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The return of Like Minds is big news in the Milwaukee beer world. Plus: checking out the release party for The Crafter Space’s Barley to Barrel program, previewing Milwaukee Beer Week, and more.

Last week brought the big news that another new/familiar brewery has plans to open soon. A great article by Kathy Flanigan in the Journal Sentinel outlined the return of Like Minds to Milwaukee. Owners Justin Aprahamian and John Lavelle overcame a legal snafu, explained well in Flanigan’s article, and plan to open a brewery and restaurant at 823 E. Hamilton St. in May.

The Crafter Space

On Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to attend the release party for The Crafter Space’s Barley to Barrel program at Company Brewing (735 E. Center St.). It was the culmination of 10 weeks spent in the craft beer incubator put together by The Crafter Space by 18 different budding brewers/breweries. Participants learned how to both brew beer and build a business during the program. At the release party, each brewer presented their pitch and patrons got to sample a pair of tasty beers brewed by the group.

“The brewing and business services communities were extremely supportive of the project and allowed our participants to learn a great deal about starting their own breweries,” said John Graham, founding partner of The Crafter Space. “We at The Crafter Space learned a lot about the needs of aspiring brewmasters as well, and we will apply the things we learned to improve the next session in the fall of 2016.”

I was impressed by this group and what The Crafter Space was able to accomplish. The program is great for the Milwaukee beer scene, and we’ll no doubt see (and taste) the benefits at new breweries in the near future.

Milwaukee Beer Week

Here’s the deal folks. Milwaukee Beer Week, which starts on Saturday, has grown to a level where I can’t possibly list all of the events. (That’s a good thing.) My suggestion is to scour the website and get yourself the Milwaukee Beer Week app to keep track of the craziness. I’ll provide a couple of highlights next week when it’s all in full swing, but this week I’ll let you know of a few great ways to kick it off.

There’s likely no better way to start the festivities than at Burnhearts (2599 S. Logan Ave.) on Saturday, April 16. Burnhearts is tapping some “Barrel-Aged Buddies” that day, and it’s a safe bet there will be some amazing brews on the menu.

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Discount Liquor is kicking things off in a big way. On Saturday, at both Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) and Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.), the first 24 people who purchase any Founders product get a free bottle of 2014 KBS (yep, it’s free and it’s already aged for you). Also, each location is hosting a Milwaukee Beer Week kickoff sale at 9 a.m. that includes an amazing list of rarities. Get to Discount Liquor Milwaukee early for the chance to pick up some Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout or Founders Bolt Cutter. Or decide on a morning at Discount Liquor Waukesha for Perennial Abraxas or Deschutes Abyss. These brews are a small sample of the rare stuff that Discount Liquor is pulling out of the cellar. Show up early on Saturday to see what else is available.

Barley Pop of the Week

Rickety Elevator is a tasty result of The Crafter Space’s Barley to Barrel program. The lightly hopped saison combines the spicy fruitiness of a farmhouse ale with a moderately bitter finish. It’s a sure sign that the folks in the program know what they’re doing.

Quick Taps

Last week at Camino (434 S. 2nd St.), I randomly ran into Phil Kuhl, craft beer guru for Breakthru Beverage, and social media savant (seriously, check out @BeerDudePhil on Twitter for both knowledge and event listings). If you’re headed to the Deschutes takeover at The Corner Pub on Tuesday (see below) make it a point to talk to the guy. The man knows his beer and is an engaging storyteller.

The Brewers Association released its list of the top 50 craft breweries (by sales volume). The good news is that three reside in Wisconsin.

I’m headed to Boston this week, and will consequently be out of town for most of Milwaukee Beer Week. But, I will be having my own personal beer week at East Coast breweries like Trillium and Night Shift. Cheers.

Events Brewing

Monday, April 11: Beer Bites at Story Hill BKC (5100 W. Bluemound Rd.) features Abita. Join them for a five-course beer dinner at 6 p.m. The cost is $65 and reservations can be made by calling 414-539-4424.

Monday, April 11: Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) hosts a bottle share at 6 p.m. Bring a 22-ounce (or two 12-ounce) bottles of something rare, unusual or not found in Wisconsin. And, oh yeah, you can bring snacks too.

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Tuesday, April 12: The Stilt House (W62 N630 Washington Ave., Cedarburg) hosts a three-course Sierra Nevada beer dinner that includes four beers. The cost is $36. Call 262-618-4889 for more information.

Tuesday, April 12: Deschutes is taking over the taps at The Corner Pub (7602 W. Lisbon Ave.) starting at 7 p.m. The Abyss Imperial Stout is one of the featured barrels and that’s reason enough to put this on your calendar. But Armory Experimental Hop Pale Ale, a Nitro Cream Ale and a few other barrels make the event even better.

Wednesday, April 13: Dogfish Head heads to Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.) at 5 p.m. and is bringing a few tasty kegs with them.

Wednesday, April 13: Double IPAs are the topic of discussion for the Milwaukee Beer Society. Taste the hop bombs from 6 to 9 p.m. at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.).

Thursday, April 14: Summit is making a stop at The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfaird Rd.) from 5 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 14: Erv’s Mug (130 W. Ryan Rd.) is tapping some Goose Island Bourbon County beauties. The guests of honor are a 2012 Bourbon County Coffee and a 2013 Bourbon County Barleywine. Yep, you read that right.

Friday, April 15: Goose Island is bringing a couple of beers to sample at Discount Liquor Milwaukee from 4 to 7 p.m.

Friday, April 15: Samples of Leinie’s shandies and the interesting Wisconsin Red Pale Ale, which I think tastes more like a crisp lager, are to be had at Discount Liquor Waukesha from 5 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 16: Staff favorite beers are the samples of the week at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, April 16: Ray’s is hosting its Founders KBS release starting at 8 a.m. Details for Freak Nasty Founders Fest aren’t available quite yet, but the good folks at Ray’s are saying the tap list will be silly good. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information, and plan on being there really early on Saturday.

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