Starkbierfest plans couldn’t wait and we made a quick trip to Milwaukee to consult with Mark, Mary Beth, Chris and Daniel, aka Wolfgang.
On Friday night we enjoyed a keg of Messhofen beer, courtesy of our friends in Ulm. Messhofen brews a traditional Märzen style of beer – a style that is so rarely done correctly anymore. Anyway we love it a lot and appreciate that our friends in Ulm were thinking of us. During our session, we nailed down some of our plans for March’s Starkbierfest trip, so things were quite productive. Unfortunately for me, I had the bad sense to go out at Midnight with Wolfgang to the Old German Beerhall on Milwaukee’s historic Third Street. There was still a pretty good crowd there and we enjoyed another Ma?, a few brats, until we were booted out at 3:00 AM.
On Saturday, we woke later than usual and Vonia dropped off Wolfgang and me at the Lakefront Brewery. Starting out with the new Wheat Monkey Ale, I was hoping for a little Weissbier-ish style and was quite disappointed. This one just didn’t do much for me at all. So I ran back to the beer I knew that I really liked, the Riverwest Stein Lager. I imagine this is their best selling beer – it’s been a staple for years. Next I went to the Lakefront IPA and was quite impressed by this one – even went back for more later. During the tour, we discussed the Reinheitsgebot which made them win big points in my book. The great thinkg about their tours is that you get to drink while you see the brewery and you even get a refill along the way. Out in the brewery I tried a Klisch Pilsner and though it a decent representation. Though hard to compete with the hoppy IPA I just hard, I thought the Pils could have used a touch more bite to it. The other choice was the Cream City Pale Ale, Pumpkin Lager, and the Irish Style Stout. Sadly, there just wasn;t enough time to try them all.
Leaving the brewery, we had a little fun with a good natured local policeman. I almost got him to arrest Wolfgang, but it just didn’t work out. Our next stop was to cash-in our free beer coupons at a local pub, Bar Louie in downtown Milwaukee.
The Lakefront Brewery does a great job with its beer and with its tour. The tour is great deal – $6 for 4 small beers, the tour, a free glass, and a coupon for a pint at a local pub to be used on the same day. Wolfgang, however, wasn’t too impressed with Lakefront’s beer. Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but I think it’s a good brewery with most offerings quite tasty.
On our way back to our hotel, we stopped off at Maders. At the :Knights Bar, we had a great conversation with some Colorado folks thinking about visiting Germany while we enjoyed a Weissbier.
In the evening we all enjoyed supper at a seafood restaurant, much to Wolfgang’s dismay. He was hoping for Mader’s – especially since one of the waitresses we met at the Old German Beerhall were working. After dinner, we went back to to the Hyatt and tapped a mini-keg of Maria Hilfer Pilsner from the Sudhaus in Speiden. Mark picked it up on his last visit to Füssen. After we emptied that one, we moved on to one that Wolfgang found in Chicago - a 5 Liter keg of Weltenburger Dunkel. The consenus was that this was also a great beer. We actually took a tour group there a few years ago.
We got their via bus and decide that one really needs to arrive via water to appreciate the full effect. Not far behind Weihenstephan as the world’s oldest brewery 1050 versus 1040, this place needs to be seen to be appreciated.
As I said it was a productive trip and we locked down our Starkbierfest Itinerary. We’ll be visiting Munich, Regensburg, Ulm, and Bad Tölz. We also plan brewery visits to Schneider in Kelheim, Kuchlbauer in Abensberg, Kronen near Ulm and Kloster Reutberg near Bad Tölz. And perhaps a visit to the Hops museum and Weisswurst breakfast at the Weisses Brauhaus if we can work it in. Right now I’m working on hotels and then will have the updated schedule on our webpage: Starkbierfest.
We currently have 13 people that “say” they’re in for Starkbierfest – I’d like to take no more than 14-15. So, if you are a regular, I might still be able to fit you in – let me know as soon as possible!