The golden goods at Madison’s craft beer festival, this Friday through May 13
Froth at the Mouth
Craft beer and Cinco de Mayo. Is there a more sure-fire formula for a celebratory weekend? Head for Madison, Wisconsin on Friday and you’ll find yourself in the epicenter of a craft brew bonanza: Read on for highlights:
- Madison Craft Beer Week runs through May 13, but the Kick-Off Celebration and Cask Ale Festival happens this Saturday, May 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Pooley’s (5441 High Crossing Blvd., 608-242-1888, pooleysmadison.com). Savor up to a dozen cask ales while Classical Revolution Madison, a brass quintet, performs traditional German drinking songs and polkas. Endless sampling is $30 or pay as you go —half pints for $4 and full pints for $5.
- Want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Stop at Old Chicago (7202 Mineral Point Rd., 608-827-0033, oldchicago.com/madison), which will be serving a variety of Mexican microbrews. Other Saturday highlights include the Tour de Danes Beer Bus, from 1 to 5 p.m.; $30. The luxury coach departs from 123 East Doty Street for a tour of Madison’s four Great Dane Pubs, hosted by Great Dane Head Brewer Eric Brusewitz. Beer and lunch are included. For information, call 608-284-0000.
- On Sunday, opportunities to imbibe include the Merchant Six Point Brewery Dinner at 7 p.m. at Merchant (121 S. Pinckney St.; 608-259-9799, merchantmadison.com). Each of the feast’s four courses is inspired and paired with a different brew from the Brooklyn-based Six Point Brewery. $45 per person; $80 for two. Also on Sunday: The chance to sample some rare big beers, as Brasserie V (1923 Monroe St.; 608-255-8500, brasseriev.com) offers flights of hard-to-find quaffs from the Belgium Brewery Malheur and the unusual “sour” beer, Blue Sunday. Tastings run from 3 to 7 p.m.
GO Madison Craft Beer Week in Madison, Wisconsin. 800-373-6376, madbeerweek.com.
Where to stay: Arbor House (3402 Monroe St.; 608-238-2981, arbor-house.com) is located across the street from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and offers eight eco-friendly guest rooms; weekend rates from $150 to $230 nightly. The Hotel Ruby Marie (524 E. Wilson St.; 877-690-7829, rubymarie.com) is Madison’s oldest operating hotel and offers 15 guest rooms, easy access to downtown, and a German restaurant on the property; rates range from $120 to $190 nightly.
Where to eat: The award-winning farm-to-table Harvest (21 N. Pinckney St.; 608-255-6075, harvest-restaurant.com) hosts a six-course asparagus-themed dinner ($65) on Sunday, May 6; dishes include tempura asparagus roll and a lemon custard tart with an asparagus crust. Fresco (227 State St.; 608-663-7374, frescomadison.com) offers modern fine dining on the roof of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and panoramic views of the Capitol and State Street.