Madison Craft Beer Week gets underway this Friday with far too many events for even the diehard beer lover to take all 350+ of them in. I suggest perusing the list of tastings and picking some favorites. Planning ahead for reservations-only events helps, since some will fill up soon if they haven’t already. Case in point: because I dilly-dallied, I’m currently #7 on the waiting list for Craftsman Table & Tap’s Beerology “class” on sour beer. That said, it’s also worth remaining spontaneous enough to be open to unexpected discoveries. If your hoped-for venue is impossibly overcrowded, head to a nearby one instead. Or if the beer you wanted to try has all been drunk, ask what else is available that might be interesting.
Both of Madison’s premier beer reviewers have lists of events that they’re looking forward to; find Robin Shepard’s here and Chris Drozner’s here. They’ve also both written about this year’s edition of Common Thread, the collaborative beer produced by a whole bunch of the area’s best brewers; check out Shepard’s article and Drozner’s review.
Aside from the sour event at Craftsman that I may or may not get into (fingers crossed!), here’s a chronologically ordered sampling of events that I’m eager for:
1BBL Tap Takeover & CBW Kickoff Party
Friday, May 3 – all day, One Barrel Brewing Company
For the first time ever, we will have all twelve of our tap lines serving One Barrel Brewing Company beers! We’ll also be releasing our very own dry hard cider to celebrate the start of Craft Beer Week. Our Master Brewer hand-pressed over 600 pounds of apples at Ecker’s Apple Farm in Trempealeau, Wisconsin to get – you guessed it – One Barrel of finished product.
Belgian Special Beer Tasting with Paramount Merchants
Monday, May 6 – 5:00pm to 8:00pm, Brasserie V
We will be offering a flight of five unique and harder to find Belgian beers. Three beers from the Belgium Brewery Malheur – the champagne like Biere Brut Reserve and on tap the Malheur 10 and 12. Also, from Timmermans, a blanche Lambic type beer and a sour red, Bourgogne des Flanders.
Alaskan Smoked Porter Vertical Tasting
Tuesday, May 7 – 5:00pm to 10:00pm, Tipsy Cow
This is the most awarded beer in the history of the Great American Beer Festival and you have the amazing chance to taste five “vintages” of this great beer. We will be selling a vertical tasting the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Alaskan Smoked Porter. An experience like this does not come around often…make sure you don’t miss this one.
Old World/New World Beer Tasting
Wednesday, May 8 – 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Brasserie V
Brewers in England, Germany, and Belgium have spent centuries perfecting beers: American brewers have been inspired by them and made fine beers in a much shorter history. Compare and contrast as we enjoy each delicious flight of five different styles from Scotch Ales to Tripels.
For additional info, including the event schedule and more, head to the Madison Craft Beer Week website. If you’ve got a smartphone, also be sure to download the app; I’ve used the Android version and so far have found it to be excellent!