When did beer dinners get so popular? Plus, here's what's on tap this week in Milwaukee.

Kohler Festival of Beer
Tickets for the Kohler Festival of Beer are on sale now. The festival takes place over the weekend of April 29 and has enough events to keep any beer lover happy. I was lucky enough to attend last year, and was pleasantly surprised with what the fest has to offer. Make a weekend trip 50 miles north and check it out.

If you go, I highly recommend getting tickets and grabbing lunch at Shorts & Chefs on Saturday, April 29. For just $49.98 you can pair brews with food from area chefs. It’s a modest gathering, with both great food and a short but solid list of breweries. Look through the ample list of options for the weekend, but make sure that Shorts & Chefs is on the schedule.

Beer Dinners on the Horizon
Five years ago when I started writing this column, beer dinners weren’t nearly as prevalent and didn’t seem to sell out as quickly as they do today. I feel I owe it to my two or three readers to inform you well ahead of time about beer dinners and other events that are likely to sell out. It might be a good idea to put these on your calendar and reserve a spot soon.

DanDan (360 E. Erie St.) teams with Surly Brewing for a 10-course beer dinner on Tuesday, March 14. Some really interesting courses here and they include poached mussels paired with Hell Munich-style Helles Lager; octopus with salsa macha, chickpeas and cilantro paired with Mole Smoke Lager With Cocao Nibs and Puya Chili Peppers; and foie gras with hearts of palm, citrus, Thai herbs and peanut, paired with Todd the Axe Man West Coast Style IPA. Cost is $100 per person. Call 414-488-8036 for a reservation.

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Good City Brewing (2108 N. Farwell Ave.) hosts its second beer dinner on March 20. The $89 ticket price includes a four-course dinner and five samples with a couple of barrel-aged brews on the menu.

Tess (2499 N. Bartlett Ave.) hosts a pair of beer dinners with One Barrel Brewing Company on March 22 and March 23. Call 414-964-8377 to save a space. Cost is $55.

The Global Pouring Beer Dinner at Sanford (1547 N. Jackson St.) on March 27 pairs some special imported beers with five delicious courses for $95. It’s a beer dinner at the gourmet level. Reserve a spot by calling 414-276-9608.

Barley Pop of the Week
I finally opened a 2016 Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout from a four-pack tucked away for a couple of months. I’ve done my share of spouting about just how good the barrel-aging program is at Central Waters, and plenty of you don’t need to be told again. I’m a big fan of this beer for several reasons ­– two of the biggest are that it’s not ridiculously hard to get and it’s an outstanding example of the style. The beer has a boozy flavor with a nice hint of dark chocolate, but it’s never too much. It’s a perfect sipper that doesn’t overpower you with booze or sweetness. Cheers, Central Waters! 

Quick Taps
Titletown Brewing Company makes the CraftBeer.com list of 7 Offbeat Places for People Who Like Craft Beer.

* Check out this light-hearted read from Jim Vorel at Paste about why waxed beer bottles suck. We’ve all been there.

Raised Grain Les Trois

Photo by Dan Murphy

Tuesday, March 7:
Comet Café (1947 N. Farwell Ave.) hosts beer school where the topic of study is the imperial IPA. Cost is $25, but you need to stop in at Comet or snag a ticket online to make a reservation.

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Wednesday, March 8:
* The Milwaukee Beer Society examines barrel-aged beers at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost for the event is $15, but you need to be a member of the club to attend. Get your $10 membership on the society’s web page.

Thursday, March 9:
* Head to Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) to learn about the amazing Barley to Barrel program run by The Crafter Space. Try three beers produced by participants including Hanal Pixian Mole Porter, Rowdy Night Inn Stout and Rust Belt Amber Rye.

* Veteran Beer Company brings samples to Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.

Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow St.) hands out samples from Guinness, 4 to 6 p.m.

Friday, March 10:
* Try samples from Bofferding and Guinness starting at 4 p.m. at Discount Liquor Milwaukee.

* Discount Liquor Waukesha hosts Fulton Beer from 3 to 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 11:  
Raised Grain Brewing Company (2244 W. Bluemound Rd.) is having its second limited bottle release. This time it’s Les Trois Docteurs Belgian Quad, which is brewed with Pinot Noir grapes and has been aged for six months. Bombers are $15 each with a limit of two. Raised Grain had a line waiting for it to open for its last big release, and bottles sold out in less than two hours. Get there early this time around.

* Discount Liquor Milwaukee hands out samples from Fulton from noon to 3 p.m.

* Bofferding comes to Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m.

* West Coast beers are the subjects of the weekly sampling at both Three Cellars locations (7133 S. 76th St., Franklin; N72 W13400 Lund Lane, Menomonee Falls) from 1 to 4 p.m.