For the next ten days, Madison will be obsessed with beer. Let's try that again: For the next ten days, Madison will be even more obsessed with beer than usual. The occasion is Madison Craft Beer Week, which features an expansive calendar (PDF) of tastings, samplings, pairings and seminars. Here are some highlights.
Saturday, April 30
Malt House Bike Pub "Crawl"
The Malt House, 2609 E. Washington Ave, 11 a.m., free
The Crazylegs Classic starts at 10:00 a.m., so if you're an elite distance runner you can start with the first wave, knock out a half-hour 10k, jump on your bike (which you've strategically parked at Camp Randall), and race over to The Malt House by 11:00 a.m. for the first of two weekend bike rides to area bars.
Beer Cocktails Foods Pairings
Underground Kitchen, 127 E. Mifflin St, 11:30 a.m., $55 advance ticketing
Ever thought to yourself: "This drink could be just so much better if only the cranberry juice were alcoholic too?" If so, this is probably the event for you. Learn how to mix hard alcohol with beer, and pair it with gourmet cuisine prepared by the Underground Kitchen Food Collective. Also, the official description mentions "beer ice," which alone probably merits attendance.
Sunday, May 1
Blind Taste Testing Competition
Old Fashioned, 23 N. Pinckney St., time unlisted, $12.50
You've spent your entire adult life studying for this quiz. Twelve 5 oz samples are your platform to shine. Winners get prizes, but really, it's a no-lose situation.
Monday, May 2
The Science of Food and Beer
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St., 5 p.m., $25
Held in the new Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, this event provides the perfect excuse to drink great beer on a Monday night: Science. Chef Michael Pruett of Steenbock's on Orchard will prepare a tasting menu to be combined with brews from Vintage Brewing.
Tuesday, May 3
Aged Beer Seminar and Tasting
Barriques Market Fitchburg, 5957 McKee Rd., 6-8 p.m., $15
Barriques beer buyer David Sanborn has a great job. If you're not exhausted by four full days of tastings, samplings pub crawls, food pairings, and special releases, head over to Fitchburg for his discussion and a sampling of the beers Sanborn has aged in his cellar for the past two decades.
Friday, May 6
Beer and Cheese at the Sett
Union South, 1025 W. Johnson St., 4:30-7:30 p.m.
The brand new Union South opened just a few weeks ago, and it is a sight to behold. Held in the Sett, the event will pair varieties of Leinenkugel's and Blue Moon with an array of locally made cheeses. And once you're done with that, there's bowling, rock climbing and air hockey just a floor below!
Saturday, May 7
Demetral Park, 601 N. Sixth St., 2 p.m., BYOB
Breweries square off in a battle for area supremacy. Bring a sandwich and a six-pack and watch events like the grain-sack race and server's obstacle course. It'll probably be just like that episode of Party Down