Monday, August 10, 2009

The Great Taste of the Mudwest

Fred Swanson of the Madison Homebrewers & Tasters Guild called last Tuesday. The conversation went something like this:

Fred: Are you and Paris coming to the Great Taste of the Midwest
this weekend or what?

Me: We don't have tickets.

Fred: I have tickets for you.

Me: We're there.

(Follow along with the Google Earth Map.)

So we flew to Madison on Friday, dodging thunderstorms all the way. Our first stop after checking into the hotel was the Great Dane in Madison's Hilldale section.

Great Dane Pub and Brewing — Hilldale

Good beers there, as we've come to expect from Great Dane, and the boneless wings were fantastic.

We found ourselves sitting next to Kevin and Mary from Wausau's Red Eye Brewing. They mentioned that their next stop would be Capital Brewery, and it happened to be ours also.

Capital Brewery, Middleton WI

Kevin & Mary having a Capital time

We decided to visit a bar we'd never heard of, but that has a good reputation for serving top-notch beers. This would be Dexter's Pub, and this night they featured beers from Michigan's Dark Horse Brewing.

At this fun bar, we met a fun couple. Amanda and Wayne are Madison locals who enjoy a good beer as much as anyone I know. They accompanied us to the nearby Malt House — or Union House, depending on who you ask — which we had visited last time we were in town. We had a few pints here; the only one that made it into the notebook was Steenberge Atomium Grand Cru.

We were at the hotel by 1:30am or so. Just as it had rained most of the day, it rained most of the night. It was pouring down rain when we crossed the street for breakfast on Saturday. This did not bode well, as the Great Taste is an outdoor festival. Indeed, Olin-Turville Park was quite a mud bowl when we arrived.

After Fred handed over our tickets, Paris cast a spell to make the rain stop. And it worked. And the sun came out. And the temperature rose to the mid-90s. And waves of humidity boiled up from the waterlogged ground. But there was plenty of fresh water for glass-rinsing and drinker-hydrating, and we made our rounds.

Nebraska Brewing, Papillion NE

Delafield Brewhaus, Delafield WI

Dragonmead Microbrewery, Warren MI

White Winter Winery, Iron River WI

Red Eye Brewing, Wausau WI

O'so Brewing, Plover WI

Hinterland Brewery, Green Bay WI

Fat Head's Brewery, North Olmstead OH

Swiss musical entertainment. The observer's shirt on the left reads: If you get drunk, you'll die. If you don't get drunk, you'll still die. So get drunk!

Titletown Brewing, Green Bay WI

Cumberland Brewery, Louisville KY

Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Superior WI

Brugge Brasserie, Indianapolis IN

Harrison's Brewery, Orland Park IL

Casks in the Real Ale Tent

23rd Street Brewery, Lawrence KS

Half Acre Beer Company, Chicago IL

Bull Falls Brewery, Wausau WI

Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center MN

Muskie Capital Brewery, Hayward WI

Ohio Brewing, Niles OH

After a much needed cool shower and some time off our feet, we met up with the crew from Nebraska Brewing along with some homebrewing friends from Menasha at the Malt House. The conversation was a bit subdued, and the beers didn't go down very fast; the day's heat had taken all the energy out of us. We called it an early night, and flew home on Sunday.

Here are a couple of articles about the weekend's festivities:


chookov said...

sounds like big fun!
that fred must be some special guy to keep you on the phone that long . . .

Mike Engel said...

Hey, guys! You forget to mention meeting your favorite homebrew buddies, Jeff, Dave and Mike. A real bunch of SOBs! It was a fun day and I was wondering how that rain stopped. Thanks, Paris! I also have a picture to add to your blog. How do I do that?

Richard Stueven said...

Hey Mike!

Sorry about that! Things got pretty murky after all that beer on Saturday. Send me the picture, and I'll post it for you!

have fun

P.S. We went to an SOB meeting this weekend: the South Omaha Brewers. We wore our Oshkosh SOB shirts in your honor.

Kelly said...

I'm glad you made it! It was a blast! I wrote about the Great Taste myself:

2009 Great Taste Blog!