Madison Craft Beer Week – 2015
This spring, we had the 5th annual Madison Craft Beer Week. This is an event held in Madison, Wisconsin where several venues hold events/deals on craft beer. Some events are pretty awesome, like the Hoppy Tap Takeover at the Madison’s bar, where they had 10 different hoppy IPAs. Some other events are not so awesome, like the Traditional Wisconsin Fish Fry at The Sett, where they had average tasting fish fry and their usual everyday beer selection.
I have had taken part in it in past years, but this year it was awesome. I had a master plan all worked out the week before MCBW. By the very second day, my plan wasn’t quite panning out the way I wanted it to. You know, this thing called work and other life activities got in the way. But, you know, it wasn’t that hard to have a good day when 80 venues around town were having some sort of craft beer event.
My plan was to bike and use my biking miles as an excuse to consume the extra calories. At the end of the week, kilometers biked and pints consumed evened themselves out, or so I like to think.
Friday started out well. I arrived at Madison’s (the bar) after a short 9.2km bike ride. It was a nice day and I felt like I deserved some beers. Madison’s was having the Hoppy Tap Takeover with some tasty selection of hoppy beers. I started out with Founders Dark Penance, which is a bit of a bold move since it’s a dark American Black Ale. But hey! It’s Friday! It was delicious, the roast and hops flavors felt just right.
My second choice was a pint of Surly’s Furious. The amber color on this beer is just beautiful, the picture below doesn’t quite does it justice (note to self: take better pictures). The citrus and floral tastes didn’t quite jive with my earlier selection but that’s all good. The foamy head and the taste complemented the deep amber color.
My last choice was a Sixpoint Hi-res. Another outstanding beer! It hit the spot and capping off the night with a 10.5% alcohol content pint felt quite alright. Unfortunately, the picture I have is unusable (highlighted note to self: take better pictures).
Night is over. I put my bike on the bus and a short 12 minutes later I was home…. dreaming about Saturday’s MCBW events.
I went on a 40km morning ride to get some km added to my legs. I’ve started this season pretty slow since I did not workout during the winter at all. About 30km into the ride I picked up a flat tire, which is never a good thing, but hey, my back tire happened to go flat as I was riding past a brat sale the Verona high school kids were having. Much better than Cliff Bars.
I have to say it was a pretty decent day to get a flat tire.
In the afternoon another short ride to The Sett bar to watch the Kentucky Derby with friends, and again enjoy a couple more beers, they were having four bourbon barrel aged brews, of which I tried 2 of them: Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist and Uploand Brewing Barrel Chested Barleywine.
I biked back from work doing my usual 18-19 km ride (it depends on which route I take). This ride felt quite nice, specially when taking into account I’m usually a bit tired after work. I got home, swiftly changed out of my sweaty clothes, and got on my bike again heading downtown for another Madison Craft Beer Week event. I slowly biked to Capitol Chophouse for brats and pints for 3 dollars. Yes, 3 dollars. Mrs. Trouble and I had one brat each and 2 beers each. We were sitting outside, since all the usual fancy-dressed steakhouse patrons were seating inside. They served the pints on plastic cups and I refused to take any pictures. Alright, I did pay 3 dollars for a pint of craft beer, so maybe I shouldn’t complain about the plastic cups.
No bike rides today. Heavy rain and a few errands to run kept me away from riding. I did stop by the Side Door to try some of Lucettes’ beers. The Side Door was having a tap takeover. When I think about a tap takeover I imagine all taps in the bar being taken over by a single brewery, but this was not that kind of event. They had five of Lucettes’ beers and I tried two of them. First I went with Rye’d On Man, since I like rye bread…. yeah obvious first choice. Nice solid color, looks nice in the glass. The head dissipated pretty quickly, leaving just a little rim around the edges. It really smells like rye bread. The taste had a touch of hops and bread flavors, but light. I was expecting more kick, specially with such a cool name, but no, the taste felt pretty light.
The second option was a Slow Hand American Stout. This beer was much more appealing to me. Very nice body and dark color with a nice head. The head was not too airy or too creamy. Very nice head retention, it didn’t just fizz away like Rye’d On Man. The taste is very smooth with a hint of coffee and bitterness. It has a nice smooth finish too. The accompanying tater tots complemented this thick beer very well.
Mrs. Trouble tried a floral Double Dawn. I’m not a super fan of sweet floral beers, but she loved it.
Not much to write about these two days, let’s say I took a break from Craft Beer Week and riding. Let’s just fast forward to Friday.
I was going to take it easy. I did my usual bike commute home and my plans were to go to Whole Foods to take part in a tasting event featuring Tallgrass Brewing Co. Apparently they misprinted the times on the guidebook and I arrived at Whole Foods a couple of minutes after the event was over. Determined to have some fun, I decided to host my own Madison Craft Beer Week event. This very exclusive event was not open to the general public and I was the only one invited :)
I took home a 22 oz. bottle of Ballast Point Sea Monster and biked my way back to my own backyard/deck. You can read more about this brew in an upcoming post.
Called it an early night, so I could get ready for the weekend.
Had another run at the Come Back In, this time they were having three of Lagunitas’ brews and you could take the pint glass home. They had cool pint glasses in a form of mason jars. We ended up taking four home.
The Come Back In is 10km from where we live, just 40 min of slow riding on the bike paths. Perfect distance for a two-beer night. Here’s the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale poured in the mason jar.
Craft Beer Week is nearly over. One Barrel Brewery had a bunch of different events throughout the week, meaning that they had a bunch of odd kegs from different breweries to kill. Someone at One Barrel had the brilliant idea to sell pints of craft beer for 2 bucks. Yep, two dollars, like in you get three dollars in change back if you use a five dollar bill.
Sunday was bit chillier than the rest of the week with temps hovering the 50F (10 C) degrees all day, but Mrs. Trouble and I decided to bike anyway. A couple of our friends joined us at the taproom and set off to the bar to buy us the first round. Four craft beers = eight dollars. This was the perfect way to cap off the week. I was so excited I forgot to take any pictures.