Night Owl: Beer club a journey for a beer lover’s palate

Welcome to the Night Owl. Each week we’ll spotlight hot spots, trends, activities and more at bars and other hangouts from Green Bay to the Fox Cities and beyond.
Hey, Night Owl:What’s up with Bazil’s beer club? How does it work?
In short, the beer club at Bazil’s Pub in downtown Appleton revolves around patrons trying 100 different beers — over no specific time frame. It’s an effort to showcase the bar’s extensive craft beer selection and get patrons to try beers they might not otherwise consider.
Customers pay $5 to join the club and receive a beer club card and Bazil’s beer club T-shirt. After hitting the 100 mark, customers are considered to have conquered the beer club and receive a $50 Bazil’s gift card and have their name and the date etched on a beer club plaque that hangs on the wall.
Think it can’t be done? More than 300 customers have completed the beer club since 2008, including 10 customers who have done it at least five times — that’s 500 beers — to reach Beer Club Master status. One of those customers is 33-year-old Josh Dukelow of Appleton, who took just over five years to conquer Bazil’s beer club five times.
“The first time I signed up, I was with a group of people and we had a regular happy hour on Thursday nights,” Dukelow said. “We all decided to join the beer club together and discover new beers. … It was a really good way to get exposed to beers I wouldn’t voluntarily try. Now I have a really broad palate that I appreciate.”
Dukelow noted that after he finished his first 100 beers, he could never decide what he wanted to drink because of Bazil’s wide beer selection, so he enlisted in the beer club a second time. He began using the club as a system to find interesting beers until he found himself flirting with Beer Club Master status. Now Dukelow has his name tattooed to a large replica bottle cap on Bazil’s wall to signify the 500-beer feat.
“When I finished the fourth list, there was no question I was going to do the fifth, so I could get the bottle cap on the wall,” Dukelow said. “People are proud of their wine knowledge and I’m proud of my beer knowledge. Now I’ve got a bottle cap to prove it.”
Bazil’s manager Mitchy Knaack said more than 1,000 people are signed up to complete the beer club for the first or subsequent time.
“Our customers just think it’s fun,” Knaack said. “If they’re going to be in here trying new beers anyway, they might as well join the club. It gives them the chance to experiment with stouts and porters and ales and be exposed to a lot of beers they’ve never tried before.”
Beer enthusiasts can sign up for the beer club at Bazil’s or online at
Besides Bazil’s, Emmett’s in downtown Appleton also has a beer/mug club that costs $10. Patrons who join receive a mug with their name engraved on it as well as regular drink discounts. Titletown Brewing Co. in Green Bay also has a beer/mug club, but it’s sold-out.
Know any other bars or restaurants with a great beer or mug club? Tweet Mike Thiel @thielwrites or email him at with your suggestions.

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