It is without regret that I write a few hundred folks did not make it to Summerfest on Saturday between 1-5pm because they were soaking up the great beers, foods, and atmosphere at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale during the 1st annual WI Craft Beer Festival produced by the WI Brewers Guild. This event, which offered over 100 craft beers plus 20 food pairings by area chefs, included not volunteers pouring but brewers and brewery owners representing 30 breweries from around the state. South Shore, Pearl St, Grumpy Troll, Titletown, New Glarus, Capital, Sprecher, Vintage, Chameleon, Lakefront, Sand Creek, Milwaukee Ale House were among the mix of award-winning breweries small and large that arrived glad to pour their best and talk smart about their brews.
Among the foods for pairing — Anchorage restaurant prepared shrimp scampi; Ovation offered shrimp cakes; sliders and other delicious dishes were included with the price of a ticket. And true foodies had a great time because chefs from each restaurant were on hand to talk about their dishes and their pairing strategy.
Click on flickr at www.sprecherbrewery.com to see WI Craft Beer Festival event photos. (Sorry, images were too large to upload to this post.)
This past Saturday we had the official release party for our Belgian Dubbel. About 100 people showed up and a good time was had by all. Charlie Jigs of Streamline Productions and WMSE DJ’d while guests hung out enjoying their Belgian Dubbel served in a snifter, which is the best glassware for this style of beer.
Randy Sprecher tapped the first keg, worked the bar and the room, then gave a tour of the brewery as only he can do. Unfortunately, I neglected to get photos (sorry!). However, our next release party will be our big 25th anniversary blowout featuring a Cherry Lambic and I’ll be sure to get photos of the party and partygoers. Hope you can join us for this event — September 25th — at the brewery, 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale.
In the meantime, plan to attend the WI Summer Solstice Beer Lovers Festival this Saturday, June 26th, at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale. Twenty-eight craft breweries and brewmasters from around the state will serve 100+ beers and 20 beer and food pairings to attendees. There will be 2 bands playing during the event, which takes place 1-5pm, rain or shine. Tickets are $50/person, or $90 for two. They can be purchased at Sprecher, or at www.welcometoglendale.com.
Not that we hibernate 3/4 of the year, but it’s true — Milwaukee comes alive during the summer. Today is the 34th Annual Locust Street Days, always a fun, neighborhood festival with great bands, kids activities, and lots of people out for a good time in the sun. Can’t find Sprecher on the street? Stop into the Tracks or Linnemans. If you’re not down at the Lakefront but you like really amazing aerial feats, you might want to get yourself there quickly because the truly mind (and ear) blowing Air and Water Show is happening as I type. Check out the website, and then go see it for yourself: http://www.milwaukeeairshow.com/.
Now I need to step back in time. On Friday night Randy and I attended the annual Greg (GB #85) and Nicole Jennings party benefiting Habitat for Humanity at Merrill Hills Country Club. ( I’m proud to say Sprecher was the official beer that evening. ) Several hundred party guests along with 50 or so Green Bay Packers such as Jennings, Jermichael Finley, AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett, Nick Collins, Aaron Rogers, Josh Sitton, Patrick Williams, etc., appeared to really enjoy the event which included dinner, a live auction, music and fireworks.
Far from being aloof, all the Packers I spoke with were really gracious. Honestly, if you’re a Packer fan, the $100 ticket price is a small fee, especially since 100% of the proceeds are donated to Habitat. I took a few photos, most of which look better on my phone, but here are a couple:
I’m always struck by how different football players look w/o their gear on. Jermichael Finley is very tall; it would be hard to mistake him for anything but a professional athlete. Same with Josh Sitton who’s not exceptionally tall, but he’s certainly solid. But that’s not always the case. From the photos above you can tell Jennings and Collins are about the same height as Randy. In fact, it would be easy to mistake them for just another party guest. Quick Quiz — if the photos weren’t labeled, could you figure out who is the brewmaster and who the pro football player 😉 ?
Too many people have asked about the author of Sprecher’s blog posts so I’ll take this opportunity to out myself before someone else does. Although this blog was never designed with the intention to be the exclusive property of one Sprecher employee, to date I, Anne Sprecher, have been the sole author. I was born in NYC and lived there for several years post-college before returning to Mke for grad school and again for a job. Mke has been a vortex in my life. But I guess I worked through any bad karma because soon after my 3rd move to Mke I met Randy Sprecher and we were married in 2002. Since 2004 I’ve done PR and marketing for the brewery. Among the other things, I design classes that are oriented toward women, classes that demystify craft beer and reveal its pleasures. Since attending unGeeked (#ungeeked), “The SxSW of the Midwest,” my work has gotten much more interesting because I’m now immersed in social media.
Before meeting Randy, I didn’t drink beer. Logic = why waste all those calories on something with no taste? Have tequila instead. Randy taught me that good beer (and soda) not only has flavor, it has a complex flavor profile much like wine. I quickly became a craft beer lover and perhaps evangelista. As a whole, craft beer drinkers are a pretty interesting group. True, some can be a bit persnickity; snobby even. Maybe they’re just insecure. Genuine craft beer lovers want to share their experiences and learn from others. And that’s what makes working in this industry FUN.
The craft beer industry has a great ethos. Rather than the Coke/Pepsi binary dynamic (you either like one or the other), people in the craft beer industry give props where props are due. If you like someone’s beer, you tell them; if you don’t like the beer, you may offer up a fair critique from your perspective, but you definitely don’t slam the product in public or otherwise. If you see an employee drinking another brewery’s beer in a bar, you don’t fire them for patronizing the competition (ahem, macrobrewer(s), you know who you are). You get the idea – there’s a lot of respect among competitors in the craft beer industry.
At the end of the day people in the craft beer industry are both producers and consumers, much like the folks generating social media. How so? We share passion for innovation with due respect to the audience. Our goal is not to dumb down so people “get” what we’re doing; nor do we want to toil in oblivion. We want to start and be part of many conversations.