This is a seriously busy week for beer lovers in Milwaukee. A parking lot party at Ray's, a pair of big beer festivals, tappings of rare beers, a beer dinner or two, and even a 5K beer run should keep your sipping calendar full.
Wednesday, July 31
The Milwaukee Beer Society hosts a bottle share and picnic at Gordon Park (2828 N. Humboldt Blvd.) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Bring a 22-ounce bottle or two 12-ounce bottles of a unique or rare beer that you’d like to share, and something for the picnic potluck. With this group, it’s a certainty that you’ll see a few extremely limited brews.
Thursday, Aug. 1
The Wisconsin State Fair begins, and that means so do special release tappings at the Goose Island Ale House (which is next to the massive Budweiser Pavilion, of course). Tappings are at 3 and 7 p.m. each day, and begin with Bourbon County Wheatwine Ale.
The Brass Tap (7808 W. Layton Ave.) celebrates National IPA Day (yep, that’s a thing) with a tap takeover featuring selections by Bell’s Brewing and a few other hoppy standouts. Do yourself a favor and celebrate IPA Day with one of the best ever made, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.
Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub (1203 N. 10th St.) partners with Third Space Brewing for a seafood beer dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Try five beers and four courses, including seafood paella, for $85 (or $155 for two). Call 414-276-7271 to make a reservation.
The latest Beer Garden 5K takes place at Bender Park (4503 E. Ryan Rd.). The run starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $35.
Friday, Aug. 2
Bourbon County Stout is the special tapping at the Goose Island Ale House at 3 and 7 p.m.
Sample beers from City Lights Brewing from 2 to 5 p.m. at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow St.).
Saturday, Aug. 3
The third annual Wisconsin IPA Fest comes back to Third Space Brewing (1505 W. St. Paul Ave.) from noon to 5 p.m. The event features IPAs from 51 Wisconsin breweries and this year includes a collaboration IPA between Third Space and Central Waters. Tickets start at $15 for one of the can’t-miss fests of the year.
Take the trip to Pennoyer Park (3601 7th Ave.) in Kenosha for the Border War Beer Fest, a battle that pits Wisconsin breweries against Illinois breweries. Expect plenty of Cubs/Brewers and Bears/Packers banter during the fest from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45.
Head to the River Revitalization Foundation (2134 N. Riverboat Rd.) at 10 a.m. for a two-hour volunteering stint with Good City Brewing. You’ll be rewarded for your altruism. It’s free to participate, but be sure to register.
Three Floyds takes over the taps at The Brass Tap at 4 p.m. It’s a great chance to reacquaint yourself with Zombie Dust.
The Goose Island Ale House taps the delicious Bourbon County Midnight Orange Stout at 3 and 7 p.m.
Try beers from Dogfish Head at Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 4
Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.) throws a great parking lot party. The latest is the Pre-Great Taste Party with Central Waters Brewing. From noon to 6 p.m. you can sample 20 Central Waters taps, you can bet some will be rarities, sausages made by Bunzel’s Meats, adult slushies, and more.
The Goose Island Ale House will likely be one of the most popular spots at the Wisconsin State Fair at 3 and 7 p.m. because that’s when they’re tapping the crowd pleasing Bourbon County Vanilla Stout.
Miller Time Pub & Grill (509 W. Wisconsin Ave.) hosts a beer dinner with Third Space. The five-course menu features six beers from Third Space. The cost is $75.