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February is Perfect for a Block Party
It might be cold, but Burnhearts will warm up your heart (and palate).
Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan Ave.) is one of the best beer bars (or bars in general) in Milwaukee. They’re takin’ it to the streets on Saturday, Feb. 9 with Mitten Fest, an outdoor winter street party from noon to 6 p.m. Don’t worry about staying warm, Burnhearts is mixing up a batch of bourbon barrel-aged Old Fashioneds and serving rarities and barrel-aged brews from Central Waters, Founders, New Holland and Hinterland. Live music is highlighted by the outstanding Jaill (years from now you can say, “I saw Jaill at a block party” and wow your friends). Mitten Fest benefits the Hunger Task Force so bring nonperishable food items and winter clothing donations. Great bar, great event.

Great Turnout at Sugar Maple
Big-time kudos to Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.) and the folks behind Crayne-a-Palooza. The fundraiser for Brad Crayne, who’s battling cancer, took place last Saturday afternoon and drew a huge crowd of beer aficionados. The raffle and silent auction both had a slew of rarities (more Founders KBS bottles than I think I’ve seen in one place) and the tap selection was outstanding. I was lucky enough to get there early to try the Central Waters 15th Anniversary stout, a barrel-aged beauty that ran out in just a half an hour. The turnout was amazing and shows how cool the craft beer community can be. 

Mark the Calendar
Marc Buttera, founder of O’so Brewery, makes the trip from Plover to Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.) to talk about his path from home brewer to building an excellent craft beer brewery. The cost is just $20, which is a small price to pay to meet Marc and try tasty samples of O’so. Buy tickets now because events at Ray’s always sell out. 

Barley Pop of the Week
I’ve been curious about Mikkeller 19 for a while, so I was thrilled when I saw it at Ray’s Wine & Spirits. The IPA is made with 19 different varieties of hops, and while it would be nice to taste a steady march of hops flavors from Citra to Simcoe that’s not quite the way it works. The amber brew has a biting bitterness that’s more intricate than most IPAs. Hop heads should give Mikkeller 19 a try, but at $5.99 a bottle the rarity isn’t one you buy a lot of. 

Quick Taps
I heard great things from those who made it to Amherst for the Central Waters 15th Anniversary shindig. I also heard that the line to get bottles of the 15th Anniversary brew was pretty damn long.

Events Brewing

Thursday, Feb. 7: Head to the Milwaukee County Zoo for Wines and Beers of the World from 7-10 p.m. The cost is $40 or $50 for VIP which gets you in the door at 6 p.m. so you can get a head start on eating and drinking.

Friday, Feb. 8: Just in time for Mardi Gras...try Abita samples at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 S. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4-7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 9: Oconomowoc Wine and Brew Fest comes to the Olympia Spa and Resort (1350 Royale Mile Rd.) from 6 to 9 p.m. Lagunitas, Ale Asylum, Flying Dog and Oconomowoc’s own Sweet Mullets are a few breweries that will be there. Tickets $42.50 and proceeds go to the eradication of polio. Get tickets soon (link: oconomowocrotary.org), they expect a sellout.

Saturday, Feb. 9: Try samples from Abita at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from noon to 3 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 9: A free tasting of “Beers for your Valentine” at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1-4 p.m. What exactly does that entail? MKE Brewing Love Rock? Three Floyds Blackheart? Go to Three Cellars and find out.

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