This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Wednesday, January 26
Only 2,500 people will get to attend the 14th annual Bockfest, the Super Bowl of Madison brewing that's held outdoors in the Bier Garden at Capital Brewery on the last Saturday of February. Given the overwhelming interest in this celebration, which reaches capacity attendance every year, the brewery is holding a Bockfest ticket release party tonight. Go, as 500 tickets are being given away. Otherwise you have to figure out some other way to score tix, like booking a local hotel room, and face it, if you live here, you don't need a local hotel room. It's a waste of money. And this is free! Capital Brewery, 7734 Terrace Ave., Middleton, 6 p.m., free. Call 836-7100 for more info.
Thursday, January 27
What is Ballet in the Pasture? Hint: Natalie Portman is not involved. It is actually a keynote address by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia. He's possibly the U.S.A.'s most famous farmer, whom you may remember from Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and the documentary, Food Inc. Salatin is the keynote speaker at the 13th annual Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference hosted by the River County Resource Conservation and Development Council of Altoona. Admission to the speech includes Just Coffee java and Madison Sourdough pastries, along with readmission to the conference's private hospitality event and a Salatin book signing. Proceeds benefit the council's work to help fund sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation. Sheraton Madison Hotel, 706 John Nolen Dr., 9 a.m., $25. Call 715-579-5098 for more info.
Saturday, January 29
The "Taste of the Market" breakfast at the Dane County Farmers' Market is a highlight of the winter season. The chefs are always interesting, and this week's features a chap you may of heard of -- Tory Miller of L'Etoile and Graze, along with members of his staff. Other volunteers will also be lending a hand, including Friends of the Dane County Farmers' Market members, UW Dietetics and Nutrition students, Slow Food UW members, and participant farmers. The menu features chicken fried steak with country gravy or chicken fried Shiitake mushrooms, frost sweetened braised spinach, chef's choice eggs, sour cherry pancakes with maple syrup, roasted herbed rainbow potatoes, and Graze's "famous croissants." This breakfast is a benefit for the Friends' FoodShare Program, which allows Quest card users to purchase fresh food at the market. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $14 adults and $7 kids and smaller portions. Call 455-1999 for more info.
Obviously, the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest is foremost in our minds, but we wouldn't recommend it to you if it weren't a darn good time, judging from the inaugural fest last year. Find out more about second annual festival today, and learn about participating breweries and creameries, how to get a seat at the popular pairing sessions, and other tips, including the wisdom of cabbing it. Alliant Energy Center-Exhibition Hall, 1919 Alliant Energy Way, 1-5 p.m., $45 or $40 in advance. Call 251-5627 x.122 for more info
More events this week
Tuesday, January 25
In the Kitchen with Cathy: Latin America Fiesta cooking class, with Cathy Thomas preparing raw food versions of chips, vegetable wraps, and Mexican rice. Willy Street Co-op East, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 owners and $25 all others. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Thursday, January 27
Celebrate South Madison, a community gathering organized by the Urban League of Greater Madison, and featuring local entertainment, a free dinner, the Southside Champion Awards, and more. Urban League Center for Economic Development & Workforce Training, 2222 S. Park St., Ste. 200, 5-8 p.m., free. Call 260-8098 to RSVP and for more info.
Friday, January 28
The Art of Breton Crepes cooking class, with Rosalind Zerofsky demonstrating the batter and filing preparation, and folding and presentation techniques. Whole Foods Market, 3313 University Ave., 6-7:30 p.m., $25. Call 233-9566 for more info.
Saturday, January 29
Sun Prairie Groundhog Day celebrations include a community breakfast with booths, entertainment, and a birthday party for "human groundhogs." St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, 2420 St. Albert Dr., Sun Prairie, 8 a.m.-noon, $6. Call 837-4547 for more info.
Friends of Cherokee Marsh meeting, with special presentation by Wisconsin DNR fisheries biologist Kurt Welke about fish living in the marsh and nearby waters, and new findings in a carp-tracking study of the upper Yahara River. Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman Ave., 10 a.m. Call 241-5828 for more info.
Sweetheart Art, an annual Valentine's season cards and gifts fundraiser with a chocolate treats buffet. Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts, 18 Shake Rag St., Mineral Point, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., $2. Call 987-3292 for more info.
Market & Meals for Hope, a farmers' market and breakfast that benefits the Churches' Center for Land & People and its Harvest of Hope Fund for Wisconsin farm families facing distress. St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 602 Everglade Dr., 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $7-10. Call 445-4588 for more info.
Central Waters Brewing Company 13th anniversary party, with two bluegrass bands and an ongoing shuttle between the brewery and Guu's in Stevens Point, which will have Bourbon Stout, Bourbon Barleywine, and Peruvian Morning on tap. Central Waters Brewing, 351 Allen St., Amherst, 3 p.m.-midnight. Call 715-824-2739 for more info.
Sunday, January 30
Port Celebration at Wollersheim Winery, with release of a new White Port, wine tastings, food pairings, tours, live jazz, and more. Wollersheim Winery, 7876 Hwy. 188, Sauk City, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Call 1-800-847-9463 for more info.
Middleton High School Choral Program Country Breakfast, with choir performances, a silent auction, and all-you-can-eat pancakes, ham, eggs, and fresh oranges. Middleton High School, 2100 Bristol St., Middleton, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., $8 and $4 kids under 10. Call 238-6715 for more info.
Monday, January 31
Save the date
Thursday, February 17
Distill America, an annual festival presented by the Madison Malt Society, and featuring spirits tasting and distiller discussions. Edgewater Hotel, 666 Wisconsin Ave., 7-10 p.m., $55 or $65 for early VIP tasting. Call 255-8041 for more info.
Sunday, February 20