Counting Down to the Great Taste: The Pre-Parties

And so it begins… the countdown to the day that some hold to be better than Christmas, New Year’s, and St. Patrick’s Day put together. The Great Taste of the Midwest is almost upon us, and it’s time to mentally prepare yourself for this Saturday’s celebration of brewing spectacle.

One of the more welcome developments of the past few years has been the rise of the pre-parties. If you’re not lucky enough to have snagged a ticket to the event itself, these shindigs are a delightful way to sample some of the fine offerings that breweries will be bringing to town. Back in the day there were only a handful of bars that turned their Friday evening taplines over to the invading hordes, but now there are literally thousands (not really) of places, and some (I’m looking at you, Dexter’s) start as early as Wednesday.

The good folks at Madison Beer Review and The Daily Page have handy guides to the upcoming parties, so check ’em out often to see what’s coming up. I can say from long experience that Maduro’s annual hosting of Bell’s is always a good time, though this year a fellow named Tom strongly suggests visiting the Essen Haus to check out Revolution Brewing. Regardless, be warned —  overindulging at the pre-parties can adversely affect one’s enjoyment of the main event itself. And that would be a shame, a damn shame.

(Pic: Crowd at the Fauerbach Brewery tavern, 1933. Wisconsin Historical Society Image #3493.)