Milwaukee Beer Week is back with a new website, another passport, and seemingly bigger and better events. There will be beer.
Combing through all the bars & restaurants participating can be a little daunting. Picking your poisons can be as well. The following are events that I feel will most likely be the brightest this year. You’ll be able to find me at the majority.
Saturday April 26
The annual 4pm beer week firkin kick-off is in full effect again, with your usual craft-pouring venues tapping casks. I’ll probably opt for places like Hotel Foster, Steny’s, World of Beer, or Benno’s. It’s always a surprise what firkins are tapped where, so go with your heart, I guess?
Not on the official event listing is the Bottle Trade Event at Hoyt Park @ The Landing in Tosa. Craftbeercompass has officially declared this the first of its kind during the week – you can check out his event listing here. Goes from 3:30-5pm.
If you’re not into the guessing game when it comes to firkins, Finks has a Lagunitas L’il Sumpin Sumpin they’re tapping at 5pm. It’s also bring-your-own-vinyl night there, so dust off your momma’s 50’s showtunes records and show the eastsiders what’s up.
Sunday April 27
3Sheeps Brewery and Collectivo Coffee get together for a coffee & beer-themed brunch at the Iron Horse hotel from 8am-noon. You do not need reservations for this event, just stop in between the times mentioned. The 3 Sheeps founders will be going from table to table with beer flights as well, I’ve heard. The Collectivo coffee used in the Cortado Stout and Hello, My Name is Joe porter (I think?) should caffeinate your morning well.
After the shakes subside, it’s worth checking out Discount Liquor’s “Crafts & Drafts” event, being held at Hart Park this year. Heard some great reviews of the charity event last year, with rare Euro & American beers abound. As of this post, not sure how many VIP/General tickets are still available – but there is a commercial on the radio promoting it.
If you’re not able to get into C&D, Points East is showcasing big ABV% beers all week, including the Ommegang Game of Thrones series, which are usually fun. Appearances by North Coast, Avery, and Epic are on the list as well there I think. Can’t go wrong with a dozen wings!
Monday April 28
Sanford, arguably the best fine-dining restaurant in Milwaukee, is hosting a “cellared” beer dinner. Each course is expertly paired with a brew that’s been carefully aged over a few years. Long story short – if beer dinners are your thing, this will be one that will become legendary. I’ve heard that this event has been planned for almost a year and features cellars from a few restaurants, bars, and private owners’ own reserves. If you have the money and the time, I highly suggest going to this. Not sure on price or # of seats, but I have a feeling that people will be talking about this one for years to come.
If your budget doesn’t allow a Sanford dinner, the other big event of the evening is the rare beer tapping at Palm Tavern. Barrel-aged beauties from a variety of suppliers will certainly pack this cozy spot. 6pm is the start time, and you can bet many of the kegs are small and will run dry quickly. Don’t miss this one, if you can squeeze in.
After Palm Tavern, head northeast to the nautical-themed Blue Jacket for an evening with 3 Sheeps flights and appetizers. If the weather is nice enough (unlikely), maybe the garage-door-wall will be opened. For what it’s worth, this Monday looks to be one of the marquee nights for Milwaukee Beer Week. Tuesday a.m. outlook: sucky.
Tuesday April 29
Plenty of food-inspired events to choose from today. A 7-course Central Waters pairing at Palomino is intriguing. To the west in Waukesha, Bernie’s Tap Room is tapping KBS for all you hunters that didn’t score a bottle (myself included). Both of those are neat & all, but you’ll find me at Roman’s for the Goose Island, Charcuterie & Cheese event, which starts at 5pm.
Wednesday April 30
At this point, I’ll probably need to take a vacation day to recover from the previous few days. That vacation day will come to a screeching halt as Landmark 1880 puts a few Avery specialties on tap at 2pm. (Liquid lunch, anyone?) Afterwards, grabbing dinner at Tess sounds like a good idea, as their annual Goose Island beer week beer dinner kicks off around 6pm. I can’t stress enough how great beer dinners are at Tess – I’ve been to 5 of them now. While many other venues can lack in execution, the people at Tess are true professionals when it comes to putting these on. If you’ve never been to a Tess brew dinner, make your way over and enjoy how it’s done.
Tradition does come into play though, as Burnhearts brings a flock of herons at 6pm. Their Central Waters takeover event always brings limited and one-off suds just for beer week. A plum-infused beer, a cask of illumination with added pineapple and coconut, and the juggernaut anniversary brew ’16’ will be on tap, among many others. I’ll…need a ride home. Might be a good time to test out Uber. I’ll never test Lyft as I will never enter a car that has a pink mustache on its grill. I mean, that just seems like common sense.
Thursday May 1st
A Surly beer dinner at Rumpus? Is this for real? Can it be? I can barely find the words to convey my excitement. NO REALLY, this is happening! Spots are filling up quickly though, so if you want in, I’d call soon. Don’t know much about this one right now though.
If that event is full, head over to the revamped Spin (now EVO) and play ping pong while sipping on a KBS, Sweet Repute, or Centennial IPA. That event starts at 6pm, and you’d be high not to go.
If ping pong isn’t your thing, head over to The Stone in Bay View for some specialty tappings from Boulder Brewery. Always enjoy my time at the Stone – just a great neighborhood spot that I feel needs a bit more attention. Or don’t go, that’s fine too.
Friday May 2nd
Friday in Wisconsin means Fish Fry’s everywhere. Beer Bistro, Trocadero, Benno’s, Tess – pick a place and enjoy regional tradition.
The barrel-aged beer and spirits event at Prodigal is where I’ll be though. One of my new favorite spots in Milwaukee. Always has an eclectic beer and bourbon list, and the food is wonderful. Virtue cider will be pouring at this event, which is reason enough to go. A barrel-aged Oskar Blues brew is icing on the cake. Call for reservations.
Saturday May 3
Beer week comes to a close. We’ll stumble out of bed with bloodshot eyes & shriveled livers, ready to close out the insanity. How about some cocktails to switch things up? Boone & Crockett has you covered.
In my opinion, the big event of the day goes to World of Beer on Brady St, which is throwing up 30 (!!!) New Belgium taps. Proceeds benefit the Wisconsin Humane Society, so I’ll definitely be in attendance. Felix Rarity, La Folie, and their Lips of Faith collaborations will be mine.
Otherwise I heard great things about the Sugar Maple Sausage Party last year (a sentence I never thought I’d write), so I may check that out if there’s time between Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond. I have a feeling Sugar Maple will be tapping some things not even mentioned on the beer week paraphernalia, so don’t be surprised if you wander in during the week and see something on draught that…shouldn’t be there…but is.
Another great event to close beer week is the Central Waters, New Glarus, Sprecher, 3 Sheeps beer & cheese pairing at Wisconsin Cheese Mart/Uber Tap Room. Decisions decisions – it’s a difficult life we all lead.
Final reminders: Drink Water. Be nice to people and your bartenders. Taxis are smart. Enjoy good beer.
Thank you for reading.