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Behind Craft Brewing
Details on American Craft Beer Week, and some local events for beer aficionados.

                                                        Photo via Shutterstock

What Craft Beer Is All About

American Craft Beer Week runs May 12-18. I’m not sure what that exactly means around here, but it’s a good chance to recognize craft brewers (more than you normally do, I suppose). I can think of no better representation of what craft brewing is all about than this awesome 10-year anniversary video by Shorts Brewing in Bellaire, Michigan (who, by the way, makes some damn good beer). All 10 minutes of this video are worth watching.


Craft Beer “Week” South of the Border

Chicago’s Craft Beer Week (which, incidentally, is 11 days long) starts on May 15. Check out the massive list of events and pick a day to head south. If you do, there are a few other obligatory stops:


Hopleaf (5148 N. Clark St.) is easily one of the best beer bars I’ve been to, and the chances of stumbling across a beer you’ve never had (or heard of) are pretty good. I was there a couple of years ago and tried a Three Floyds Cimmerian Sabertooth Berzerker IIPA. I haven’t seen it since.


Map Room (1949 N. Hoyne St.) is another classic. A huge bottle list and excellent taps are the reason it’s always crowded.


A great beer garden, good barbecue and a huge beer menu make Sheffield’s (3258 N. Sheffield) worth the trip. And a fridge full of hard-to-find bottles in the back bar doesn’t hurt.


Fountainhead (1970 W. Montrose Ave.) entered Draft Magazine’s Top 100 Beer Bars in America list in 2013. Its beer list is solid, and the rooftop beer garden is worth the trip alone.


If you want to load up the car with beer that you can’t get in Wisconsin, Binny’s Beverage Depot (multiple locations) certainly has made a name for itself for its massive selection. But also try spots like Vas Foremost (2300 W. Milwaukee Ave.) or The Beer Temple (3185 N. Elston Ave.), which are smaller but have plenty of quality, well-thought choices.


Barley Pop of the Week

I realize that Lakefront Brewery’s Extended Play was highlighted last week, and with My Turn Johnson IIPA, the folks at Lakefront earned another mention. My Turn Johnson is slightly malty, unabashedly hoppy and quite likely my favorite beer from our friends on Commerce Street. The beer is more proof that Lakefront is doing things right.


Quick Taps

I’ve heard rumors about another big-name craft brewer extending its reach into Wisconsin. I’ll pass along the details once I get confirmation.

The Solemn Oath tap takeover at Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan) last week earned a rave review from one attendee I talked to. Burnhearts does it right when it comes to takeovers.


Events Brewing

Wednesday, May 14: The Milwaukee Beer Society hosts a Bock and cheese tasting at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost is $10.

Wednesday, May 14: Bierklasse returns to Cafe Benelux (346 N. Broadway) and dives into saisons. Saison DuPont and St. Feullien Saison are just two on the tasting list. The learning starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $30 Click here.


Friday, May 16: I recommend heading to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4 to 6 p.m. to try samples of Furthermore Viking Afternoon. The IPA has a hint of cherry wood smoke flavor and is one of the most interesting new beers I’ve tried recently.

Friday, May 16: Uber Tap Room (1048 N. Old World Third St.) pairs Tyranena brews and four Wisconsin cheeses. Genius. Tickets are $14, and the tasting starts at 7 p.m. Click here to buy.

Saturday, May 17: If you miss the Furthermore tasting on Friday, head to Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from noon to 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 17: Amber beers are on the tasting menu at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.

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