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Great Lakes: Wisconsin

June/July 2000 issue (page 2)

MILWAUKEE/SOUTHEASTERN WISCONSIN


Milwaukee Ale House was one of the more active hosts for conference goers who needed to relax and let loose after long days of conference sessions and judging. The Ale House was the site of a Briess Malting Company-sponsored social, a real ale tasting, and more. Entertainment included a performance by the BarleyWhiners, a gathering of musically-inclined brewers. Wisconsin brewers up on stage included Art Lies (Nicolet Brewery), Eric Brusewitz (now back at the Great Dane), and Milwaukee Ale House proprietor Mike Bieser. Folks at the Ale House were particularly pleased by partaking of pints of pleasing Penny Pickart Porter but there were all the other Ale House beers as well, and guest taps from a variety of other Wisconsin craft brewers.

Milwaukee Ale House has gotten recognition for more than its beers and the brewer-musicians who sometimes play there. The musical lineup at the Ale House can be quite impressive at times and you can't beat the atmosphere for live music. The Ale House was recently named Wisconsin's Music Venue of the Year in the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) awards.

The Ale House is also known for sponsoring a number of charity events. The next one will be the second annual Prosit and Paddle canoe race June 3 on the Milwaukee River, to benefit Camp Heartland. This is not your average canoe race. Paddlers start at Lakefront Brewery for a mandatory first "Ein Prosit," proceed down the river for a stop at Rock Bottom, and complete the race at Milwaukee Ale House for a final prosit and as many repetitions as desired, with paddlers on the deck and music on a barge in the river. Did I happen to mention that each canoe tows an empty half-barrel as part of the race? The winner receives the coveted "Golden Growler," good for a free fill every day for a year.

Lakefront hosted two "Late Nights at Lakefront" for conference-goers and served a number of beers from other local breweries as well as their own beers. Lakefront's blond doppelbock was one of the big hits, and was also one of the four beers chosen to accompany the four courses of the awards banquet on Friday.

Those who attended the "Late Nights" got to see Lakefront's "new" used 60 HL Huppmann copper brewhouse Lakefront acquired from Franconia Brewing Company in Pennsylvania. (Huppmann is the German manufacturer of New Glarus Brewing Company's beautiful copper brewing equipment.) The old banged-up kettles with which Lakefront made its first beers are still in the brewery, but out of service after having been used to make many batches of great beer. One batch on the new system, Jim Klisch notes, puts out about the same amount of beer as their total sales their first year.

A new batch of Lakefront's Beer Line barleywine is out, but some savvy conference goers made sure to sample from the three-year-old keg of Beer Line that was on as one of the guest taps at Milwaukee Ale House during one of the many social events they hosted.

They aren't quite in the neighbourhood anymore, but Lakefront will continue to play a major role in Riverwest's Locust Street art and music festival, June 11, in the area of their original brewery location. The brewery sponsors one of the music stages, but the big kickoff for the festival is the famous Beer Run, a 1.8 mile race featuring four mandatory beer stops, two of which will feature Lakefront products. Nondrinkers may also participate in the run, but are ineligible for awards.

Lakefront has a new Chicagoland distributor, Global Beverages.

Sprecher hosted a couple of big events during the conference, including a reception for visiting World Beer Cup judges to get them in the right spirit for the two days of hard work they had ahead of them, covering the range of styles from their Pub Lager (formerly Milwaukee Pilsener) to Doppelbock and Russian Imperial Stout. You'll notice some packaging changes when you find Sprecher products in your favourite stores. India pale ale is the current seasonal. Rock Bottom-Milwaukee was a busy place during the conference, with the American pale ale among the standout beers, and an India pale ale also put on tap the day of the realbeer.com party. Oddly, Water Street Brewery didn't host any major special events for the Craft Brewers Conference, but that didn't stop me from checking out what they had on tap. Brewmaster George Bluvas' specialty offerings included a nice, hoppy steam beer and a wit. The new Water Street Lake Country in Delafield is now open.

Across the highway from WSLC, Delafield Brewhaus' Millennium Tripel was selected for a World Beer Cup award. The golden-coloured Belgian-style ale brewed with pilsener and wheat malts, and Belgian candi sugar is a light-bodied but warming ale, checking in at 9.5% alcohol. Some well-aged kegs of the award-winning beer have been reserved for the Great Taste of the Midwest. Delafield's Mary Ann Watt reports that John Harrison and Dana Wolle will be brewing another batch in June so the brewpub will have more to serve at the real beginning of the Millennium, she notes.

In addition to the regular beers at Delafield, look for Bengal Bay IPA (on nitropour), Fruhlingzeit Maibock, Old No. 27 Barleywine, Freistadter Pils, and Katzenjammer Dunkelweizenbock. Back in time for the July 4 will be the Hops & Glory American Ale, brewed with ample amounts of Cascade Hops. The Brewhaus has also introduced a Mug Club.

Kenosha firefighter and brewmaster Dave Norton didn't get called to the scene, but an April 7 kitchen fire damaged Brewmasters' Pub (South), and the pub has only recently reopened. No one was injured. Norton reports that he and co-brewmaster Jim Johnson may return from their involuntary mini-vacation from the brewery to brew a "Fire Brau" with some of the salvagable grain. Dave, I don't think that's how they smoke the malt in Bamberg, but I hope you get good results if you do it. Longtime area homebrewer Art Steinhoff will be joining Norton and Johnson as a brewing apprentice. Don't miss the annual Southport Beer Festival, June 17, at the Midwest's first brewpub.

While the Great Lakes Brewing News crew was looking for Saturday breakfast in downtown Milwaukee, we happened upon former Great Dane assistant and Fox River brewmaster Al Bunde at work in the under-construction Stout Brothers Brewing Company. The brewery is in but, contrary to reports seen elsewhere, he had not begun brewing yet. Look for an opening sometime this summer. Another new brewery will also be opening in the area, this one in Cedarburg. Three homebrewers, Steve Venturini, Steve Roensch, and Todd Schneeberger, are building Silver Creek Brewing Company in the historic Landmark Feed, Seed, and Supply Company building. The 15-barrel brewery will be located in the basement of the building, which they will lease from the Cedarburg Landmark Preservation Society.


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Updated 22 May 2000
Bob "Now go have a beer" Paolino

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