First, sorry for the lack of a post on Monday, but I was recovering from a long weekend of beer. On Friday, Madison Beer Review had the honor of sponsoring a hole for the Downtown Madison Optimist Club's golf event. Mrs. MBR and her helper elf served the beer, I golfed. If you look really closely you can see the MBR logo on the hole sign there :)
Saturday was Thirsty Troll, and Sunday was the Packers and Bears game. Monday was recovery day.
The summer has the glory of The Great Taste of the Midwest, but the fall has the quantity. Every weekend is a veritable cornucopia of beer-soaked bacchanalia. It started last weekend with Thirsty Troll in Mount Horeb and Autumn Brew Review in Minneapolis. This coming weekend is the Great Lakes Brew Fest, then LaCrosse Oktoberfest and Quivey's Grove Beerfest.
Thirsty Troll - September 12, 2009
The neighborhood get-together of beer fests. It's not a big, reputation-building event. It's not meant to be. It's just a bunch of locals getting together to drink lots of good beer and hang out on a gorgeous early-fall afternoon. This year was no different. Nothing too special was brought in, though Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter was the group favorite - a rich, roasted coffee and alcohol almost-stout with a citrus bite; perfect for the coming fall months. For some friends in from Chicago, the Ale Asylum Ambergeddon and Tyranena's Bitter Woman rounded out the top 3. It seems that Sand Creek and Furthermore have had some recipe tweaks; the Cranberry Ale isn't nearly as tart (which is a good thing!), and the Oscura seemed a lot less coffee-like and more Mexican Lager-like than I had remembered it being. Either O'So didn't bring enough beer, or people really liked Marc Buttera's brews, because O'So was cleaned out almost an hour before closing time; based on the lines at his booth, I'm guessing the latter.
Autumn Brew Review - September 12, 2009 - Minneapolis, MN
I know, it's not in Wisconsin. But, it does seem like it attracts a lot of Western and Northern Wisconsin folks. For example, Pearl Street, Viking and Rush River were all conspicuously absent from Thirsty Troll. But, more importantly, I think, this was the official launch of David Anderson's BrewFarm: "I'm pouring six different beers I brewed on my pilot system at the Autumn Brew Review - my 'big' debut you could say. My contract brews are coming together and should have one or two ready to go by the end of OCT. Ran into a snafu with my brewing kettle - the firebox looks like a grenade went off inside and is currently unusable. Working on a retrofit that's gonna take some time." You can read some great coverage over at Beer Geek Heaven, the blog of Frank at The Nova in Hudson, WI.
Great Lakes Brew Fest - September 19, 2009 - Racine, WI
All this week is Milwaukee Beer Week (great info about MBW at the Beer Buffalo Lodge), culminating in the big Milwaukee/Chicago-area blow-out that is The Great Lakes Brew Fest. Tickets are still available and they're only $39 for a whole day of drinking. Plenty of shuttles are available from hotels and bars all around the city, so you don't have to drive anywhere. Again, BBLodge.info has, well, the .info. But, I do know that Pearl Street is bringing their Smokin' Hemp Porter, which makes me very, very happy.
La Crosse Oktoberfest - September 25 - October 3, 2009 - La Crosse, WI
Call it NotSoberFest if you want, but it's an institution and one of the biggest, baddest, specific-law-exemption-havenest keggers in the Midwest, if not the US. You're not going to get a whole lot of craft beer, but you will get a whole lot of beer. It's a party, so enjoy it. UPDATE: Wednesday, September 30th is Craft Beer Night at the Oktoberfest; it's not exactly clear what this entails, but it goes from 5-8pm and will presumably feature at least a few La Crosse-area, Wisconsin and Minnesota breweries. I'm trying to get some information about this for you.
Quivey's Grove Brewfest - October 3, 2009 - Madison, WI
Quivey's is one of the longest running craft beer festivals around. A great mix of in-state and out-of-state breweries, there's always something for everyone. Tickets are still available, though the remaining 250 will go quickly, so get your tickets now!
UPDATE: Dells On Tap - October 17th - The Dells, WI
Dells On Tap is part of the Autumn Harvest Fest in The Dells. It only costs $25 and you get 5 hours of drinking (1pm - 5pm) in the middle of Leaf Season in The Dells. The Dells' central Wisconsin location and the late nature of the festival (it's one of the last of the fall) means that it is well-attended by breweries from all over the state.