To the cynical (and realistic), Valentine’s Day is an excuse to sell greeting cards, a day to justify vastly inflated prices for red roses, and one of the worst nights of the year to make a dinner reservation.
But there are places to go to make Cupid’s annual visit more tolerable for beer lovers. Take your date to a spot that doubles as a good stop for Valentine’s Day and has a great beer selection. A few options:
Palm Tavern (2989 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) is dark and cozy and perfect for quiet conversation. And the bonus is that the beer list is exquisite. (Whiskey options abound too, which might come in handy if your date takes a turn for the worse.)
Von Trier (2235 E. North Ave.) has plenty of small tables to claim and a great atmosphere. It also has more than a few tasty German beers and free popcorn for those hoping to provide "dinner" on a cheap date.
Cafe Hollander has a pair of locations (7677 W. State St. and 2608 N. Downer Ave.) to choose from, and both are giving away a rose and free Stella Artois to the first 50 couples that show up. Tell your date that buying roses for everyone in the place was your idea and you’ll win points.
Nessun Dorma (2778 N. Weil St.) is an intimate spot tucked into Riverwest. Nothing says romance quite like a delicious panini and a few dozen beer options.
Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan Ave.) has a heart-themed title and logo and that has to count for something. Make up some ridiculous poem combining “burning” and “hearts” and read it to your significant other from a barstool while you fall in love with the friendly neighborhood bar’s amazing beer selection.
Food and Froth
The Milwaukee Public Museum (800 W. Wells St.) has been hip to this whole beer event thing for a long time. On Saturday, Feb. 16, the museum hosts the 15th annual Food and Froth Fest from 7-10 p.m. The big time event includes three floors of brew (more than 200 different beers) and food (sounds pretty good to me). Tickets range from $55 to $125 (for VIP early entry). Call 414-278-2728 for more info.
Barley Pop of the Week
Chocolate is a staple of Valentine’s Day. So it’s only fitting to mention Young’s Double Chocolate Stout as the beer of the week. I recommend drinking it with bittersweet chocolate shavings sprinkled on top (a trick I learned from Attebury’s Pub in St. Francis). The shavings add a nice chocolate aroma which brings out the hints of cocoa in the stout. Cheers.
Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day are two days apart this year. Those two “holidays” couldn’t be any more different.
Unfortunately, I tend to neglect Benno’s (7413 W. Greenfield Ave.) because it’s not in my jurisdiction – but their beer list is frequently impressive. Last week, the tap list included Black Husky Sproose Joose, Bell’s Hopslam, Three Floyds Gumballhead and Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute to name just a few.
Tuesday, Feb. 12: Learn about beer and wine food pairing from 6-8 p.m. at Sweet Mullets Brewing Co. (N58 W39800 Industrial Rd., Oconomowoc).
Wednesday, Feb. 13: The monthly Stubby’s U. meets at Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.) at 7 p.m. Bar manager/beer geek Sam Hutchinson guides attendees through a tasting of Wisconsin brewed rarities this month. Sounds like a winner to me. Call 414-763-6324 to reserve a spot in class.
Friday, Feb. 15: Lakefront co-founder Jim Klisch heads to the Uber Tap Room (1048 N. Old World Third St.) for a beer and cheese pairing at 7 p.m. Cost is just $10.
Friday, Feb. 15: Sixpoints brings its stuff to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4-6 p.m. Sixpoints is bringing the 3Beans porter, which has been generating quite the buzz.
Friday, Feb. 15: Try Killian’s Stout at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from 4-7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16: Sample stouts at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1-4 p.m.