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Nostalgic Christmas
An old Miller ad and Grynder's picks for beer experiences for 2014.

Oddly enough, this old Miller ad is a vivid memory of mine from Christmas past. It’s subtle and doesn’t talk about some sort of can or bottle gimmick.

Grynder’s Picks of the Year

Local craft beer aficionado/ambassador Tom “Grynder” Ciula listed his top 11 “beer experiences for 2014" in his informative weekly email newsletter. Occupying the 11th slot was a tasting of fall beers at Romans’ Pub that Milwaukee Magazine hosted a few months ago. Thanks for the mention, Grynder. 

Other events of note: the Discount Liquor Beer Festival during Milwaukee Beer Week, Black Friday at Lakefront Brewery, the Great Amherst Beer Festival at Central Waters, and the Brad Crayne fundraiser at Sugar Maple. (I can attest to that one, it was a great experience and had an insane amount of quality beers in the auction and raffle.) 

I have to say I’m envious of Grynder’s No. 1 beer experience. He made a trip to Pembine and spent a few hours hanging out and sharing delicious Black Husky beers with owner Tim Eichinger. Great beer surrounded by the scenery of northern Wisconsin sounds pretty good to me.

Incidentally, Grynder also put out a list of the best beers (new to him) that he tried in 2013. New Glarus Brewing’s 20th Anniversary Ale took the top spot.

Barley Pop of the Week

Last summer while visiting a friend’s lake house in Twin Lakes, I stopped by the International House of Wine & Cheese (which actually resides just over the Illinois border in Richmond). The store, which always surprises me with its beer selection, had a few Firestone Walker Parabola bottles on the shelf. Last week, I opened one. The barrel-aged imperial stout was dark and boozy but still remarkably smooth with a nice hint of bourbon. My only regret after finishing it was the fact that I didn’t buy two.

Quick Taps

Here’s hoping it’s a merry Christmas for all you craft beer lovers out there (and everyone else too).

Barrel-aged Alesmith brews crept into Milwaukee recently. Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.) had a few, but I’m guessing they went quickly.

I’m intrigued by the latest My Turn Series beer from Lakefront Brewery. My Turn John is a sweet dark cherry lager that will be released in mid January.

I returned to the International House of Wine & Cheese (see above) for a recent Christmas party at the previously mentioned lake house. On the shelf this time were a few Bourbon County Proprietor’s (shocking) and Bourbon County Barleywine four packs. Needless to say, I bought some.

Events Brewing

Saturday, Dec. 28: Taste brews from local Big Bay Brewing from noon to 3 p.m. at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.)

Saturday, Dec. 28: “Thick beers” are on the sampling menu at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m. Perfect for winter.

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