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Our blogger's ongoing quest to visit all 100 of Draft Magazine's top beer bars. Plus: hardware for Sprecher Brewery, Budweiser's "America" label and more.

Last week, I applauded the local bars that made the annual list of the Draft Magazine’s 100 best beer bars. I consider it a personal challenge to try out as many of these places that I can.

Any of you who read this blog regularly know that any trips I take include beer tourism—occasionally to the chagrin of those I’m traveling with. I’ve made it to 22 spots out of the 100 (the overwhelming majority of visits have been to bars in the Midwest…shocking!). If I ever become independently wealthy (I’m not holding my breath) I’ll try to knock out the 78 places I’m missing. A guy can dream.

Cheers to Sprecher

…for snagging four medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship in Oxford Ohio. The competition includes a field of nearly 5,000 beers and more than 90 styles.

XII Belgian Quad, Hard Root Beer and non-alcoholic Root Beer all earned gold. Commando Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale claimed a bronze. Raised Grain rounded out the medal count for the locals with a bronze for the amazing Paradocs Imperial Red Ale.

Wisconsin was well represented. Capital Brewery managed a gold for Wisconsin Amber, silver for both Munich Dark and Maibock, and bronze for Lake House Lager. Stevens Point earned a silver for Point S.P.A. and a bronze for Point Special Lager.

Barley Pop of the Week

A friend of mine from Michigan introduced me to Perrin Brewing a few months ago. The small outfit in Comstock, Michigan (now owned by Oskar Blues) does some nice work and a good example is the Grapefruit IPA. It seems to me that there are two distinct types of grapefruit IPAs, those that use grapefruit to enhance the juicy citrus flavor of the beer, like Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, and those that employ more of the natural bitterness of grapefruit. Perrin resides in the latter camp. I tasted the citrus bitterness of the grapefruit rind, a flavor that may be off-putting for some, which added depth to the beer. Also, it has an ABV of just 5% so it’s a fine choice for summer. In some grapefruit IPAs the flavor feels forced and over-the-top. That’s not the case here.

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Quick Taps

Clear the calendar for next Tuesday, July 12. That’s when Erv’s Mug (130 W. Ryan Rd.) hosts a Central Waters beer dinner. Cassian Sunset and Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter are on the menu and that’s reason enough to show up. Call 414-762-5010 to save a spot.

The more I think about Budweiser plastering its adjunct lager vessels with “America,” the more irritated I get. It seems to me that it’s much more patriotic buying small American-owned craft beer than it is to buy from a foreign-owned conglomerate, regardless of what “patriotic” falsities are on the label. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Read this great editorial posted last week by the Des Moines Register about the subject.

Events Brewing

Tuesday, July 12: Learn about Barley to Barrel, the amazing brewery incubator program pioneered by the Crafter Space, at Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) starting at 6 p.m. Barley to Barrel participants created Blazing Trail Brown Rye Ale and Rickety Elevator Hoppy Saison, which I think is excellent, during the winter session and you can try each and judge how the program did.

Tuesday, July 12: Call 414-964-8377 to find out if Tess (2499 N. Bartlett Ave.) has any spots left for the Central Waters beer dinner.

Wednesday, July 13: O’so Brewing takes over the taps at Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.) starting at 5 p.m.

Wednesday, July 13: Pale ales are the subjects of the weekly meeting of the Milwaukee Beer Society at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.). The discussion and tasting start at 6 p.m. and the event costs just $10.

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Wednesday, July 13: If you’ve been curious about ciders, head to Lost Valley Cider Co. (408 W. Florida St.) for a tasting of Seattle Cider pours. The tasting is from 5 to 8 p.m. and it gives you a chance to check out the cool new space.

Thursday, July 14: A beer and brat tasting is another great idea from Uber Tap Room (1048 N. Old World Third St.). Starting at 6 p.m. The Fermentorium is brining a few beers and pairing them with Usinger brats. Cost is just $14.

Thursday, July 14: Milwaukee Brewing is tapping a firkin of Bastille Day Brew Saison at, ahem, Bastille Day in Cathedral Square Park (825 N. Jefferson St.).

Friday, July 15: Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) is handing out samples of Old Tankard Ale, Andechs Doppelbock and Früh Kolsch from 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 16: Session beers are the subject of the weekly sampling at both Three Cellars locations (7133 S. 76th St., Franklin and N72 W13400 Lund Lane, Menomonee Falls) from 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, July 16: Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) is handing out samples from Door County from noon to 2 p.m.

Saturday, July 16: Try Door County brews from 3 to 5 p.m. at Discount Liquor Waukesha.

Sunday, July 17: The Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) host its monthly bottle share at 5:30 p.m. There’s no theme this time around, so bring one big bottle or a pair of small bottles of a rare beer you want to share.

Sunday, July 17: Start your day with a bitter Hatter Day Brunch at Stubby’s (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.). From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. New Holland Mad Hatter IPAs will be served alongside brunch small plates.

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