Firkin Fest and Beer Awards

Firkin Fest is coming to Cathedral Square Park this weekend, and local breweries take home some hardware at the U.S. Open Beer Championship.

Beer festival season has its highlights, and Firkin Fest is definitely one of them. The fest takes place on Saturday at Cathedral Square Park from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and features 150 different beers and more than 40 fresh firkins. It’s a unique beer tasting event and it features plenty of solid breweries, a beer memorabilia tent and live music from Zydeco Voodoo. VIP tickets are sold out, but there are still general admission tickets available.

SprecherSummerPils_webAwards Season

Sprecher took home a slew of medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship a week ago in Oxford, Ohio. The brewery snagged gold for Summer Pils and silver medals for Abbey Triple, Doppelbock and Shakparo. Wisconsin breweries faired pretty well with 3 Sheeps, Point, Capital, Badger State and Stillmank all taking home hardware.

The event had more than 4,000 different entries in 90 styles. Ballast Point claimed the honor of top brewery.

Barley Pop of the Week

A friend of mine gave me a bottle of Perennial Regalia, a saison fermented with Brettanomyces. I’m not always a fan of beers where Brett has a presence, but the funk was limited in the Regalia and the flavor was complex but not overpowering. The slight fruity tartness made Regalia a good choice for a summer day, or any other day for that matter.

Quick Taps

HopCat opened on Saturday in Madison. According to a friend who was there, the latest addition to the small chain of beer bars drew a crowd that was a couple blocks long the morning it opened. I hear rumors that Milwaukee is on HopCat’s radar.

I made it down to Chicago for New Belgium’s Tour de Fat last Saturday. It’s a great carnival atmosphere that combines art, theater and, of course, beer. The Tour came through Milwaukee a couple of years ago. It sure would be nice if it came back.

Events Brewing

Tuesday, July 14: Head to Joey Gerard’s (5601 Broad St.) for a beer dinner with 3 Sheeps. Founder Grant Pauly will be there, and he’s bringing five beers with him. It all starts at 6 p.m. and costs $55. Call 414-858-1900 to make a reservation.

Wednesday, July 15: Learn about Brewery Ommegang at Bierklasse hosted by Café Hollander (2601 N. Downer Ave.). The cost is $30 and tasting starts at 7 p.m. Email Bierklasse@LowlandsGroup.com for a reservation.

Wednesday, July 15: The Milwaukee Beer Society examines brews made with my personal favorite hop, Citra. (The fact that I, and likely thousands of others out there, have a favorite hop shows just how far craft beer has come in the last decade or two.) The tasting happens at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost is $10.

Thursday, July 16: Pearl Street Brewery is bringing a treat to Honeypie Café (2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) for firkin night from 6 to 10 p.m.

Thursday, July 16: The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) features beers from Central Waters starting at 5 p.m. The tasty HHG American Pale Ale is on the menu, along with a few other gems.

Thursday, July 16: Food pairings complement the four IPAs that Lakefront is bringing to Milwaukee Burger Company (6421 S. 27th St.) from 6 to 8 p.m.

Friday, July 17: Try Coronado samples from 4 to 7 p.m. at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.).

Saturday, July 18: I’ve been seeing more and more Illusive Traveler Grapefruit Ale out in the world. Try it at Discount Liquor Milwaukee and Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from noon to 2 p.m.

Saturday, July 18: Wheat beers are the tasting of the week at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday, July 19: The Malt Shoppe hosts its fourth bottle share starting at 5:30 p.m. The theme is West Coast brews. So bring a large bottle or two small bottles of any rarities that you can’t easily find in Wisconsin or at all and a snack. It’s a great way to end the week.

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Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 15 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for close to 25.