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Draft & Vessel
The small storefront of Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) sits unassumingly among retail spaces in the heart of Shorewood. Inside, it’s a cozy haven for beer lovers and a great place to spend time. A small bar, made from reclaimed wood, sits in front of 16 taps, and small tables allow a couple dozen drinkers to cozy up to a brew. The well-chosen taps rotate constantly and pour a varied range of beer styles for in-store pints and to fill growlers. Thirty or so bottle options give patrons plenty of carry-out options. (On a recent visit, I was able to snag an O’so Bourbon Barrel-Aged Blackberry Night Train.) Draft & Vessel expertly combines a cool and quaint atmosphere with solid beer selections. Give it a try, but get there early. the small spot has a limited capacity.
Best of Beer Dinner Finale
The outstanding Best of Milwaukee Beer Dinner series wraps up for the year on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at Goodkind (2457 S. Wentworth Ave., Bay View). Food from some of the best restaurants in Milwaukee is paired with beer from the likes of Central Waters, Like Minds, Hinterland, Dogfish Head and Founders. The deliciousness starts at 6 p.m. and costs $95. Just a few tickets were available as of last week. Call 414-763-4706 to reserve your spot.
Barley Pop of the Week
I buy into the Bourbon County Stout craze, and the fact that I spent Thanksgiving in Chicago made that much easier. I corralled one bottle of Vanilla Stout and a four-pack of Coffee Stout on Black Friday. The vanilla ended up in my beer fridge for a later date, but I uncapped a bottle of the coffee and it was worth it. It has the same rich, boozy taste of standard Bourbon County Stout but with a coffee flavor that mellows the beer. Bourbon County Coffee Stout is one of the best beers I’ve had this year, so if you have the chance to try some, make sure you do.
By all accounts, Lakefront Brewery knocked it out of the park again with the Black Friday Imperial Stout release. The beer earned rave reviews, and it’s clear that in just three years this has become a huge, can’t-miss event.
Sprecher Brewery is releasing the limited CitraBomb Imperial IPA this week. The brew is dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe hops and only 80 barrels were created. Look for it in Milwaukee on Dec. 6 at Wisconsin Cheese Mart (1048 N. Old World Third St.) and Hi Hat Lounge (1701 N. Arlington Pl.).
A few weeks ago, Good Beer Hunting posted a great video of Solemn Oath making a trip to Wisconsin. Check out plenty of highlights from both Milwaukee and Madison.
Monday, Dec. 1: Rumpus Room (1030 N. Water St.) hosts a Great Lakes Brewing beer dinner at 6:30 p.m. The four-course meal includes a cask of Edmund Fitzgerald made with cranberries, a beer that you won’t see anywhere else. The cost is $45 and reservations can be made by calling 414-292-0100.
Wednesday, Dec. 3: Bierklasse features Trappist beers at Cafe Hollander (2608 N. Downer Ave.). The learning starts at 7 p.m. and costs $45.
Wednesday, Dec. 3: O’so Brewing takes over the taps at Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 3: Hinterland (222 E. Erie St.) hosts a five-course Destihl beer dinner, starting at 6 p.m. The cost is $65. For reservations, click here.
Wednesday, Dec. 3: Sprecher Brewery (701 W. Glendale Ave.) continues to offer unique beer dinners. The latest is a seven-course wild game dinner that features smoked alligator, frog legs, quail, elk sliders, venison and boar belly. The event starts at the brewery and moves to Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub at Bayshore Town Center (5689 N. Bayshore Dr.) for dinner. Cost is $65. Make a reservation here.
Thursday, Dec. 4: Central Waters brings the delicious Bourbon Barrel Stout and other treats to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from noon to 2 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 4: La Crosse’s Pearl Street Brewery brings samples to Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 5: Discount Liquor Waukesha gets a visit from Central Waters from 4 to 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 5: Taste samples from Great Lakes Brewing from 4 to 7 p.m. at Discount Liquor Milwaukee.
Saturday, Dec. 6: Deschutes is bringing something tasty to Discount Liquor Waukesha from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but as of yet I’m not sure what it is. Great Lakes hands out samples from 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6: Deschutes comes to Discount Liquor Milwaukee from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6: Try “sipping beers” at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.