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Brew Cats
Drink a beer while staring a lion in the face and learn the philosophy behind beer and cheese pairings

Photo © Brewers Association

Wisconsin Flavor at the Great American Beer Festival
They hand out roughly 8 million medals at the Gread American Beer Festival (held in Denver in mid-October), but that doesn’t make getting one any less cool. Plenty of beers with Wisconsin ties went home with hardware.

Gold medals went to Point Oktoberfest and Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale, New Glarus Hometown Blonde, Great Dane’s Uber Bock, and Central Waters’ fantastic 1414. 

Silver was earned by New Glarus for its Staghorn Oktoberfest, Lakefront’s Fixed Gear, Leinie’s Summer Shandy and Miller Lite.

The horrendous Mickey’s Malt Liquor (brewed by Miller) claimed bronze in the American-Style Specialty Lager/Cream Lager category. I’m just the messenger.

I Drink, Therefore I Am
The Philosopher’s Guide to Beer Tasting at the Cheese Bar (1048 N. Old World Third St.) on Friday, Oct. 26 is a decidedly unique beer and cheese pairing. Trevor Smith, a philosophy doctoral candidate at Marquette University and a cheese monger at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, pairs four cheeses with four Wisconsin beers, but also adds a philosophical perspective to each tasting. Locke’s theory of perception, Aristotle’s thoughts on causation, Wittgenstein’s private language argument, and existentialism’s understanding of nothingness (appropriately applied to Swiss cheese) are all on the lesson plan. Learning starts at 7 p.m. and costs just $10. 

The bar recently added 24 taps, which ups its tap total to an impressive 36. It doesn’t take a deep thinker to know that’s a good thing.

Big Beers with Big Cats
Beer tastings pop up all over the place, but they don’t always happen at the Milwaukee Zoo (10001 W. Bluemound Rd.). Zoo Brew takes place at the zoo’s U.S. Bank Gathering Place and the Peck Welcome Center on Thursday, Oct. 25. And, oh yeah, Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country will be open so you can sip a beer while staring a lion in the face. More than 20 breweries (including Woodman Brewery which always has some oddly flavored concoctions) and nearly 20 food vendors will be handing out samples. General admission tickets are $40 ($35 for Zoo members) and VIP tickets are $50 ($45 for members). The event runs from 7-10 p.m. but VIP ticket holders get access to food and drink at 6 p.m. 

Barley Pop of the Week
I don’t really drink lagers anymore. There are just too many other styles to try. But I’ve always had a soft spot for Yuengling. The Pennsylvania-based brewery, which is now the largest American-owned brewery (a bit of bar trivia you can use on friends), was introduced to me years ago by my Pennsylvania-based Braun cousins (no relation to Ryan Braun, unfortunately). The Yuengling Traditional Lager has an amber hue, a hint of malt and is easy to drink. It’s actually a nice respite from the palate punishing IPAs that have become my favorite. Yuengling isn’t available in much of the Midwest, but the Braun family delivered a case during a visit two weeks ago. It’s already gone.

Quick Taps

Last week’s tap takeover by TheBeerFridge.com at Burnhearts was packed. (For the record I drank Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout. Delicious.) The website is the creation of John Lavelle. I’ll have more details on the soon-to-launch site next week.

New Belgium announced the release of Frambozen Raspberry Brown Ale last week. 

I’m looking forward to trying Milwaukee Brewing’s Louie’s Resurrection, a bourbon barrel aged amber. Look for it on tap on Halloween and in bottles shortly thereafter.

Events Brewing

Wednesday, Oct. 24: Sample all four Big Eddy series beers at a five-course beer dinner at Tess (2499 N. Bartlett Ave.) hosted by Dick Leinenkugel. Reservations are $54 and can be made by calling 414-964-8377.

Friday, Oct. 26: Blue Moon hands out samples of Belgian White and Harvest Pumpkin at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 27: Haunted Brew Fest at Horny Goat Hideaway (2011 S. 1st St.) means samples of 75 craft beers from a range of breweries and world-class cheeses. Tickets are $40 (general admission and 3 p.m. entry) and $60 for VIP, which gets you in the door at 2 p.m. and includes an appetizer buffet. Come in costume; it’s encouraged. 

Saturday, Oct. 27: Taste some new brews from Milwaukee Brewing Company (including Sasquash Pumpkin Porter) from noon to 3 p.m. at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.). Blue Moon brings Belgian White and Harvest Pumpkin from 3-4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 27: Colorado beers are the free samples from 1-4 p.m. at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.)

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