After a brief nap, I’m slowly recovering from the DRAFT Magazine-sponsored 2013 Wisconsin Beer Lover’s Festival and want to share the highlights while they’re still in my mind. Disclaimer: I didn’t get to sample everything during the 4-hour festival, so this is just my own limited perspective. Did you try something outstanding not listed here? Let me know in the comments.
Best food Madison’s Great Dane andouille sausage sliders topped with creole mustard and crisp pickles, and paired with an American Pale Ale.
Runner up Chocolate BrewCakes, the cupcakes made with beer frosting.
Biggest surprise Point Brewing Company’s Chai Tea Porter had just the right amount of spice. As the Wisconsin State Journal’s Chris Drosner pointed out, a sampling might be the perfect size for this type of beer.
Runner up Sassy Cow Creamery’s Beer Milkshakes
Strongest beer Sprecher Brewing Company’s Russian Imperial Stout is a formable beer at 9 percent ABV. But then age it in bourbon barrels and it re-emerges as 11 percent ABV Czar Brew. Спокойной ночи!
Runner up Capital Brewing Company’s Capsized Imperial IPA says it all in the name, at 9.4 percent ABV. I sampled this offering about 3-4 beers in, which was my official welcome-to-the-festival moment.
Celebrity sighting DRAFT Magazine’s own Jonathan Surratt, aka Beerinator (above left)
Runner-up The mother of DailyMile‘s co-founder, who recognized me from the runner and biker’s social network and stopped to introduce herself. She told me there will soon be a new overhaul for the site.
Up and comer Sheboygan’s 3 Sheeps Brewery has come out strong right out of the gates with offerings that rival much more established breweries. Their Waterslides IPA is a dark horse to become my go-to summer beer.
Brewery I wish I spent more time at South Shore Brewery
Runner up Titletown
Second runner up All of them
Best name Smokin Hemp Porter by Pearl Street Brewery.
Runner up Northwoods Brewpub and Grill Wall-IPA. Only in Wisconsin.
Blast from the past When you’re at a beer fest the temptation is only to drink the new, craziest and most exotic beers. But every once in awhile it reacquaints you with a great beer you haven’t had in a long time. Such was the case for me with New Glarus Black Top IPA. Next time I’m at the store I’m picking up another six pack.
Unsung hero award Mother Nature, for threatening thunderstorms then delivering a perfect day. We owe you a beer.