You won’t find a better time of year to visit Madison. Springtime in Wisconsin’s capital city means visitors will encounter lush natural surroundings, outdoor dining, and community events for all interests. Those looking for an outdoor experience will love hiking and biking on more than 200 miles of trails, as well as enjoying time at more than 260 parks and beaches that are ideal for a host of activities. The city is also a trailblazer in the farm-to-table restaurant scene. L'Etoile is a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement and features a diverse menu and impressive wine list. Harvest is one of the top-rated farm-to-table restaurants in America, and its take on Italian and modern American cuisine will leave you wanting more.
The Madison Craft Beer Week (MCBW) has been the top Spring beer celebration in Madison for almost a decade, and it will take place May 4-13 at locations around the city. This year’s edition promises to be bigger than ever with more than 400 events at 80 Madison venues. From unique pairings to themed parties, this event has something for every beer lover. The event plays host to a handful of fun and entertaining festivals. At the Flamingo Fiesta (May 5), attendees can enjoy a Cinco de Mayo-themed event complete with flamingos, beer, pools, games, and more. Micros at Maifest with Revolution Brewing is a family-friendly outdoor event with games for kids, a variety of grilled treats, live music, and plenty of beers to sample. May-Toberfest is exactly what it sounds like, an Oktoberfest in May. Here attendees can enjoy $5 German beer fills all day, plus German foods, music, and costumes. At the Underdog Pet Rescue Fundraiser, $1 from every beer sold goes to Underdog Pet Rescue, and attendees can drink pet themed beers, adopt pets, and more. To get a full breakdown of the more than 400 events, please visit the event’s schedule page. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Courtney Lovas to learn more about this 10-day extravaganza.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
CL: MCBW consists of over 400 events at 80 different venues. (Events can be found in guidebooks distributed to participating locations, on the site, or on the app.) There are beer dinners, tap takeovers, rare barrels, brewer meet & greets, odd (& delicious) pairings, and themed parties. The event has everything you never knew you wanted to taste, and this year, patrons will have a chance to win Packer tickets at The Great Dane.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
CL: This is the 8th MCBW.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
CL: Happy hour dwellers, day drinkers, specialty seekers. Everyone over the age of 21. Events feature local beers, visiting brewers, game nights, pet adoptions, Star Wars fans (May 4th) and mothers (May 13th).
RAL: What makes this event unique?
CL: There's something for everyone. If you're looking for beer deals on the local offerings you already love, we have that. If you want to tiptoe into trying something new, we have that. And since the events take place on every side of town, chances are you can find something in proximity. If not, Union Cab is just a phone call away.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
CL: It's like an alcoholic choose your own adventure book.
RAL: What attendees find for activities?
CL: Here is a list of some of the activities:
Cribbage (City Bar)
Tie Dying (Off-Broadway)
Puppies (The Rigby)
Pig Roasts (Tip Top Tavern)
Live Music (Wisconsin Brewing Company)
Movie Nights (Bos Meadery)
Charity Bike Rides (Karben4)
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
CL: Everything from The Heritage Tavern beer dinner to mead & Doritos pairing at Bos Meadery.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
CL: HotelRED on Regent street hosts two events during the week. They'll be doing a Fermentorium Tasting and an MCBW favorite - Drag Queen Bingo. And the Edgewater Hotel (downtown) has a number of tap takeovers in addition to beer inspired spa treatments including Door County Brewing Silurian Stout body treatment, Ale Asylum Tears of My Enemies pedicure, and New Glarus Brewing Company Serendipity massage.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
CL: It's about everyone getting together as a community to celebrate their love for beer. Though there are a few events that pin breweries against one another in friendly competition, it's mostly about embracing the unique and wonderful beer culture we are so lucky to be entrenched in Madison.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
CL: Absolutely! It's 10 days of new, exciting events driving patrons to local establishments to eat, drink, and potentially find a new favorite spot.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
CL: Yes! There are many events this year donating proceeds to charity including Natt Spil - One Barrel Brewing & Natt Spil: Charity Benefit for Summer Camp for Burn Injured Youth, Karben4 - Pups & Paddles, Wisconsin Brewery Running Series, and Common Thread Release Party, and many more!
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
CL: If you're looking for something to do in Madison, this is a great week to get an experience that's out of the ordinary. Pick up a guidebook at any participating venue and find something to do for the day or the weekend. The best part is, the events change every year. Some favorites return annually, but for the most part, they are all unique events featuring what's trending in the beer world this year.
For more information about the Madison Craft Beer Week, please visit the event website.