So another Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival has come and gone..and once again I am very impressed with some of the fantastic beer names that these brewers come up with.
Here are my faves this time around (in no particular order)
A Cart Ride to Mexico: a Mexican style Maibock from Red Eye Brewery in Wausau
Where Lizards Dare: an India Pale Ale from Figure 8 Brewery in Valparaiso Indiana
Razzmanian Devil: Raspberry Bockfrom Old Hat Brewery in Lawton Michigan (Runner up: Suave Chicken, a Saison).
Bingo, Bango: wild rice beer (gluten free) from Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City Michigan
A Beer Named Sue: two different breweries had beers with this name..Goose Island, and Thirsty Pagan from Superior Wisconsin
not to be confused with..
Pseudo Sue: an American Pale Ale from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company in Decorah, Iowa.
I can't wait to see what the brewers come up with for next year. The 26th annual Great Taste is set for August 11, 2012.
To get you in the mood for The Great Taste of the Midwest whichÂ happens at Olin Park on Saturday..and this is just the thing to get you all fired up..awesome retro beer commercials.
Even if you couldn't score a ticket to this sold out event, you've got to get a kick out of these things.
See if you can spot the former child star in this one:Is that the Brawny man making a cameo appearance?Schlitz, just the thing to quench your thirst in your "Brick House."
Do you like beer? Do you like drinking it, learning about it, exploring new flavors?
Then Madison Craft Beer Week is for you! It goes from April 29-May 8, and features all kinds of beer related tastings and events. I perused the website and these are some of the ones I found to be most compelling.
Learn how to make beer based cocktails, Saturday April 30 at Underground Kitchen. It says they run the gamut from apertif to dessert.Â I generally like to have cocktails and beer on completely different days, but this sounds interesting.
Biking and beer! On Sunday May 1 you can go on a New Belgium bike ride, starting at Dexter's Pub at 1pm. They'll have a bunch of New Belgium beers on tap and giveaways as well. After you've tried a few, pedal over to Ivory Room, Madhatters and Memorial Union for 1 hour stops at each place. And you thought the only thing New Belgium had to do with biking was the Fat Tire logo!
Create some Bedlam! Ale Asylum celebrates the re-release of Bedlam! IPA, and invites you to design a teddy bear to represent your darkest inner bedlam and you get a free pint of this hoppy beer. Starts at 4pm Sunday.
Monty Python's Holy Grail Night at The Cooper's Tavern, from 5-11pm Thursday May 5th,. Dress as your favorite character from that wild movie and your first pint is on the house. Best costume gets a $50 gift certificate.
For me, every week is Craft Beer Week, but this week it appears I have some extra reasons to raise a glass. Cheers!
More info on Craft Beer Week here.
What could be better in the dead of winter than a festival dedicated to beer and cheese?
I had a great time at the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Festival on Saturday. Because Mike and I haven't missed a Great Taste of the Midwest in years, and plan vacations around visiting brewpubs, you might think we would have tried every beer there is.
You would be wrong, Hops-and-barley breath! Yes, I did have a chance to re-sample some old favorites. And I did find some new tasty treats.
I even discovered a couple of new brewpubs. St. Francis Brewery is located in the southern Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis. How it managed to open in the spring of 2009 without me knowing it is beyond me. I tried the Lust Weissbier, which I really enjoyed, even though I usually don't like wheat beers. According to theirÂ website they use a special strain of yeast that results in wonderful banana and clove flavors, and they didn't lie. And I was glad it was not too yeasty.
The Woodman Brewery is located in Woodman, WI, between Boscobel and Potosi. I tried the pilsener, which was a light (but not "lite") tasting, drinkable brew. A quick check of their website shows they also offer more choices include a honey raspberry beer which sounds interesting, and a chocolate porter coming soon.
Other ones that I circled in my beer menu were the Scottish Porter from Brewery Creek in Mineral Point (Mike also raved about the Frankenshandy), the Bitter Blonde from South Shore Brewery in Ashland (it wasn't bitter), and the root beer from the Potosi Brewing Company.
Oh--there was cheese too. I loved the Apple Smoked Cheddar from Carr Valley Cheese in Middleton, and Mike kept going back for the Buttermille Blue from Emmi Roth USA in Verona.
Organizers of the festival say it was a big success, and they're planning another for next year. I suggest you attend.
Will you be getting beer in your stocking this year?
Personally, I think beer is a great Christmas gift. But it does present some challenges. You might not know what variety your friend or relative might like. Lagers? Ales? Dark beers? Light beers?
It can also be tough to wrap.
So here's the next best thing. A book about beer that includes FREE BEER. My recommendation is a book called Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide by Madisonian Kevin Revolinski. It's a new edition of a book that came out a couple of years ago that I used heavily.
It gives you great info about all the breweries in Wisconsin..different varieties of beer that may be available there, and other things to do in the area. A few years ago Mike and I went on vacation and hit a whole bunch of the brewpubs and had an absolute blast.
But what about the free beer? Most of the breweries that are listed in the book offer some kind of free deal when you visit..like a free pint of beer, a tour or some other kind of doo-dad like a bumper sticker.
Find out more about it here.
What exactly is a mancake?
It's an invention of that homemaker we all long to be, Ms. Betty Crocker. It's a new recipe for pancakes that includes Bisquick, candied bacon, eggs, and beer.
Wait a minute...hold the phone...there's something called CANDIED BACON and I've never tried it?
You can read the recipe for Beer and Bacon mancakes here, and find out how to make said candied bacon (it involves brown sugar) and the finished product. It actually sounds delicious. I do have a problem with Ms. Crocker on this one. Why is it only men that would find pancakes made with beer and bacon appealing? I think a lot of us ladies would love some one to heat up the griddle and cook us some of those.Â So why call them mancakes?
And now that you've got me going, what's the deal with flapjacks? Anybody hungry for flapjills?
What a great fall weekend! This past weekend was Autumn Harvest Fest in the Dells...with tons of fun for the kids...and even grown-ups like me.
Of course I was beside myself with excitement at Dells on Tap, tasting micro-brews from around the state. Admittedly, I had sampled a lot of the varieties before, but did find some new tasty treats. Moosejaw Brewing Company in the Dells has a new pumpkin brew that I thought was delicious. Mike thought it was too sweet...but I thought it tasted like pumpkin pie in a glass. Believe it or not, I had never tried Point's 2012 Black Ale, which is said to be "inspired by the mystery of the Ancient Mayan round count calendar." It didn't taste too mysterious to me...but it was good, and if you enjoy a malty ale that's not bitter, I recommend it.
Another fun part of the day was getting to judge a scarecrow stuffing contest. Kids of all ages get to pick through old clothes that are provided and create interesting scarecrow characters. As always, there were some great ones!
Thanks to every one at the Wisconsin Dells Visitors Bureau for showing us such a great time!
Want to see more Autumn Harvest Fest photos? Click here!
Another Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival has come and gone.
Once again Mike and I had a great time...saw a lot of friends and tasted a lot of great beer. Unfortunately, we didn't take notes so we really don't have any new beers to recommend.
I did find a cool shirt (see photo) from the Point Brewery. I wonder how long it will be before Yoko finds out about it and sends a friendly little cease and desist letter.Â (I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the Beatles faces have been photoshopped out and replaced with Point Beer Conehead guys).
I also came across some beers with clever or funny names..including the following:
U.S. of Awesome (Bluegrass Brewing Company, Louisville, Kentucky)
The Bride of Frankenshandy (Brewery Creek, Mineral Point, WI)
Goggle Fogger Hefe Weizen (Fat Heads, Olmsted, OH)
Hoppy Hoppy Joy Joy (Flossmoor Station Brewery, Flossmoor, IL)
I'll Be Bock (Stonefly Brewery, Milwaukee, WI)
Mark your calendars--the next Great Taste is Saturday, August 13th, 2011.
Any one who knows me I love free beer (if it's good beer). And you'll be guided to plenty of good beer, some of it free, if you pick up a copy of the newest edition of "Wisconsin's Best Beer Guide," byÂ Kevin Revolinski.
It's an updated version of a book he put out a couple of years ago..a book Mike and I put to use during our many beer tours of Wisconsin. The book includes entries on all the breweries, micro-breweries, and brewpubs in the state. And since a few have closed and many have opened since the last edition of the book, you really need to pick this one up.
The book gives you all the skinny about the different brews available, food options...and even other tourist-y things to do nearby.
Some interesting things you'll learn in this edition:
*Which microbrewery isn't allowed to picture bovine animals in its advertising
*Which brewpub is so green it's heated with solar panels
*which microbrewery is located in a campground
You'll also find out tidbits like alternative uses for beer cans (I actually own one of those crocheted Point Beer hats), the difference between ales and lagers, and beer history going back to the formation of the glaciers.
What about the free beer? Many of the breweries have special offers when you show them your copy of the book (like a free pint of beer or a free tour).
I highly recommend this book for beer aficionados who like to venture beyond the ordinary. It's well written, thorough, and often funny. But I do have one warning for you. It will make you thirsty.
Find out more about the book and the author here, or go see Kevin Friday (July 16th) at the Capital Brewery in Middleton.Â He'll be selling (and signing) copies of his book there, while you listen to bluegrass from Salt Creek.
One of my favorite things about this time of the year is that you can get so many yummy pumpkin flavored things.Â Yeah, I love pumpkin pie...but there's so much more! So far this year, I've had pumpkin muffins, pumpkin beer, pumpkin cake, and new this year...pumpkin ice cream! All super tasty!
Then I got to thinking--would there be any pumpkin flavored item that I would never eat?Â I don't know if any of these things exist...but I'm pretty sure I don't want to try them.
*Burgers with pumpkin filling
*Pumpkin tater tot casserole
*Pumpkin Krispies or Pumpkin Flakes(cereal)
*Eggs Benedict with Pumpkin Sauce
If all this is making you hungry--you've got a serious problem. But you can click here if you'd like toÂ check outÂ someÂ pumpkin recipes. Sorry though..no pumpkin filled burgers are included.
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