“Anyone from Wisconsin will not hesitate to give you myriad reasons why theirs is the greatest state in the US bar none.” I first read a version of this quote on a beer blogger’s site.  It rang true then and it still rings true. Why? Well, we’ve got the Packers, we’ve got brats and frozen custard, Summerfest, some of the best craft beer in the world, the root beer that made WI famous (Sprecher), and most importantly, great people.

On September18th Sprecher hosted #saveteecycle, a fundraiser that came about via twitter and social media to help a family whose home flooded during Milwaukee’s mini-Katrina on July 22nd.  #saveteecycle was literally the house that twitter rebuilt and the social networks twitter reinforced. But enough about the medium because that would be nothing without the operators, the Wisconsinites — individuals and businesses — who came together to help put this family back in their house and on their feet. If you’d like to learn more about the event and all those who contributed, just go to the blog: http://saveteecycle.org/.

During the month of September Sprecher held a food drive for the Hunger Task Force, a wonderful organization that has been overwhelmed since July 22nd because Milwaukee’s mini-Katrina devastated so many families.  Sprecher offered a Buy1 Get1 adult tour coupon to anyone who brought two non-perishable food items.  To date we’ve had two donation pick-ups, the first for 480lbs and the second for 250lbs of food,  a total of 730 lbs donated. Many thanks to all, especially the 30 school children who brought donations. We’ll leave the HTF donation box in our retail store for a few more days.

Sure Wisconsin has its share of problems; however, not so small examples like those above demonstrate that we also have big-hearted people who make our claim to be the greatest state a legitimate one.

Winning Recipes

13th September 2010

Below are some of examples of why living in, and being a microbrewery in Milwaukee is a total Win-Win:

We are all busy-ness in a good way.  Our Hunger Task Food Drive has been a great success, thanks to everyone who has contributed.  The Food Drive lasts until 9/26. If you donate 2 or more non-perishable food items, you will receive a Buy 1 Get 1 adult tour coupon ($4).  You donation will help restock the HTF pantry and help out Milwaukee’s mini-Katrina victims.  Speaking of…

On September 18th, from 7-10pm, we’re hosting the #saveteecycle fundraiser for the Cigelske family whose home was severely damaged from floor to roof.  Join Ted Perry and a host of other open-hearted Milwaukeeans as they help Tim, Jess and Baby Clara restore their house from this:

First Floor Flood Damage

to something more livable.  Live music performed by Perfectly Average,  yummy food donated by COA, and cool auction items galore.  Gently used t-shirts welcome. Say what? Visit: saveteecycle.org, or teecycle.org to learn more.

Finally, here’s the winning recipe from the Grilling with Beer contest at the Wisconsin State Fair – The  Sprecher Black Ninja Burger.  Thank you for this delectable burger, Dan Kyle of Wauwatosa: http://beeftips.com/sprecherblackninjaburger.aspx.

Hunger Task Force Food Drive

30th August 2010

HTF Food Drive at Sprecher

Help Us Fill This Bin!

Remember Milwaukee’s mini-Katrina, the severe rainstorm that damaged countless homes, several schools and other properties on July 22nd?  For those whose basements remained dry  it might seem like things are aren’t so bad, that every thing’s pretty much back to normal.  But for many, they’re not.  One reason we’re glad to be a part of Milwaukee is that we live and work among a group of people willing to help out whenever they can.

In response to July 22nd’s flooding, we “talked amongst ourselves” and decided  Specher could do the greatest amount of good by hosting a food drive for Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force.  So we are!  The food drive began August 26th and runs through September 26th.  Want to know how you  can help?

Here’s the fun part:  We wanted to make this a win all the way around so you get goodies for bringing goodies. The HTF donation box is located in our gift shop, 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale.   Bring in 2 non-perishable food items and you’ll receive a BUY 1 GET 1 adult tour coupon, value $4.00.

Psst, Insider’s Tip:  You can use your BUY 1 GET 1 coupon on the day of your tour.  Just make sure to reserve your spot in advance (call: 414.964.2739), and bring 2 non-perishable food items with you.

Posted by Anne Sprecher
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Hunger Task Force Food Drive

18th August 2010

On August 17th, victims of the Brew City Flood received more bad news from what was the last hope for many: FEMA. FEMA sent a letter rejecting requests for individual aid.  Thousands of people with basements flooded by rain and/or waste water, even those whose foundations gave way, are now left to deal with the wreckage on their own.  Those without insurance or sufficient bank accounts will need to rely on the kindness of friends, family and local service providers while putting theirs lives back in order.  Fortunately for them, Milwaukeeans have a strong ethos of helping those in need.

When the Brew City Flood hit on July 22nd, the view from Sprecher looked like this:

View out the Front Door

Cars Driving

We only had a bit of water seep under the garage door on the west side of the brewery.  Our neighbors and cars driving nearby suffered more damage.

After watching news reports and seeing people’s damaged belongings on the streets to our west, east, north and south, we decided we needed to do something to help.  So we contacted our friends at Hunger Task Force Milwaukee and volunteered to host a food drive.

Sprecher will be collecting food for the Hunger Task Force now through September 26th. Everyone who brings two (2) or more non-perishable items will receive a free adult tour with the purchase of an adult tour (basically, Buy 1 Get 1 Free), a $4 value.  Along with the guided brewery tour, guests receive a souvenir tour glass, 4 generous samples of Sprecher beer (21+ only) and unlimited Sprecher gourmet soda.

Tour reservations are strongly suggested.  Call 414.964.2739 to reserve your spot.  Bring 2 or more non-perishable food items to the check-in and get your free tour pass.

Join us on the Central Mall for fun, games, information, photo ops and prizes during the 3rd annual Sprecher Day at the WI State Fair!

10-5pm:  Scavenger Hunt for 25 items located throughout the fairgrounds. Stop by and pick up your list and instructions. Many prizes. 1st to complete gets 1st pick.  Start and finish early and you have the best chance of getting the best prize.

Photo Ops:

Noon-3pm: Meet and Greet w/ Rooty, the Root Beer Mascot. BTW: Rooty is not a crow, he’s a baby griffin.

Noon-3pm: Meet and Greet w/ Lyle Nowak. Are you a fan of the Mid-America Stock Car Series? Then you know Lyle is 3rd in the standings this year. Check out the car and talk with Lyle.

2:00-4:00pm: Meet and Greet with Alice in Dairyland.

(TBD) Meet and Greet w/ Discover Wisconsin’s Stephanie Klett

(TBD) Meet and Greet w/ Miss Wisconsin

Noon-3:00pm: Grilling with Beef and Sprecher Beer Grill-Off. Why watch a tv show when you can see 10 finalists grill their recipes live, with the hope of winning great prizes for their culinary expertise.

3:00pm: Root Beer Float Drinking Contest! What a great way to celebrate the Official Root Beer of the Wisconsin State Fair. Two age groups: 6-11, and 12+. Contestants will be selected from the audience. Be there or you’ll miss your opportunity for a memorable experience.

4:00pm: Brat Eating Contest — other than great beer, nothing says Wisconsin like a brat eating contest.  12 contestants will be selected from the audience for this speed eating finale to a fun-filled day.

Throughout the Day: Kids games, recipe giveaways, food samplings, Discover Wisconsin destination information, guessing games, opportunities to win tickets to Sprecher’s 25th anniversary bash, and more!

For the 1st time ever, Sprecher is the Official Root Beer of the Wisconsin State Fair! Woo-Hoo!  Until we have a map available, these signs will lead you to The Root Beer That Made Wisconsin Famous.

Official Root Beer of the WI State Fair!

Official Root Beer of the WI State Fair

It’s actually kind of surprising that Sprecher Root Beer was not part of the State Fair until last year when you could get Sprecher Root Beer Floats in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion.  That’s history.  Sprecher Root Beer will be available throughout the fairgrounds every single day of the fair.   In the WI Products Pavilion, you can also get Ravin’ Red and Cherry Cola floats, and Cream Soda. Mugs up for that!

Like the soda but really want to know more about where to find Sprecher Beer?  A wide variety of Sprecher beers will be available throughout the grounds; we’re putting together a Sprecher locator map as I type.  In the meantime, you can find Abbey Triple, IPA2, Witty (Chameleon) at Benno’s, which will also have our Belgian Dubbel on Sprecher Day Monday, August 9th (more about that in the next post).

Benno’s at the WI Products Pavilion will have Special Amber, Hefe Weiss and EPA

Charcoal Grill, Pitch’s/Miss Katie’s and Apollo’s will have Special Amber (and Root Beer);

Sheboygan Brat Haus will have Special Amber and Oktoberfest (and Sprecher mustards);

Adelines will have Sprecher Adelines Ale, and Witty (Chameleon);

Leadfoots will have Sprecher Leadfoot Light (and Root Beer).

Join us at the Central Mall on Monday, August 9th for free family-friendly Sprecher Day activities.

Cheers to lots of sunshine and WI State Fair fun!

Omaha’s Beertopia has been hosting its Sunfest Craft Beer Festival for many years but this year they had something new to offer to the 700+ guests, Sprecher beer.   Since Sprecher products have only been in Omaha for a few months, Randy and Anne took this opportunity to check out the local craft beer scene.  On the surface, there isn’t much of a scene, but if you just scratch lightly, you’ll discover a few Nebraska breweries and a whole lot of craft beer aficionados. Among the best Omaha breweries we sampled  is Upstream; one of its brewpubs is located in the Old Market area downtown,  a really cool shopping/eating/bar district based in renovated warehouses.

Renovated Building in the Old Market Area

We’re told that despite the growing audience for craft beers in Omaha, only a couple of stores are dedicated to offering a broad selection of craft beers. We visited Brix on 170th St., and Beertopia on 36th and Farnam.  Brix is a gorgeous new store with everything for your party needs including a beautiful selection of beers. Beertopia also has a remarkably good selection of craft and import beers along with a knowledgeable staff.

Beer Tent at 7pm

Fun at Sunfest

Randy and Sprecher Fans

These Guys Know Beer

Beertopia is located on an unassuming corner with 3 other dedicated beer pubs: Crescent Moon, Huber House (German) and Max and Jo’s (Belgian). Coincidentally, Sunfest Craft Beer Festival took place in the parking lot behind this craft beer mecca. This was a perfect venue for the festival because like Omaha, it was unassuming yet surprisingly sophisticated.

In between introducing fest goers to Sprecher beers, answering questions, and having his photo taken with Sprecher beer fans, Randy sampled beers from nearby Nebraska breweries including Hopluia, Neraska Brewing Company (NBC), Gottlieb, a group of homebrewers and Uplands.  At the other end of the tent were notable breweries such as: Left Hand Brewing Company, Great Divide, Avery, New Belgium and more.  Contact www.beercornerusa.com for a complete list.

Of those he sampled, Randy’s favorite beer was a Dortmunder, which I believe was made by the homebrewers who also made some nice rye beers btw.  As for commercial beers, NBC’s Melange a Trois was outstanding.  Left Hand’s 400 Pound Monkey deserves praise for being a nicely balanced English IPA.  Honestly, of the 100+ beers available, many were more than respectable.  This is a festival craft beer lovers should put on their calendar because in addition to the usual suspects, several surprises are offered each year.

Thank you to our Omaha distributor DiLoranzo-Penke for involving Sprecher in this festival.  And thanks to all the great Omaha residents who love craft beer.  You do the industry proud.  More pictures can be found at the Sprecher flickr gallery, www.sprecherbrewery.com.

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.

Cheers to the guys in the brewhouse!

Sprecher won  8 medals at the 2010 LA International Commercial Beer Competition:

- 4 gold (Irish Stout, IPA2, Oktoberfest, Piper’s Scotch Ale);

- 3 silver (Dunkel Weiss, Hefe Weiss, Abbey Triple); and

- 1 bronze (Dopple Bock).

Some of these are on tap at the brewery.  Why not stop by for the Belgian Dubbel release party on June 19th and try the award winners as well?Belgian Dubbel Release Party

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