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Mitten Fest 2014
It might be an outdoor party, but the beer will warm you up.

Keep Saturday, Feb. 8 open, and plan to head to Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan Ave.) for Mitten Fest from noon to 8 p.m. The outdoor party includes rarities by Central Waters and Founders, barrel-aged Old Fashioneds (yum), live music, a cold weather craft fair and food. The beauty of the event is that it benefits the Hunger Task Force. Last year, Mitten Fest brought in 1,125 pounds of food, 50 bags of clothing and more than $1500 in cash donations. 

“We want to use the event as a platform to bring awareness to the fact that while we are partying in the cold, there are others struggling to make ends meet,” says Burnhearts owner B.J. Seidel. “We partnered with Hunger Task Force and asked customers in lieu of a cover to bring nonperishables and warm weather clothing to donate to our neighbors who need a little extra help to make it through the winter safely.”

Seems to me that Mitten Fest is a win for everyone involved. 

More Fighting the Winter Blahs

Cold weather be damned. Props to the Oconomowoc Rotary Club for helping us take our minds off of the frigid temps and let us all focus on beer. The eighth annual Brewfest takes place at Olympia Resort and Spa (1350 Royale Mile Road, Oconomowoc) from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. More than 25 brewers (including Three Floyds, one of my favorites) are headed to Lake Country, and for just $50 you can join them. Not too many beer fests take place in the dead of winter. Thank goodness there’s at least this one.


Barley Pop of the Week

Some beer drinkers revel in the return of Bell’s Hopslam, and others think the hype is overdone. I’m in the former category. The IIPA has made it to Milwaukee, and I recommend trying it if you haven’t already. Hop bitterness is tempered with citrus flavor and a slight sweetness that balances it all out. This winter has been miserable so far; Hopslam makes it a little more tolerable.


Quick Taps

Jelly Belly announced its first beer-flavored jelly bean. It’s a Hefeweizen. No word on if there will be any barrel aging going on.

Last week, the Journal Sentinel had a nice snapshot of new Wisconsin breweries, both already running and on the horizon. I really think that Milwaukee was a little late to the table on this one, but it’s nice to see that Brew City is catching up to the new brewery trend. 

Enjoy the Super Bowl folks. I recommend sipping on a nice warming stout, in the comfort of your home or bar, while you watch fans that are actually at the game freeze at MetLife Stadium.


Events Brewing

Monday, Jan. 27: Every night from 6 to 8 p.m. (until Wednesday, Jan. 29) Blackbird Bar (3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) hosts Wisconsin Beer Week. This means tastings of Wisconsin brews. Monday is Capital, Central Waters, O’so, Ale Asylum and Door County. Tuesday is New Glarus, Tyranena, Milwaukee Brewing, Sprecher and St. Francis. It wraps up on Wednesday with Lakefront, Potosi, Vintage, 3 Sheeps and Stevens Point. A great way to sample some local gems.

Friday, Jan. 31: Lakefront Brewery hands out samples of Big Easy Bock, Beerline Barleywine and My Turn John Cherry Lager at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 1: Ale Asylum brings a ton of samples to Discount Liquor Milwaukee from noon to 2 p.m. and Upland Brewing shows up from 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 1: Lakefront makes a trip to Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from noon to 3 p.m. and Ale Asylum is in the house from 3 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 1: “Big Beers” are on the menu for the weekly free tasting at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.). Try perfect winter brews from 1 to 4 p.m.

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