This blog is dedicated to the over 70 Wisconsin breweries, and the wide array of Wisconsin beer found in Madison, Wisconsin

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hopalicious - the beer that can make anything palatable!

Disclosure: I am writing about a concert that took place in October, 2010.  It took a while for the wounds to heal .

I have been an "ipod fan" of the Canadian indie band Stars for a while. They seem to sneak onto every playlist I've made in the past year.  I saw they were coming to the Barrymore and got excited.  I talked it up and made my trusty group of indie music fans buy tickets WAY, WAY in advance. Shockingly it was not a sold out concert. In fact when we arrived it was pretty empty.  Should have been a sign.

I'm just not going to mince words here.  Stars was the cheesiest rock display I have ever seen. The level of sappiness only usually achieved in parodies of soap operas (e.g. the fake soap opera on Twin Peaks - "Invitation to Love".  Stars upped the cheese level by throwing roses and rose petals at the audience and overusing bubble making machines. If I closed my eyes I could hear the music I know and they were good.  But when I opened them I just saw a weird little dude on stage playing a mouth organ and a gal who should not wear sequence dresses. 

But you know what?  It ended up being a really fun concert.  And I credit this to the  fact that the Barrymore has Hopalicious on tap! At one point my brave friends Amanda & Rachael pushed their way up to the stage taking me in their wake until we were directly below creepy mouth organ guy. Amanda flirted with him and he winked and tossed her a rose (to dismay of the jealous fans who didn't seem to notice what a cheesefest this scene was).  It was a beautiful moment to behold. We then danced away through the bubble haze to our friends further back. 

Post train wreck concert, I do still listen to them, I just pretend the live band was a Milli Vanilli scenario.  That wasn't really Stars, just some bad Canadian lip syncers. 

Bottom line - when life throws you rose petals and bubbles, have a Hopalicious and all is right in the world again!

Here's some picture to make you jealous that you were not there:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another fine Madison beer addition - The Mason Lounge on Park Street

While there are many things I do NOT like about Wisconsin winters, I do appreciate that cold blustery evenings encourage meeting up with good friends at local pubs for a good chat. Thanks to my friend Deb for persevering to make an evening happen at the Mason Lounge.

The Mason Lounge is a relatively new place on Park Street that has 19 taps - many of which are Wisconsin brews.  The big beer winner of the night was the Rush River Amber. Rush River Brewing Co. is located in River Falls, WI. They brew four types of beer, all of which are unfiltered and unpasteurized (and delicious). I'd never had Rush River on tap before and I liked it very much. My only issue was that I am not a huge fan of drinking beverages out of Mason jars. Kind of a kitchy detail. 

I liked the ambiance of this bar that felt like a long time neighborhood gathering place. It was cozy and comfortable. There's lots of odd things on the walls - including a fake (but disarmingly real looking) hen under a heating lamp above the bar. I imagine this will be a popular hangout for the Vilas neighborhood people who must be happy to have a nice laid back place to grab a drink after work or on the weekends.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best Place in Madison to Have a pint of Guinness: The Brocach

I usually focus on Wisconsin beers, but I am going to make an exception to highlight a fabulous place on the Square to stop in on a cold snowy night and have a pint of Guinness.  The Brocach is a great Irish Pub with decent food and great bartenders.  And while the Guinness is not as good as Guinness that comes straight form the source (Dublin) they do a great pour. Plus they always have Powers on hand - never a bad thing!
Every time a snowpocalypse hits Madison I have the desire to head to Brocach to spend some nice toasty & cozy time with a pint and good company.  So thanks buds for braving the elements with me and lets do it again during the next snowstorm!

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