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Plus the right beer for your Valentine and a stellar New Glarus sour.

The Value of Fresh

In his latest newsletter, beer guru Tom “Grynder” Ciula mentioned a great article by Christopher Shepard at All About Beer Magazine about the freshness of IPAs. One fascinating point made in the article is the fact that West Coast beer drinkers are asking servers less about what’s on tap and more about what just tapped, and the fact that IPAs that reach the 30-day mark are past their prime (a reference to Logan’s Run here just dates me doesn’t it?).

Grynder makes a good point; many of the IPAs being poured at newer local breweries are likely taking the place of those made by out-of-state brewers.

The modern-day proliferation of craft breweries certainly plays into the need for freshness for beer styles like IPAs. There’s something appealing about being able to head to Good City, The Fermentorium, Third Space or some other area brewery to get a good beer that I know is fresh.

I often hear from people wondering if the Milwaukee brewery scene is too crowded. Nope. We’ve already seen local taverns devote more tap lines to the locals. If that trend continues—and if each brewery is able to do at least one beer really well—I’m all for even more area breweries popping up.

New Breweries Help Hop Head Tours Too

In January Hop Head Beer Tours started the River North Beer Tour  on Saturdays in Milwaukee. The $60 bus tour starts at Lakefront and heads to Good City, Black Husky and the Bavarian Bierhaus. It’s a great tour that hits some great breweries. But think of this, that tour wasn’t possible one year ago. At this time in 2016, the River North tour would have begun and ended at Lakefront because the other three didn’t exist.

Barley Pop of the Week

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Every time I try a sour brew from New Glarus I’m amazed at the balance that brewing genius Dan Carey manages to achieve. The 2017 Enigma Sour Brown Ale is the latest example of that. A complex cherry tartness mellows with a hint of oak and the flavor never gets too painfully tart at the finish. It’s another delicious winner from New Glarus.

Quick Taps

Good City Brewing (2108 N. Farwell Ave.) is teaming up with the United Way  on March 4 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. to help pack snack bags for Milwaukee youths in need. The brewery asked for 20 volunteers, and the Eventbrite page says that all spots are full. Good for Good City and good for Milwaukee.

Paste Magazine has your obligatory Beers for Valentine’s Day article. Writer Emily Price provides some solid suggestions.

Founders announced the dates and details for this year’s KBS Week . So, if you’re planning on making a trip to Grand Rapids, clear your calendar from March 6 to 11 and hope that you snag a ticket, they go on sale on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Events Brewing

Tuesday, Feb. 14: The Brass Tap (7808 W. Layton Ave.) is appropriately hosting a chocolate and fruit beer tap takeover for Valentine’s Day. There are plenty of highlights, but trying Founders’ new Frootwood Barrel-Aged Cherry Ale is tough to beat. See the full list on the Brass Tap’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, Feb. 15: Members of the Milwaukee Beer Society share their creations during Homebrew Night at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 15: If you didn’t get a chance to try the barrel-aged Crack The Skye Imperial Stout at the Three Floyds tap takeover at Ray’s Growler Gallery last week, you have another chance. Champps Americana (1240 S. Moorland Rd.) is letting Three Floyds take over its taps. Crack The Skye is in the lineup of a dozen brews that also includes Permanent Funeral IIPA—one of Three Floyds’ best that’s even better on tap.

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Wednesday, Feb. 15: Café Benelux (346 N. Broadway) hosts the Sexual Chocolate Bierklasse. Bring a date and be ready to sample beers with chocolate and fruit in the mix. Valentine’s Day candy in a glass. Tickets are $30.

Saturday, Feb. 18: O’so brings a few sours to Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.) at 6 p.m. The lineup includes three proprietary Ray’s brews including Golden Ray of Sourshine, Raydiant Sour and Blackberray Berliner Weisse.

Saturday, Feb. 18: “Two flavors in one” beers are the subject of the weekly sampling at both Three Cellars locations (7133 S. 76th St., Franklin and N72 W13400 Lund Lane, Menomonee Falls) from 1 to 4 p.m. Show up to find out what that means.

Saturday, Feb. 18: The 19th annual Food & Froth Fundraiser takes place at the Milwaukee Public Museum (800 W. Wells St.) from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets start at $75. The event includes roughly 50 breweries and a host of food options.  Plus, it raises money for the museum.

Saturday, Feb. 18: It’s the weekend for beer fests with staying power. The 20th annual Midwinter Brewfest comes to the Milwaukee Ale House (233 N. Water St.) from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $45  and proceeds benefit the MACC Fund.

Sunday, Feb. 19: The theme for the monthly bottle share at The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) is “beers you love.” So, head there at 5:30 p.m. with a couple of small bottles or one large bottle of a beer that you’re crazy about. Offering the story about how you two met is optional.