Monday, August 9, 2010

Guide to the Great Taste

You're in town for the Great Taste. Or, perhaps you find yourself in town and want to know what the deal is. Well, MBR is here to answer your questions. Following is an itinerary and some helpful hints for navigating the Great Taste of the Midwest on August 14, 2010 at Olin Park.

The celebration of beer has turned into a full week of events, dinners, and parties. Your week will kick off on Monday:

Madison Beer Review and Kevin Revolinksi appear on the Dan Potacke Show at The Frequency at 6:30pm. A night of a comedy talk show centered around beer replete with a free beer tasting led by your fearless writer (that's me, if you were wondering).

Tuesday is an off-day, so relax with the new New Glarus ABT that is now on shelves (review eventually). Vintage is having a Unibroue Beer Tasting, $10 tickets are available at Steve's Liquor (thanks Jesse!).

WednesdayAlso on Tuesday is a beer dinner at The Alchemy. New York brewery Southern Tier is invited to pair its beer along with the fine chefs at The Alchemy for a great craft beer fix.

[ed note: not really sure how I got this on my calendar as Wednesday. Sorry for the confusion]

Wednesday: Nothing, to my knowledge.

Thursday is a Bell's beer dinner (warning: pdf) at Brickhouse BBQ starting at 7pm. Bell's beer tasting at Star Liquor from 4-7 (thanks again, Jesse).

Friday is full of pre-Great Taste (the "Great Waste") Parties, which I'll cover below.

Saturday is, of course, The Great Taste of the Midwest. Please take a cab or walk if you can. Cabs from the Great Taste are only $1 to go to your hotel or home (not to go to a bar or restaurant, sorry folks).

Sunday, for the first time ever, is a Kegs and Eggs event at The Old Fashioned. What is Kegs and Eggs? Well, from 9am to 2pm you can get $1 taps of any beer (what!?). A breakfast special of 2 sunny side up eggs, 1/4lb of bacon, rosemary potatoes, toast and a pint of any beer for $10.95. A great deal!

View GT Preparties (courtesy MHTG) in a larger map

Now, for your Friday evening parties:

West Side
- Jordan's Big 10, come on down! (but please turn off that damned music on your website) And bring Stone Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing Company with you. Typically one of the first events to start, the taps turn on at 4pm and will Jordan's will become "normal" again at 9pm. (location: Regent/Monroe)

- Brasserie V: Shelton Brother Importers are taking over the taps with beer from Jolly Pumpkin, Haandbryggeriet, Dieu Du Ciel!, and more. Updated taplist: Serafijn Pale Ale, Kaimai Porter's Rye Ale, Mikkeller Monk's Brew
Mikkeller Rauch Geek Breakfast Stout, Nøgne-Ø Imperial Brown Ale
Haandbryggeriet Odin's Tipple, Christoffel Bier, Christoffel Wijs, De Ranke Saison de Dottignies, Dieu du Ciel! Aphrodite, Kulmbacher Mönchshof Kellerbräu, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bier, Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam (location: Regent/Monroe)

- The Mason - Crispin Cider - I've been assured this is a must-see event! Crispin rolls big and there are sure to be some interesting ciders and perrys on tap! So, if you want to get your cider on - hit up The Mason at the corner of W Washington and Park Street (location: near west).

- Vintage Brewing Company - Vintage and Furthermore Beer - get your hippie on and enjoy some of the most innovative beer in Wisconsin. Along with Kevin Eichelberger at Red Eye, Marc Buterra at O'So, and Mark Duchow at The Grumpy Troll, Brewmasters Scott Manning of The Vintage and Aran Madden of Furthermore make some of the most interesting beer in the state, if not the Midwest. So, you get two-for-one here. (location: West Side)

- The Grumpy Troll - The Grumpy Troll - duh. Head on out to Mount Horeb and hit up The Troll. With any luck the sour peach is still on tap - it is an awesome, soft, fruity, but not over-bearing, sour beer that is a highlight of the Troll's Summer of Sour. (location: Mount Horeb)


- Brickhouse BBQ: Shorts Brewing Co. and Central Waters will be on-tap hosted by - updated Taplists!! Central Waters: Peruvian Morning (coffee stout), Bourbon Barrel Barleywine (one of my favorite Wisconsin beers), Bourbon Barrel Stout (world famous), and Illumination IIPA (yum!). Shorts: Huma Lupa Liciuos (similar to Dark Horse's Crooked Tree), Key Lime Pie (wha?!), Black Licorice Lager (OK, gotta try that), and Good Humans (uhhh...) (location: Downtown)

- Barriques on West Washington: Hinterland Brewery will be bringing some special kegs to put on tap. Stop in for a nice cup o' joe to keep you awake while you party. Heck, have some great artisan cheese and grab some munchies too. (location: Downtown)

-Maduro: Bells will take over all the taps to celebrate their 25th year of brewing. Keep an eye for Bells at the Great Taste itself - 25 taps and their own tent! (location: Downtown)

- The Cooper's Tavern - Summit Brewing Company - A number of Summit Brewing Company taps including a special cask-conditioned ale. Brewmaster Mark Stutrud will be on-hand for the festivities. (location: Downtown)

- Natt Spil (211 King Street, if you've been looking for an address) - Lake Louie Brewing Company - unknown if Brewer Tommy Porter will be there or what will be on tap, yet. But Natt Spil has some great wood-fired pizza. From one of the owners, Prentice, Brewer Tim will be there (get better soon, Tommy) serving Coon Rock, Kiss the Lips, Tommy's Porter, Warped Speed, Arena Premium, and, maybe, just maybe, if you ask really nicely, a sixth barrel of Louie's Reserve will be go on tap. DJ Nick Nice will kicking out the jams. Starts at 3pm til bar time. (location: Downtown)

- The Haze - Lagunitas - 5-6 taps of hoppy Lagunitas beer. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Madison. Seriously, the pulled pork here is amazing and it happens to go very, very well with hoppy IPAs. So, grab some dinner, enjoy one of the the California hopsicles and get your evening started right. (location: Downtown)

- King and Mane - New Holland - the new name for the old "Local", King and Mane, just around the corner from Maduro (Bells) and Old Fashioned (everything!) is slightly more upscale-ish these days. Which is a good fit for New Holland, if you ask nicely, I'd be willing to bet the reps might have some of the gin or "hopquila" hidden somewhere. In the meantime, enjoy the 87,000 versions of the Mad Hatter. Check in throughout the evening as the rumors are that a cask might be tapped at some point. (location: Downtown)

- Old Fashioned - Red Eye and Dave's Brewfarm - in a class with very few others, Red Eye is, like Hansel, so hot right now. The beer birdies tell me that a very special Red Eye will be tapped, for its world premier, at Old Fashioned on Friday night - the scuttlebutt is that Brewmaster Kevin Eichelberger will be introducing a Double-IPA based on the recipe of the Thrust IPA. Also on hand will be brewmaster Dave Anderson of Dave's Brewfarm helping to pour the Brewfarm Select and Matacabras. Manager Jen will be on the road Wednesday and Thursday picking up beer from every small brewery she can so that they will be representing many of the hard to find beers (please Calumet Dark, Rye or Oktoberfest, please, please, please!!). I should have a full taplist for you soon! (location: Downtown)

- Francesca's al Lago - Goose Island - Moving from Sardine's to Chicago-based chain Francesca al Lago next to Starbucks (and near The Coopers Tavern, Maduro, Old Fashioned, King and Mane, and Barriques) on the square, Goose Island will be bringing their new-found sophistication to the party. (location: Downtown)

East Side:

- Alchemy: will have Upland Brewing Company from Indiana on Friday, August 13th. The Upland Ard Ri Imperial Red is one of my favorite midwestern beers. (location: Atwood/East)

- The Glass Nickel - Founders Brewing Company - located near Alchemy, Malt House, and Dexters, The Glass Nickel has some of the best pizza in town. Oh. And Founders ain't so bad, either.

- The Malt House - O'So Brewing Company - not sure yet which brews will be poured, but Founder and Brewer Marc Buttera will be there to sign autographs and kiss babies. Taps will be: Barrel-aged Night Train, aged Black Scotch, aged Dominator, Picnic Ants, and their new Hop Whoppin' (location: East/Atwood)

- Dexter's Pub - Pearl Street Brewery and Flying Dog - The gang at Pearl Street will be here to say hello and you'll have a wide assortment of 7 different selections of wonderfully bold Pearl Street beer to choose from including Dankenstein IIPA and the new Rubber Mill Pils. Dexter's to Malt House to Alchemy to Glass Nickel (or vice versa) is a great, easy stumble ... er ... walk. And you'll get Pearl Street, Flying Dog, O'So, Upland, and Founders. That's a pretty good night if you ask me. (location: East/Atwood)

- Ale Asylum - The Ale Asylum - not too far from the other East-side locations, few do it bigger and bolder than Brewmaster Dean Coffey. The Tripel Nova and Satisfaction Jacksin are on tap and tasting great. (location: East Side)

- Drackenberg Cigar Bar - Potosi Brewing Company - Ex-Bells Brewer, Steve Buszka will be there to answer whatever questions you can throw at him. Personally, I'm really excited about this one. Even though Drackenbergs is next to impossible for me to get to, it's a great little cigar bar with a fun, rotating taplist. (location: Near North/East)

OK. I think that's about Everything. Sorry for the length of this post, but that should cover it. I will have some updates as taplists get finalized through the week. If you see me out and about (I'll be the one in the beige-ish brown Madison Beer Review shirt!), please say hello, I promise not to bite (unless that's your thing).

One last note about transportation:

PLEASE DO NOT DRIVE IF YOU WILL BE DRINKING. Cabs will be plentiful this weekend. The #6 bus will get you everywhere that you need to be, so be patient and take the bus for some cheap ($4.50 for an all-day pass) transportation around town. If you insist on driving, please have a designated driver and be careful - Madison is not exactly the easiest town to get around in, so make sure you have directions (and even then you'll still get lost, I assure you).


  1. Tuesday isn't an off day. Vintage has Unibroue! Tickets available at Steve's. That's where I'll be.

  2. Oh, and Star Liquor has a free Bell's tasting on Thursday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

  3. FYI - the Southern Tier Beer Dinner at Alchemy is Tuesday not Wednesday

  4. Any word on times for these events?

  5. Thanks Anon, not really sure how that got on my calendar as Wednesday.

  6. In response to Adam's question. The Brickhouse/ party with Central Waters and Shorts will start at 6pm.

  7. Nattspil, 211 King Street:
    Lake Louie Tasting - Friday, 3pm - till bar time
    Tim, brew master from Lake Louie will be on hand. Tommy Porter will be getting knee surgery, and so won't be able to make it.
    DJ Nick Nice on the decks.
    Beers on Tap:
    Tommy's Porter
    Coon Rock Cream Ale
    Warped Speed Scotch Ale
    Arena Premium Ale
    Kiss the Lips
    (and Maybe a 1/6 of Louie's Reserve)

  8. Thanks Prentice! Straight from the horse's mouth, folks.

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  10. Didn't the Haze close? I found a link claiming that Lagunitas is at Coopers.


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