By Max Perrenoud
While the namesake Monk of his brewery may be Lazy, it would be a mistake to refer to Czechoslovakian immigrant Leos Frank as such.
Arriving in America the same year his homeland became Slovakia in 1993, Frank is a man who finds himself in a position many might hope to someday be in. Frank is enjoying success as a self-made business owner who gets to spend his days doing the thing he loves most.
Frank is also a man able to enjoy an ice-cold pint that he crafted himself.
“One thing you’ll learn in life is that others will make a lot of your decisions for you,” said Frank when addressing why he started Lazy Monk Brewing to begin with. “It’s up to you to take advantage of these opportunities when they come to you.”
Laid-off from a job he was expecting to retire from, Frank was forced to make changes in his life later then he had hoped in 2010. This is when the concept of Lazy Monk began brewing in his head.
“It was kind of a speak-easy at first,” Frank said of the original Lazy Monk Tasting Hall.
Meaning that the original patrons were exclusively those who had heard about the location through word of mouth. But after nine months of working, Lazy Monk made it first sale in the spring of 2011.
Now, over seven years later Frank is pleased with the progress of his business on West Madison Street here in Eau Claire. The local brewery is currently producing over ten original craft beers including its original draft, the Bohemian Pilsner.
The pilsner is always on tap because it reminds Frank of the beers he would have enjoyed back home in Eastern Europe.
Frank spends a lot of his time at his brewery, but is proud to say that he does not have to think about what he does as work.
“The way I see it, there are three kinds of work,” Frank said. “A hobby, volunteering or a job. A hobby is when you pay to do the work. When you volunteer, you do not get paid. And at a job, someone else pays you to do the work.”
Frank is now paying 14 employees of his own and is happy to volunteer his time supporting them. Brewing beer has always been Frank’s favorite hobby.
Like most craft breweries, Lazy Monk strives to invent new recipes to create and develop throughout the year. This also includes rotating seasonal selections. If you would like to try them all then Frank welcomes you to join their ever-expanding Mug Club.
“Those are our groupies,” Frank said.
For a yearly fee members receive a Lazy Monk mug that provides you with various perks throughout the year. Members also have their photographs hung on the wall of the bier hall.
Frank is so pleased with the progress of his brewery that he hopes to open an authentic Czech-German style restaurant in his bier hall. Though he has bigger plans to expand the brewery first, Frank is looking forward to introducing the traditional foods he ate growing up to Eau Claire.
For now, customers can order delivery food or use one of the rotating food trucks parked out in the lot. But until any changes are made, the dogs can stay.
The Franks frequently have their two golden retrievers greeting Lazy Monk customers. Patrons are also welcomed to bring in dogs of their own.
“Sometimes I’ve been in here when there are more dogs than people,” said Samantha Kane as she drank a Lazy Monk winter seasonal at the bier house bar.
Kane, a local Mug Club member, will be holding her wedding this coming year at Lazy Monk. Kane met her fiancé at a club meeting. Frank is proud of the match being made at his brewery.
Frank is optimistic about the future of his business and hopes to hold more events like weddings in the future. He also looks to expand the amount of live musical performances held in the bier hall.
“It doesn’t matter if you come alone or with friends,” said Frank. “There’s always someone to talk to.”