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Dan hunts down the best beer in wine country. Plus: Milwaukee Beer Week keeps chugging along, and "Blood, Sweat, and Beer" screens at Brenner Brewing.

I made my first trip to Paris last week. I took care of the important sights first–Eiffel Tower (impressive), Notre Dame (awe inspiring), Arc de Triomphe (kind of cool), the banks of the Seine (inviting) and The Louvre (from the outside only because the line was too long)–and then it was on to beer tourism.

France is obviously wine country, and finding good beer in Paris was a difficult task. Most of the bars and cafes I went to had great wine lists but only Kronenbourg and a run-of-the-mill Belgian or two on tap. So I consulted the almighty Internet and made it a point to experience the elusive Paris beer culture.

The first stop was A l’Express de Lyon, a small cafe across the street from a bustling train station. BrewDog Punk IPA on tap was a nice way to start the afternoon, and I then moved on to a solid La Levalloise IPA by local brewery Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris. Paris has seen a fair share of craft breweries pop up recently, and from my experience most of them are big on American Pale Ales. Overall, the APAs I tried were pretty good and big on hop bitterness, but without as much malt balance as we are used to in the U.S.

My favorite spot was easily La Fine Mousse, a small bar tucked away on a quiet side street that started bringing craft beer to the masses in 2012. I got there one afternoon right before it opened and waited with six other people (four of whom were American) until the bartender got situated. The place has an impressive bottle list that includes several Cantillon options and a tap list of 20 brews.

The menu was filled with IPAs (the Deck & Donohue Indigo IPA was a standout) and a few other treats including a Craig Allan Cuvee d’Oscar, an oddly intriguing (and slightly hoppy) dunkelweiss/Belgian hybrid.

La Fine Mousse was the highlight of my Parisian beer experience. If time and money allow (two big ifs) I’d love to go back to the amazing city in a year or two and see how much the beer scene has progressed. I get the impression that it’s on the cusp of a huge breakout.

Milwaukee Beer Week in Full Swing

Here’s hoping you had a weekend filled with good beer. Milwaukee Beer Week is just getting started. Once again, I recommend becoming very familiar with the Milwaukee Beer Week events page so that you don’t miss out on any good stuff.

Nevermore_brewcity_webBarley Pop of the Week 

One of the best pours I had in Paris was Nevermore Imperial Stout from Brasserie La Débauche, a brewery in Angouleme, France. The slightly smoky aroma of the stout gave way to rich chocolate and coffee flavor. The finish had just the right hint of booze. I won’t likely come across Nevermore again, but I sure am glad that I did at least once.

Quick Taps

I failed to mention last week that the Crafts & Drafts Spring Beer Fest, which took place on Sunday, benefits the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance. This great event, sponsored by Discount Liquor, is made even better by the fact that it helps a worthy cause.

Exciting news from 3 Sheeps Brewing last week. The Sheboygan brewery has started a barrel aging program, and the first release is Roll Out the Barrel, a Belgian-style ale aged in Chardonnay barrels. Congrats to 3 Sheeps, and good luck.

Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.) is raffling a six-liter bottle of St. Bernardus Abt 12. Tickets are $3 for a chance to win this rare, world-class Belgian.

Events Brewing

Note: This is only a small sample of beer-related events going on. Check the Milwaukee Beer Week events page for more. 

Monday, April 20: Check out the trailer for the documentary Blood, Sweat, and Beer and you’ll be intrigued. Attend a screening of the film at Brenner Brewing at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 ($15 at the door) and include a pint.

Tuesday, April 21: Try Dogfish Head brews at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 22: 3 Sheeps takes over the taps at Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.)

Wednesday, April 22: New Holland brings samples to Discount Liquor Waukesha from 4 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 22: Sample Dogfish Head at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.).

Thursday, April 23: Try beers from Summit Brewing at Discount Liquor Waukesha from 4 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 23: Join the Milwaukee Beer Society’s bottle share at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.) starting at 6 p.m. All you need to bring is a bomber or two 12-ounce bottles of a rare brew taking up space in your cellar/closet/fridge.

Friday, April 24: the Malt Shoppe (813 N. Mayfair Rd.) brings Ale Asylum brews to the taps, including the new High Coup IPA, at 5 p.m.

Friday, April 24: Try New Belgium brews from 5 to 7 p.m. at Discount Liquor Waukesha.

Friday, April 24: Discount Liquor Milwaukee hands out tastes of Milwaukee Brewing beers from 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 25: Milwaukee Brewing comes to Discount Liquor Waukesha from noon to 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 25: Discount Liquor Milwaukee has samples of New Belgium from noon to 2 p.m. and Summit from 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, April 25: Try dark colored but light bodied brews at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, April 25: End Milwaukee Beer Week on a fantastic note at Romans’ Pub (3475 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) at 7 p.m. Mike is pouring a 2013 Goose Island Lolita, a 2013 Bourbon County Barleywine and a 2014 Bourbon County Vanilla Rye. He’s also pairing those treats with charcuterie.

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