Well, Madison has a new winter attraction - beer and cheese. I refer specifically to the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest, the first edition of which took place last Saturday at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall. A capacity crowd showed up (1,000-plus) to quaff craft brews from around the state in two-ounce glasses and nibble on cubes and slivers of artisanal cheeses, also of Badger State provenance. With 40 purveyors on hand to deliver samples to the masses, there was plenty to go around.
We are gratified by the reception accorded the event and the smoothness of its operation. We have a lot of people to thank for all this, besides the brewers and cheesemakers who were, of course, the essential elements, but also the Milk Marketing Board, the folks from New Glarus Brewery, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier and Isthmus beer correspondent Robin Shepard, who offered interesting presentations.
A lot of thanks also goes to those Isthmus staffers who helped put the event together and volunteered for the day. The greatest glory is bestowed on marketing coordinator Rachel Tatge, her corps of dedicated interns and associate publisher Linda Baldwin. They worked for months to secure the arrangements and plan the event, and their thorough preparation was evident.
Yes, Isthmus Beer & Cheese will return next year. Between now and then we will continue to pay attention to the comestible aspects of Madison culture. Doing so in this week's issue, contributor Erin Hanusa profiles Madison restaurateur and chef Shinji Muramoto.
We were a little bummed here in the Isthmus offices a few years ago when we lost the delicious sausage emporium, Dog Eat Dog, that sizzled across the street. Our disappointment soon dissipated, however, when the Dog was replaced by Restaurant Muramoto and chef Shinji's Asian inspirations. And he's not stopped there, as you can read in Hanusa's report.