Season of Beer Festivities

David | Blog | August, 19 2010 | No Comment

In the Midwest, summer is a great season for beer festivals, and who doesn’t love a great beer festival?

A few days ago I was in Wisconsin for a beer festival that has one of the best settings of any in the world. The Great Taste of the Midwest is held each August at Olin-Turville Park in Madison. Festival goers enjoy the shade of ancient oaks, lounge on grassy hills and gaze across Lake Monona at the Wisconsin State Capital. There are also more than 100 brewing companies serving more than 500 beers and vying for the attention more than 2,000 attendees. The whole thing lasts just five hours.

I’ve been attending the Great Taste since 1996. I usually take the bus trip organized by the Chicago Beer Society. I’ve had my glass filled from a Nebuchadnezzar by Larry Bell, I’ve heard some of the most outrageous and sublime music, and I’ve gotten a stamp, stepped out the gates and taken a swim at one of Madison’s public beaches in between sips. One year I drank almost nothing but Kolsch. This year was as wonderful as any. Bell’s Brewing was celebrating its 25th anniversary with numerous special beers, including many that had not seen the light of day in years. There were plenty of beers from breweries that are not distributed in Chicago including Shorts, from Michigan and Wisconsin’s own Ale Asylum. I also enjoy visiting those Chicago area breweries I know well, and this year I had a chance to say hello to Half Acre and taste the Gomorrah Small Stout from Revolution. I love big, full flavored beers, and I tasted a number of them including the ever-so-pop Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but I’m also a session beer fan, so I was thrilled to see that most of the brewers had at least one beer with an ABV of around 5%. I tasted several of those.

The Madison Homebrew and Taster’s Guild which does a fine job as organizers, believes that the GTOM may be the second oldest modern beer festival in the United States. A much younger event takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. this Saturday in Downtown Oak Park, Ill. The Oak Park Microwbrew and Food Review is another outdoor event that began just two years ago. Organized by Seven Generations Ahead, Downtown Oak Park and The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the festival’s 3rdannual presentation will include more than 75 beers from 25 breweries from Illinois and adjacent Midwestern states. Oak Park restaurateurs showcase samples of select dishes, incorporating sustainable and organic food. And, for the first time this year, the festival will be the host event for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild’s Replicale event, with this year’s style being American Pale Ale. The festival is held on Marion Street, a block east of Harlem, just off Lake. There will be a VIP party held at Marion Street Cheese Market from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Check the Seven Generations website for ticket availability and more details.

If you like this post please share it with others
Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Twitter

© Copyright Reserved Cheese And Cheers 2010. | Site Admin | Log out
Design by: Yoshz