Last Friday, I finally made the trip to hallowed ground of Three Floyds Brewery in a nondescript Munster (Ind.) industrial park. The drive takes a little more than two hours from Milwaukee (if Chicago traffic is moving) and is worth it to see where The Cult of Floyd originated, built on brews like Zombie Dust and Gumballhead that are tasty, and not always easy to get.
The Three Floyds brew pub comes complete with speed metal background music, a mishmash of wall art (the iconic Gumballhead the Cat hangs proudly over a large dining area) and dozens of unused tap handles adorning the walls.
The food is surprisingly above average, but the draw is obviously the tap list. Sixteen tap lines are devoted to Three Floyds brews, and some are beers you just don’t see in the real world. I went with a Rye’da Tiger double rye IPA, which was hoppy (go figure) and delicious.
A stop at the tiny carry-out section of the brew pub on the way out is essential. I adopted two six packs of Zombie Dust and a bottle of Stack N Stabb and promised to give them a good home (until they’re consumed, of course).
We’re fortunate in Milwaukee to be pretty close to a number of really good breweries. I recommend checking them out. But if you go to Three Floyds, try to do it on a weekday to avoid crowds of beer geeks.
Lakefront Brewery's 25th Anniversary
I took my first Lakefront Brewery tour in 1992 at the old Riverwest location on Chambers Street. I was a senior at Marquette, and for college students the tour made so much sense. Plunk down a few bucks, drink beer during a quick tour, and then head across the street to Suds (divey but in a good way) to redeem a coupon that Lakefront handed out for a free beer. It was quite an introduction to the brewery, and I've downed countless Riverwest Steins, Fixed Gears, etc. ever since. December marks Lakefront's 25th anniversary, which means it just might be time for me to take another tour.
God Bless Us, Every One
Keep Wednesday, Dec. 12 open on your calendar. Sneesby’s Denoon Saloon (W198 S10857 Racine Ave.) is hosting a Twelve Beers of Christmas Dinner from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The list of beers (opening each one is like unwrapping a little carbonated present) includes Three Floyds Alpha Klaus, Goose Island Christmas, Sierra Nevada Celebration and more. The beers are paired with eight small plates. The festive night out costs $80, but please note that reservations must be made by Dec. 9. Call 262-971-0171 for reservations and more details.
I managed to get a hold of a bottle of Bourbon County Cherry Stout, and now I feel pressure about picking the right time to drink it.
I’m hearing that there are still spots available on the amazing Tri-State Brewery Bus Tour hosted by the Hop Head Beer Tour Company.
Barley Pop of the Week
‘Tis the season for Christmas beers (tune in next week for a rundown of a few of them). One of my favorites is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. It’s a Christmas beer for hop heads who don’t care for sweeter varieties or the taste of nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. Its mild malty sweetness is tempered by a good amount of hop bitterness. If you like IPAs, you’ll like this holiday brew. Celebration indeed.
Tuesday, Dec. 4: Erv’s Mug (130 W. Ryan Rd.) hosts a Christmas beer dinner from 5-8 p.m. Try Christmas craft beers paired with delicious courses including a prosciutto stuffed chicken breast entree. The cost is $30. Call 762-5010 to make a reservation.
Wednesday, Dec. 5: Trocadero (1758 N. Water St.) hosts a Big Eddy Bier Dinner at 7 p.m. The four course dinner features this year’s just released Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout as well as the Big Eddy IIPA, Big Eddy Wee Heavy, and the Big Eddy Baltic Porter. Spots were filling up fast, but call 272-0205 to make a reservation.
Friday, Dec. 7: Try tasty imports Leffe, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow) from 5-7 p.m. Free Stella glassware with purchase.
Saturday, Dec. 8: Hinterland samples are available at Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m. Pick up some free glassware with a Hinterland purchase.
Saturday, Dec. 8: Spend the day at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.). Leffe, Stella and Hoegaarden samples will be handed out from 2-4 p.m., followed by Hinterland tasting from 4-7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8: Part of the fun of the weekly tasting at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) is finding out what beers are on the sampling menu. This week, it’s “sipping beers” from 4-7 p.m. I’m not sure what that entails, but I’m guessing the brews are big.
Sunday, Dec. 9: Head to Sprecher Brewery (701 W. Glendale Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to meet author Lucy Saunders and pick up a copy of her book The Best of American Beer and Food to put under the tree for the beer and food lover in the family. You can even sample Black Bavarian pork carnitas, which is one of the recipes in the book.