With more than 380 events during a week that lasts, improbably, 11 days, even the most dedicated beer fans can use some help in navigating the crowded (overcrowded?) schedule. These are our don’t-miss picks. (Complete schedule at madbeerweek.com.)
First tapping of Common Thread 2015
Thursday, April 30, at Wisconsin Brewing Company, Verona, 5-9 p.m.
Meet many of the brewers — over 14 from across the state — who made this year’s version of the commemorative collaborative beer, a Belgian Tripel.
Friday, May 1, at Craftsman Table & Tap, 6712 Frank Lloyd Wright Ave., Middleton, 6-9 p.m.
Make use of your empties at this adult-beverage version of a pinewood derby. Car kits are available through the restaurant before or at the event. The cars cannot weigh over 6 ounces and must be built using an entire American craft beer can.
Inaugural Red debut
Friday, May 1, Memorial Union, 3-5 p.m.
The first collaboration between WBC and UW-Madison food science students will be tapped on the Terrace.
Cask Ale Festival
Saturday, May 2, East Side Club, 11 a.m., $35
“We Is Oliphant”
Saturday, May 2, Next Door Brewing, 2439 Atwood Ave., 5-10 p.m.
Meet irrepressible young brewers Matt Wallace and Trevor Wirtanen from Oliphant Brewing of Somerset, Wis., as they take over the taps at Next Door.
Bomber Bottle Bombardment
Sunday, May 3, and Monday, May 4, 674 S. Whitney Way
Vintage Brewing will sell bottles of its eclectic beer creations from the past 3-4 years in 22-ounce bottles. The pub doesn’t regularly bottle, but brewmaster Scott Manning is opening his cellar for beers that are “unavailable elsewhere and will never be available again.”
What hop is that?
Thursday, May 7, 2001 Atwood Ave, 4 p.m.-2.a.m.
The Hop Garden takes over taps at One Barrel, with the Hop Garden’s Rich Joseph and One Barrel’s Dan Sherman and Peter Gentry. They’ll infuse beer with local Cascade, Crystal or Nugget hops by using “Hop Randalls,” which produce a lightly flavored beer. Sample all of them side-by-side.
Friday, May 8, Overture Center’s Capitol Theatre, 7 p.m.
For those who can’t seem to get enough of New Glarus’ Spotted Cow, now there’s the movie, The Tale of Spotted Cow. Tickets ($15) includes a pint of New Glarus beer and a special 8-ounce pour of brewmaster Dan Carey’s newest sour called Wild Bitter. Q & A with Deb and Dan Carey, too.
Atwood pub crawl
Saturday, May 9, 2000-2400 blocks of Atwood Ave., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Looking for a little exercise between beers? Take a pub crawl along Atwood Avenue to connect One Barrel, the Harmony Bar and Next Door Brewing. The three teamed up to brew a beer, and at each location different hops will be added to the beer for a unique twist on presentation. Have all three and qualify for a special pint glass with all three logos.
I walked with a zombie
Saturday, May 9, Mid Town Pub, 2405 Allen Blvd., Middleton, 6 p.m.
Fans of 3Floyds, take note of this zombie costume party, with the much-sought-after, hoppy pale ale Zombie Dust on tap. Also Gumballhead and Rich Life.