You could call it Madison Craft Beer Week, part two!
The week leading up to the Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival August 9th is chock full of tasty beer offerings all over southern Wisconsin, with plenty of tap takeovers, beer pairings, and other events to get you psyched up for Saturday. Or more likely, allow you to get your fill of interesting new brews even if you couldn't score tickets to the sold-out event.
Isthmus put together an amazing and comprehensive list of events, which you can see here.
If you don't want to do all that scrolling, check out these highlights:
Sunday August 3rd Arts and Ales Festival at Hydro Street Brewing in Columbus. It's like a mini-Great Taste with beer from half a dozen area breweries, lives music and a homebrewers contest. Bonus: arts and crafts! (Vendors 9-4pm, beer and bands, 9am-9pm)
Wednesday August 6th Tap Takeover at Dexters. Try all kinds of varieties from Green Flash Brewing in San Diego and Oskar Blues (the brewery that brought you Dale's Pale Ale).
Thursday August 7th Beer sampling at Inn on the Park. Who knew this hotel on the square would get in in the Pre-Party beer action? Venture to Top of the Park for a tape takeover from St. Francis Brewery in the Milwaukee area. This brewery that names its beers after the seven deadly sins will have some special cask ales to try as well as a cucumber saison. Starts at 7pm.
Friday August 8th Brickhouse BBQ offers lots of choices in one place. How's this sound--25 different brews from Central Waters, ten from Shorts Brewery, and 12 from Hinterland. Starts at 5pm.
MOB the House Party. House of Brews on Helgesen Drive is having a big outdoor bash, with 20 or more different beers from House of Brews, Karben 4, Next Door, One Barrel and Vintage. Mobcraft, which crowdsources its beer ideas will be introducing another wild one--Rabbit's Bounty, which is made with carrots, walnuts, and brown sugar. Sounds interesting!
Remember, whether you're going to the Taste or not, sample responsibly! (Above photo taken by me at the Great Taste in 2012.)
Eric Clapton definitely has retirement in mind. He hinted to Rolling Stone recently that he may quit touring and recording, and only play for family and friends.
We can look forward to at least one more new Clapton record before he hangs up his Strat for good. Eric Clapton & Friends "The Breeze: A Tribute to JJ Cale" comes out next week, and is currently streaming for free in the iTunes store.
The album is a tribute to Cale, who died last year and was Clapton's close friend. Clapton had two pretty big hits with the Cale songs "Cocaine" and "After Midnight," so it will be interesting to hear what he does with other songs written by the blues songwriting master.
Collaboraters on the album include John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Mark Knopfler--each who certainly knows his way around a fretboard, so if nothing else this album is sure to have some crazy good guitar licks. Add to that JJ Cale's top notch songwriting, and this could wind up to be one of Clapton's best records in recent years. (Tom Petty and Willie Nelson also make appearances on the record).
The mayflies were out in full force over the past couple days. Now I've heard about these insects over the years, but have never experienced a mayfly swarm. I think I'm pretty happy about that.
Apparently the mayflies were so thick they showed up on National Weather Service radar! This fact intrigued me, so I thought I'd do a little investigating to learn more about these critters that show up in such massive hordes.
Lo and behold, I found this informative, and creepy, video on youtube.
That's a quote from blues guitar great Johnny Winter, who died on Wednesday in Zurich, Switzerland. He came to prominence in the late 1960's after he was featured in a story in Rolling Stone magazine, put out 20 albums and produced some others that were pretty amazing--three for Muddy Waters, and the hit song "Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo" for Rick Derringer.
I got a chance to see Johnny Winter twice--first at the Belleville Blues Festival, where I got to introduce his band (along with Triple M's Gabby Parsons), and again at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010. While he appeared to be quite frail on both those occasions, he could still play the hell out of the guitar.
Here he is at Crossroads, playing what might be the BEST version of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61."
There's something about the allure of Star Trek that made this song by Information Society extra special.
It went all the way to #9 on the charts in 1988 for the band based in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to wikipedia, the band got the permission to use samples from Star Trek in the song because one of the band's members was friends with Leonard Nimoy's son!
A lot of Pink Floyd fans got a little bit excited over the weekend, after the wife of David Gilmour announced that a new Pink Floyd album would be coming out this October.
Even though Roger Waters wouldn't be a part of it, the idea of the first new songs since Division Bell was certainly intriguing. But now a spokesman for the band says, in not so many words, that the new album will be made up of leftovers from the Division Bell sessions back in the early '90s...instrumentals and ambient music.
What? I guess some never-before-heard jams from that era could be interesting. But let's face it, it's not nearly as enthralling as the idea of brand new songs.
While we wait to see what comes of this new album, enjoy this video in which the band seems to be in an unusual mood.
Can a song be so horrible that it's actually awesome?
Well, if that is possible, here is an example: Alice Cooper's emotional ballad "You and Me" from 1977. I'm not sure we could think up a more hideous lyric than "we shared a bed, some popcorn and TV...yeah."
Alice (aka Vincent Furnier) took this song all the way up to #9. And that's probably the biggest reason that Alice Cooper (the band) and not Alice Cooper (the solo artist) made it into the Rock Hall.
Johnny Cash recorded a version of Sheryl Crow's 1996 song "Redemption Day" before he passed away...and now Crow makes use of it in a new video. The song, with back and forth vocals from each of them, is haunting, and made even more so through the images used in the video.
Usually I'm not a fan of resurrecting dead people for new performances, but somehow I think this one works. Do you agree?
In Madison, we have a musical legend in our midst. He is none other the The Funky Drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, who drummed for James Brown, and has had his drumming sampled in more songs than any other.
An effort is underway to honor Clyde, and...
We went a little bit country for this morning's World's Worst iPod song. BJ Thomas went all the way to #1 on the pop, country and easy listening charts with the song ("Hey, would ya play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song." It was in the...
The iconic Bruce Springsteen album Born to Run was released 40 years ago today. This album is an undeniable classic. Even if the title track were the only memorable song, odds are people would still be buying this record today. But "Born to Run" also...
Did you ever know that you're my hero? Bette Midler's song "Wind Beneath My WIngs" went to Number 1 in 1989. It was featured in a movie about death "Beaches," and has probably been played at countless funerals.
It's probably because of the...
We tried something new today with the World's Worst iPod...pitting two really horrible songs against each other and letting the listeners pick which one gets played in its entirety.
We must thank one of our favorite listeners, who goes by "Crazy...
Aside from drinking beer and checking out everybody's humorous beer-related T-shirts, one of the best parts of the Great Taste of the Midwest is all the creative names that brewers come up with for their concoctions.
This year was no...
So the internet has been flooded with drinking games in advance of teh first GOP presidential debate. (Okay I saw two). What I haven't seen yet is a drinking game for those of us who don't really want to get hammered on a Thursday night.
Lionel Richie was on fire in the 1980's with an amazing string of hits that included "Say You, Say Me," from the movie White Nights. It was number one on the charts for four weeks in 1985 and was the #2 song for the entire year.
It even won an...