Where in the world is The Wench?
After driving across country, I had a little less than two weeks of “down time” (and by “down time” I really mean spending time trying to adjust to my new scenario) before embarking on a beer themed trip to the Midwest.
At first, I was only going to travel to Racine, WI for the Great Lakes Brew Fest.
After exchanging several emails with beer industry folk in the Midwest, I was “convinced” to extend my weekend trip to a 10 day Midwest beer extravaganza.
The trip began this past Friday in Chicago. Friday night I visited two great Chicago bars — Delilah’s and The Whistler. Saturday, I attended the Chicago Beer Society picnic where I was able to taste many interesting homebrews as well as perform my duty as a professional BBQ ribs judge (okay, so I’m not actually a professional judge. But I did eat a lot of ribs and voted for my favorite).
Naturally, Saturday evening was dedicated to Ohio State football.
I spent the entire day on Sunday at beer school. Well technically, I wasn’t at a school. But, I was given a full days lecture on classic and traditional beer styles from England, Belgium and Germany. Sunday evening I filmed several short beer tasting segments using beers from Merchant Du Vin’s portfolio. The segments will be released as soon as they are edited down.
This brings us to MONDAY — Finally! Although Sunday marked the beginning of Milwaukee Beer Week, I did not arrive in Wisconsin until Monday. Milwaukee Beer Week was created by GreatBrewers.com with the mission of “enhancing beer knowledge and appreciation through a series of events in the great city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”
Monday I was lucky enough to attend the 3rd Annual World Beverage Retailer Showcase, which was co-hosted by Beechwood Distributors Inc. and GreatBrewers.com at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI. The event showcased several of the world class beers from Beechwood’s portfolio. More than 75 breweries from all over the world were represented by brewers, importers and regional representatives.
Prior to the start of the trade show, I had an opportunity to attend and exclusive luncheon hosted by GreatBrewers.com with a panelist of brewers from 4 different American craft breweries (Magic Hat, Sprecher, New Glarus, Milwaukee Brewing Co.) discussing the future of the craft beer industry. Some of the hot topics discussed was included the environment, clean water issues, organic brewing, utilizing social media, emerging trends in the beer industry, brewing with exotic ingredients, gorilla marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, craft beer market share etc…
All of it was extremely interesting and each of the panelists provided some insight into the future of the craft beer industry in some way shape or form.
After an insightful and tasty luncheon compliments of GreatBrewers.com, I headed on down to the Harley Museum for the World Beverage Showcase. There I met several key people in the beer industry — distributors, importers, brewers, retailers, bloggers etc. Overall, I thought that the show was well organized and flowed very well. I was able to taste many beers (mostly imports since I will be tasting an exuberant amount of American beers at both the Great Lakes Brew Fest and the Great American Beer Festival). I took lots of tasting notes and pictures, which will be released over the next week or so in a series of posts.
Tuesday I took the opportunity to walk the streets of downtown Milwaukee — poking my head in several local brewpubs and bars. After walking in the sun for some time, I decided to cool off and relax with a rainbow flight of beers at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewpub along the river. The beers were refreshing, yet all of them seemed to be slightly under-attenuated (not fermented entirely through).
Tuesday evening I attended two of the Milwaukee Beer Events — a Merchant Du Vin tasting at Otto’s and a beer event at Palm Tavern. Palm Tavern was definitely the highlight of the day. It features one of the most impressive beer lists that I have stumbled upon and don’t even get me started on the Bourbon & Scotch lists …
Here is the “tentative schedule” for the rest of my week in the Midwest:
Wednesday, Sept 16th = Beer dinner at Water Street in Peoria, IL
Thursday, Sept 17th = Beer cruise w/ Chicone’s in Hudson, WI
Friday, Sept 18th = Beer dinner at Fire Fly in Milwaukee, WI
Saturday, Sept 19th = Great Lakes Brew Fest in Racine, WI
If you are around the area, feel free to shoot me an email and come Drink With The Wench!