September 19, 2009

250 brews to sample ... what's not to like?

Festival Hall park was beer lovers' Heaven Saturday, as more than 100 brewers from all over the country offered samples of nearly 250 different brews.

A sell-out crowd of 4,000 showed up -- Imagine that! -- for this year's Great Lakes Brew Fest, a benefit for the Racine Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps.

Admission bought them four hours of as many beers as they could sample -- and as you'd expect there were lots of happy party-goers. This year's theme was "Talk and Walk Like a Pirate," and many were dressed in pirate garb of some sort -- Arghh, matey! -- but many more wore their favorite beer-centric t-shirts, of which there seem to be an almost infinite supply.

Brewers present sported names like Buffalo Water, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Grumpy Troll, Horny Goat, Jolly Pumpkin, Mickey Finns, Smuttynose and Tommyknocker Brewing, among the more colorful. Of course, mainstream brewers like Anchor, New Glarus and Leinie were also represented. My favorite was the Left Hand Brewery, but only because its promotional car had two beer taps mounted in the trunk -- you can take it with you!

Here's what the party looked like:

So many choices, but just four hours...

The stars of the Pirate Parade

Yes, that's a pretzel necklace. Very tasty!

And finally, proof that beer is never bought, only rented...


  1. Thank you for the great photos!! I see that an employee of mine who called in "sick" tonight was there enjoying the brew. I guess that person will be terminated Monday morning. I'll have to check this site more.

  2. Anon 8:32 - if your employee had sick leave to use, then cut the poor guy some slack! Maybe he just needed a mental health day.

  3. I would assume from the name "sick leave" that the employee did have sick leave to use - for being sick.

  4. Just like a lazy employee ( cut the guy some slack) WTF this is Wisconsin, we take pride in our work and in our drink. Fire the guy/ gal

  5. The Big "E"9/20/2009 11:00 AM

    On the positive side - I hope this was a huge fundraiser for the Kilties. Wish I could have been there, I could have suggested an ale named after me in honor of the Kilties - "Big 'E' Ale" - and I certainly would have been sampling!

    Give the fellow a break - he is probably suffeering enough today, I suggest Bromo Seltzer.

    Emil J. Pavlik
    The Big "E"

  6. If everyone who used sick leave had someone come around and check on them to make sure they were really sick, I'd guess a lot of people would be getting fired.

    Maybe this guy felt a few beers would help speed up his recovery. Maybe he had a migraine or a toothache and the alcohol would numb the pain.

  7. Anon 10:32 - I'll bet money that you've already called in sick when you weren't sick. Everybody does it! They just don't have the misfortune of having their photo posted on a news website however. I feel sorry for the guy.

  8. I like the pretzel necklace.

  9. That's us on the cover picture! My best friend Josh Haese, his wife Shelley, my wife Sara Wiebensohn, then myself Keith. We had an awesome time!

  10. Who's the party pooper who's going to fire his employee?

  11. What's not to like - look at the people in most of the pictures. If it weren't people like that, it would be a nice event.

  12. Dave Blank - is that really the face you want to display for a representative of the city?

  13. Is that the former mayor in the baseball cap?

  14. The Great Lakes Brew Fest is for sure one of Wisconsin's premier beer festivals, a must-attend event for anyone who respects beer. See you next year!

  15. JJ McAuliffe9/24/2009 3:20 AM

    I just wish that after the festival people would A)use Saferide B)go home. It sucks how many Taverns downtown have to kick out people who have had enough and even worse are puking all over the place. Enjoy yourself yes, but please for the love of some responsibility

  16. I agree with J.J. Mac, go home people. We saw one of them peeing right outside the front door of a downtown restaurant with guest with families waiting to be sat at a table. If you can't handle your beer and be respectful, then don't attend events like this.

  17. I thought that bartenders,taverns and events could be held accountable for "overserving" alcohol in the state of Wiscosnin.

    If someone at the event wasn't responsible enough to stop drinking, the bartender who overserved them can be held liable. Isn't that right? And if the individual bartender couldn't be identified, then the entire event would be held liable. Isn't that accurate...based on Wisconsin law?

  18. "Anonymous said...

    Thank you for the great photos!! I see that an employee of mine who called in "sick" tonight was there enjoying the brew. I guess that person will be terminated Monday morning. I'll have to check this site more.

    your post looks fake but if it's not, sounds
    like he has an ahole for a boss.

    also this is on a saturday, so i believe your remark even less. who has to work saturdays in this economy??