Saturday, August 11, 2007

Great Taste views from Madison.

My first Great Taste of the Midwest was everything I'd been told it would be -- and more.

There were 100 breweries present and 5,000 tickets sold. The crowd was extremely knowledgeable, well-behaved and hip. At 2:00 p.m., Jared tapped our "pin" of cask-conditioned Bonfire of the Valkyries, smoked black lager aged in a JW Lees Port barrel.

New Holland probably won the annual outrageousness competition with fellow Michigan brewers Bell's, Dark Horse and Founders. Top hats and Marlene Dietrich torch songs are hard to top. Fortunately, all four breweries deliver the goods in the beer context.

The Real Ale tent featured casks from far and wide.

It was a capacity crowd on an uncommonly hot and humid day, and in the end, it's hard for me to imagine a better gathering. Numerous thumbs up.

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