Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beer, Beer and More Beer

The heat of August is upon us (well, sort of) and one of Madison’s favorite warm-weather festivals is here. This weekend Olin Park becomes the scenic site of beer-drinking decadence as over 100 brewers set up for sell-out crowds at the 23rd annual Great Taste of the Midwest. Oh, we love our beer!

The festival is all about taking beer drinking and brewing to a new level. Sample beer straight from the “firkin,” unfiltered and twice fermented beer served from the cask, then head over to the educational tent to learn about pairing beer with chocolate and cheese. The beer selection is unprecedented, and creative, leaving me wondering how all of the educational information will be retained later: Mississippi Mocha Coffee Stout, Sting Like a Bee or Collaborative Evil, anyone?

The only caveat? Tickets sold out in May. If you are among the lucky ones who won a lottery to purchase tickets, or among the dedicated that lined up early at the sales outlets, then enjoy! The rest of us can still sample great Midwest microbrew beer at various venues around Madison. One of my favorites is The Malt House, which just reopened and features outdoor seating. Unless an X-rated novelty shop is your thing, the 'scenery' at the corner of E. Washington Avenue and Milwaukee Street is not quite as nice as Olin Park. On the other hand, when you’re outside enjoying a beer with friends, who cares?

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