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Milwaukee Brewing Company's new release is a tasty IPA that signifies a good start for a busy 2018.

Milwaukee Brewing Company has some big things happening in 2018, the most notable (obviously) being the unveiling of a 50,000-square-foot brewery and tasting room at 1150 N. 9th Street in the Pabst Brewery complex that’s slated to open to the public in late summer. Shiny new spaces are nice, but they don’t matter much if the beer doesn’t live up. Luckily, Milwaukee Brewing seems to have that aspect covered too.

On Thursday night, the brewery unveiled MKE IPA at a party held at its current location at 613 S. 2nd St. The new brew is a winner and should offer an injection of pre-expansion excitement into Milwaukee’s third oldest craft brewery.

MKE IPA has a big citrus aroma and flavor provided by Mosaic and Citra hops, but it finishes with notable, and welcomed, bitterness. The flavorful beer comes in at a relatively low 5.5% ABV, which seems ideal for spring and summer imbibing — Miller Park tailgating anyone? The labels on MKE IPA beer bottles are adorned with The People’s Flag of Milwaukee, which isn’t a bad thing either.

“There’s really heavy dry hopping,” said head brewer Kurt Mayes. “And we used a specialty malt called Synergy. It’s a full-flavor malt so it gives the beer a little more body. This will be an all-day drinker. It’s only 5.5 percent so it’s not too overboard. And it’s got enough bitterness for the traditional IPA fan.”

I don’t get to Milwaukee Brewing often enough, but the event on Thursday was a nice chance to reconnect. It was good to see a crowd turn out to sample the latest from a brewery with big plans for 2018.

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MKE IPA Release Party

MKE IPA is very good. Try it for yourself tonight at the Milwaukee Ale House (233 N. Water St.). A free firkin is being tapped at 6 p.m. and you can win prizes and meet the brewers. I suggest having a pint or two. MKE IPA is a beer that you can get used to.

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