm

Fuzz Martin:

Perfect. Jamie the Washington County has been doing a lot to promote regular use of the park See and trails. This started as having a beer truck at one park like once a week, and it seems to have grown. I assume you're seeing a positive response from county residents on these kinds of events.

Jamie Ludovic:

We are we hear constant positive feedback about the people attending these parks and the environment that it creates when they're out there.

Fuzz Martin:

Where can people find information about the events happening at the various Washington County Parks and Trails,

Jamie Ludovic:

The county website Washcowisco.gov does have a lot of that you can also check out our Facebook page, I think that's probably the best place to get the event schedules because a lot of those are posted there and co hosted with Washington County Parks collectively. Sure. So if you're on Facebook, and you don't follow Washco Parks, check that out.

Fuzz Martin:

Very good. And then Nick, where can people find out more about the Tap Yard?

Nick Marking:

Sure, we do have an app called the Tap Yard app, you can download it in Google Play or the Apple Store. So that has all of our events on it for our locations. Also, Facebook is a very vibrant social media presence that we that we have. So is facebook.com/thetapyard, and all of our events on there and all the things that we do. And it's a very nice way to kind of interact with us as well.

Fuzz Martin:

Perfect. Well, thank you both for coming in. We really appreciate it and look forward to using the parks the summer.

Jamie Ludovic:

Thank you. Yeah, we look forward to having you.

Fuzz Martin:

Thank you again to Jamie Ludovic from Washington County and Nick Marking from the Tap Yard for joining me today. Again, if you'd like more info on the Tap Yard Beer Garden, search for it in Facebook, if you're on desktop, or mobile. But if you aren't a desktop, you can go to facebook.com/thetapyard to get there. And if you'd like to learn more about this show, go to facebook.com/fifteenwithfuzz. You can also find me on Instagram, sometimes on Twitter. Same handle @fifteenwithfuzz. More episodes are available on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and Spotify. You can also visit fifteenwithfuzz.com. And that's it. Hope you have a great week. Thanks again for listening. Stay cool. And we'll talk to you next time right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. Have a good one.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Showcasing the positive things happening in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

Whether you're in West Bend, Kewaskum, Slinger, Hartford, Germantown, Richfield, Jackson, or anywhere else in the area, 15 Minutes with Fuzz serves the community with fun and positive people, places, events, and attractions.

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Fuzz Martin

Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.