2005 | REGIONAL | EAST COAST
Milwaukee Beer Fest 2005
By Chuck Cook
One of my friends, a Wisconsin native and fellow beer writer,
had been telling me for years that a visit to the Milwaukee
Beer Festival and Blessing of the Bock event was something
I had to do at least once. Well, he was right.
Held on March 13 of this year, the event began with music
by the River West Accordion Club, singing classic polkas and
old beer commercial songs. The beer drinking could not begin
until the Rev. Robert Giese blessed the bock, a tradition
going back 17 years. Brewers in the building were invited
to come forward with some of their beer for the invocation,
and some heavenly brews were indeed to be found at the event.
The Blessing is the brainchild of Jim Klisch, who, along
with his brother Russ, run Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery.
Jim held the first few events in local bars until it became
so popular that it morphed into a beer festival, now ably
directed by John Zutz.
With over 20 local Midwest breweries pouring their beers,
and with beers from as far away as Belgium and Germany available,
there was plenty to choose from. Among the 100+ different
brews were lots of bock beers, as you might imagine. Standout
brews included Capital’s Blonde Doppelbock, Lakefront’s
Bourbon-Barrel Bock, Nicolet Doppelbock, Sprecher Maibock,
and Tyranena Fighting Finches Maibock.
After a (biggest) beer-belly contest, dancers from Barika
Bellydance captivated the crowd with their gyrations. In fact,
most of the male and even some of the female fest-goers seemed
transfixed for some time while Kristel, Traci, Ami, Lane and
Marie performed. Once their show was completed, the ladies
joined fest-goers in sampling and enjoying a few beers. Even
the Rev. Giese was spotted hoisting a brew or two.
The Milwaukee Beer Festival (milwaukeebeerfest.com)
is held at the Serbian Memorial Hall, which is very convenient,
as it is across the street from Discount Liquors. This shop
carries over 950 beers from 32 countries and is possibly the
best beer store in Wisconsin.
You heard it from me: This beer fest is worth a visit.
Chuck Cook is a freelance writer living in
Richmond, Va. His passions are beer and travel, and he has
written for various beer publications. He can be reached via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.