After just five months of operation, it’s clear that the guys at Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa) are onto something. Tap takeovers and unveilings of proprietary beers have become events, a fact clearly illustrated recently during the introduction of RAY-ley’s Comet a few weeks ago. When the doors opened at 11 a.m., a crowd was waiting and ready to fill empty growlers with the new stuff from Karben4.
A solid beer selection is part of the draw, but the proprietary beers, created by area breweries especially for Ray’s, are what makes the place unique. Ray’s beer guys Orey Laev and Kaleb Schwecke spent time barnstorming breweries in Wisconsin to develop relationships that result in these special brews.
“While we’ve been fortunate to partner up with some of Wisconsin’s best brewers, the main goal was not to have a bunch of beers simply to call them house beers or exclusives,” explains Laev, Ray’s marketing director. “It all started with a conversation about the concept of Ray’s Growler Gallery acting as a platform to showcase ‘artful’ works of beer.”
The list of proprietary beers tapped so far includes Hinterland IrRAYsistible Rye, O’so RAYdiant Sour and (the delicious) RAY-ley’s Comet. More are on the way, which is a good thing for craft beer fans.
“To have an idea sprout up years ago and finally see it blossom and be embraced by friends, beer lovers and even other brewers is beyond amazing,” adds Laev.
Lakefront Brewery tapped into Black Friday madness in a good way when it started offering a one-time brew in 2012. The response has been solid, and I expect it to be quite an event this year on Friday, Nov. 28. The 2014 brew is an Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels, which I expect will draw quite a crowd. An early morning line is inevitable and bottle sharing is encouraged, so bring a rare bottle or two to swap with other beer aficionados.
Barley Pop of the Week
A chill in the air means that porter and stout season is upon us. Central Waters makes those better than most, and Mudpuppy Porter is a tasty example. Mudpuppy combines chocolate and dark malt flavor in a drinkable 5.5% ABV brew. Put it in the regular winter rotation.
The Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers (FOBAB) takes place this weekend in Chicago. I’m not going, but I hope some of you are.
Fill out an entry form at The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) between now and Dec. 7 for the chance to win free beer for a year. That’s a free growler filled each week for all of 2015. Check out the rules.
Wednesday, Nov. 12: The Milwaukee Beer Society samples rye beers at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost, per usual, is $10.
Thursday, Nov. 13: Romans’ Pub (3475 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) taps a fresh unpasteurized and unfiltered Pilsner Urquell barrel. Give it a try starting at 5 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 14: Pearl Street Brewery brings samples from LaCrosse to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 14: Delicious Duvel samples are on hand at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 14: Officially kick off the holiday season at the release party for Lakefront Holiday Spice at The Local (807 S. Fifth St.) starting at 9 p.m. Cost is just $5.
Saturday, Nov. 15: Duvel returns to Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 15: Try winter beers at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.