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There's a beer fest going on in Milwaukee next week. But you'll never guess where.

The upcoming American Craft Beer Week (May 14-20) gives beer lovers around the country the chance to celebrate their favorite fermented beverage. One group of Milwaukee locals are so excited that they’re planning a week of beer-related activities leading up to it.

It’s not the Milwaukee Craft Brewery League, the Milwaukee Beer Society, Barley’s Angels or a similar bunch planning the festivities. Nope, it’s the residents of Eastcastle Place (2505 E. Bradford Ave.), a senior living community on the East Side, who are raising a glass next week.

Two Eastcastle residents drinking a beer

Practicing for the beer week at Eastcastle. (Photo courtesy of Eastcastle Place)

“With Milwaukee having been known as the Beer Capital of the World, it’s hard to be a resident of the city and not have some sentiment for the beverage,” explained Laura Wengler, the director of community life at Eastcastle Place. “The residents here really keep an eye out for things that are trending and fun. Craft beers are so hot right now, so this is right up their alley. It will be fun highlighting American Craft Beer Week.”

Eastcastle members range in age from mid-60s to 90s. The facility has more than 120 independent living residents and another 80 at the Eastcastle Health and Rehab Center, which provides assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

The residents of Eastcastle have a pretty full schedule next week. On Wednesday, May 9, they head to City Lights Brewing (2210 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.) for an afternoon presentation and tasting. The following Friday, May 11, they head to Lakefront Brewery (1872 N. Commerce St.) for a tour and fish fry. On Tuesday, May 15, they get to hear the history of Miller High Life’s “Girl in the Moon” from Linda Hoffman, an expert on the subject.

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“The residents love doing things that are a little bit ‘out of the box’,” said Wengler. “They like to try something that’s this innovative and trendy. The idea started with one or two activities and evolved into several tours and events.”

The gang from Eastcastle is also trying its hand at brewing. That’s right: the group is crafting an Eastcastle Lager that should be ready for drinking in a few weeks.

“We’re using a beer kit that we purchased,” added Wengler. “This is our first brewing venture and we’re excited to give it a try. The residents can then vote for what they’d like to brew in the future.”

Should we expect an Eastcastle East Coast IPA next year? How about a barrel-aged Bradford Avenue Stout? Who knows? We’ll see how this lager turns out first.

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