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One of craft beer's founding fathers launches this week in Wisconsin with bottles, cans and a number of draft events.

A rapid expansion of quality craft breweries and the growth of breweries on the local level have made it tougher on older and bigger craft stalwarts. Those who began a couple decades ago by stealing shelf space from the big brewers are now competing with countless craft outfits trying to win over customers.

I’m all for the trend of loyalty to local breweries, but it’s also important to remember the ones that got us here — breweries like Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Bell’s, Dogfish Head and many more.

This week is a chance to raise a glass to one of the pioneers, and have some really great beer while doing it. Plenty of notable breweries have added Wisconsin to their distribution plans over the last couple of years, but it’s hard not to get excited about the arrival of Odell Brewing Co. The outfit from Fort Collins, Colorado, has been an independent brewer since 1989 (founder Doug Odell got his start working at San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co.) and is now the 22nd-largest producing craft brewer in the United States, according to the Brewers Association.

Odell IPA Can

Photo courtesy of Odell Brewing Company.

Odell’s beer portfolio has plenty of standouts, but the brewery excels at hoppy beers. Hazy pale ales have been getting most of the attention for the last couple of years, but Odell’s IPA is far from trendy. It’s a wonderful take on a traditional IPA that expertly combines piney grapefruit bitterness with a touch of bready malt. The beer is simply one of the best IPAs I’ve tried, and I’ve frequently hauled it back with me over the last few years after trips to Omaha to see family. Try it fresh this week and be reminded of what less fruity IPAs taste like.

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Bottles and cans of Odell beer hit shelves this week, and there are a number of tap events scheduled.

Odell Launch Week
Tuesday, June 5

Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan Ave.), 6 p.m.
On tap: 90 Shilling Amber, IPA, St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale, Myrcenary IIPA, Sunny Rain Golden Tart, Woodcut 8 Oak-Aged Barleywine

Wednesday, June 6

Champps Americana (1240 S. Moorland Rd., Brookfield), 4 p.m.
On tap: 90 Shilling Amber, IPA, Limerance Blonde Ale with Meyer Lemons, Myrcenary IIPA, Jaunt Oak-Aged Pale Ale

Thursday, June 7

Mr. Brews Taphouse (N91 W15720 Falls Parkway, Menomonee Falls), 6 p.m.
On tap: 90 Shilling Amber, Rupture Fresh Grind Ale, Drumroll APA, Sunny Rain Sour

Friday, June 8

DOC’s Commerce Smokehouse (754 N. Fourth St.), 6 p.m.
On tap: 90 Shilling Amber, IPA, Myrcenary IIPA, Zard-Alu Apricot Sour

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