Archive | Beyond Busch Light

The real DJs of Marquette: turning pubs into clubs

Posted on 10 November 2010 by WarriorAdmin

DJ Firstgrade DJed at a party in Madison.

Former Marquette student Alex Curran, also known as DJ Firstgrade, disc jockeyed at a party in Madison.

Now that Angelo’s Pizza is nothing but a memory to upperclassmen and a myth to most freshmen, Marquette’s nightlife has centered around the two bars left on campus: Murphy’s Irish Pub and Caffrey’s Pub. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Murphy’s and Caffrey’s are filled to the brim with Marquette students enjoying drinks, the company of friends and most of all, the music.

Much of the atmosphere in these bars is centered on the music, but who is in ontrol of it? A trio of disc jockeys – DJ Firstgrade, DJ Dactyl and DJ Sunshine – are the ones that keep the music and dancing going all the way until closing time.

Alex Curran, a former Marquette student, picked up disc jockeying two and a half years ago. He said he developed a liking for electronic music and it launched him into becoming a DJ. “I always had a deep love and understanding of music and it dawned on me that I could do something about it,” Curran said.

In addition to being the regular Friday night DJ at Murphy’s, he has played at many venues around campus and Milwaukee. He has spun the decks at Whiskey Bar and Mi-Key’s Bar downtown, as well as many house parties around campus and even in Madison. He has played at the Rave three times, opening for artists like Infected Mushroom and MSTRKRFT.

For Curran, DJing at Murphy’s and Caffrey’s has its ups and downs, as it allows him to gain valuable experience but it limits what he can play. “People need to realize that we are not just iPods that just change songs,” he said. “We have a method to what we are doing.”

He said Murphy’s is his favorite of the two bars because the crowd there allows him to play more electronic music, pushing up the tempo.

“When it boils down to it, your not DJing for yourself, your DJing for the people,” Curran said. What makes DJing worthwhile for Curran is the connection he feels with the crowd: “Knowing that you are leaving an impact on their night and introducing them to new music is what makes it worth it.”

The Saturday night DJ at Murphy’s is Ben Heupel, a current Marquette student whose alias is DJ Dactyl. Heupel and Curran are good friends, and they began DJing at the same time. “I download VirtualDJ to learn the basics, and then ended up dropping $600 for equipment,” Heupel said.

Along with DJing Saturday nights at Murphy’s, Heupel DJs house parties and block parties around campus and in Madison and even at Caffrey’s every now and then. Like Curran, Heupel likes the crowd in Murphy’s because he can play more upbeat electronic and house music. Heupel said: “For the most part, the crowd reaction is positive. When I play at Murphy’s, the crowd gets really into the music, dances, sings along and every now and then, stops by the DJ booth and give me knucks, high fives or even buys me a shot.”

Heupel also mentioned good and sometimes frustrating aspects of DJing the Marquette scene. “Life as a Marquette DJ, to be honest, is bittersweet,” he said. “It’s bitter in the sense that you get a lot of requests, but its great to be able to make people move… It’s nice because it allows me to work outside my comfort zone with different genres and really grow as a DJ.”

Marquette student Ryan Regan, also known as DJ Sunshine, DJed at Murphy's Irish Pub.

Marquette student Ryan Regan, also known as DJ Sunshine, disc jockeyed at Murphy's Irish Pub.

Another Marquette student, Ryan Regan, makes up the final piece of the musical trio. Regan, dubbed DJ Sunshine, is the Thursday night DJ at Murphy’s. Similar to the others, his passion for music is what pulled him in to DJing: “My love for house music made me want to pursue DJing. I love introducing people to new music and DJing lets me do that.”

Regan plays at block parties around campus and at shows back at home in Orange County, Calif. “Most of all I like making people dance,” Regan said. “I used to hate doing top forty, but as long as the crowd is having a good time, it’s all good.”

While Regan sees DJing as just a hobby, he said he has a lot of fun doing it and enjoys the connection with the crowd. Regan summed up his experience as a Marquette DJ: “It’s just fun being in charge of the party. The crowd trusts me, and they know it’s going be a good night.”

All three DJs share the same goal: to introduce house, electronic and dance music to Marquette. From this goal, Regan has developed the slogan, “Turning pubs into clubs.” So next time you are in Murphy’s or Caffrey’s, listen to the music. You might just find you new favorite song. Stop by the DJ booth and make an introduction. And above all else, dance.

by Matt Freter
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Run up the runway

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Melanie Pawlyszyn

Milwaukee’s fashion lovers gathered at the Milwaukee Art Museum Friday, Oct. 15, from 5 p.m. to midnight to watch models walk down the runway, showing off Mount Mary College students’ and local designers’ garments at the second “RunUp to the Runway” event, part of one of the Museum’s monthly “MAM: After Dark” themed events.

Ten senior Mount Mary College students warmed up the catwalk in the Museum’s main lobby with the garments they designed, ranging from casual to formal wear. Three of the students modeled their own designs while local models wore the other students’ garments.

Libby Quail, one of the Mary Mount students, modeled her own garment: a tan, black and white winter coat with a giant white fur hood and sleeve cuffs.

Paxia Vang, another design student, designed a bright red dress that flared out at the bottom, with a similar flaring collar that was removable. She said her inspiration for the design was a phoenix, a mythical bird that bursts into flames and is reborn from its ashes.

Sandra Tonz, Mount Mary College instructor of the five classes in which the ladies made their garments, said the ten students were chosen from those recognized at Mount Mary’s student fashion show in May to represent a range of student work – from casual to special occasion designs. She, Sandi Keiser, the department head of fashion at Mount Mary College, among others, chose the finalists.

Over 600 event attendees, made up of a mix of young, middle-aged and older adults, voted on their favorite garment. The winner, Alison Topczewski, who modeled her own tan fall coat, will receive a scholarship from the event proceeds.

Keiser, who helped select and direct the Mount Mary students, said Mount Mary College was supported as a sponsor of the event by the “RunUp to the Runway” organizing committee, including Jordan Dechambre, an editor of M Magazine. She said the committee members strive to support the development of Milwaukee talent.

The “MAM After Dark: RunUp to the Runway” event has been going on for four years. In years past, the shows featured Milwaukee boutiques, said Keiser, but now they have individual designers’ garments.

Starting at 10:15 p.m., about 20 models wearing couture fashion from area designers Lorena Sarbu, Shannon Lee Molter and Miranda Levy and accessories by Linda Marcus, a Marquette alumna, walked the runway. Meanwhile, “I’m Not a Pilot,” a local indie, classical and pop band, played on stage at the end of the runway. Black and white film images faded in and out on a projector to the rhythm of the music.

The fashion show’s theme was “femme fatale” – an attractive and dangerously seductive woman.

The models wore different types of evening dresses in three sections. Models in the first section wore formal evening gowns while they walked the runway to the music of “I’m Not a Pilot.” The women in the second section wore fun, going-out party dresses and walked to a Lady Gaga techno remix and other techno beats. Models in the last section wore leather aviation caps and futuristic black and white dresses.

All of the catwalk models were local volunteers. Most of them said they preferred print modeling to runway modeling because Milwaukee, unlike other big cities, does not pay its models for walking the runway.

Sarah Golata, 25, a Milwaukee native who began modeling only last year, said she was modeling at the “RunUp to the Runway” show because she was asked by the event committee members, whom she knew from last year’s show. She said a lot more people attended the event last year because Ra’mon Lawrence, a clothing designer from “Project Runway” television show,  brought one of his collections for 15 women to model.

Nicole Feltz, 21, a model for one of the Mount Mary designers, has modeled for the last three years for a few local designers, including BEBE at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale.  

Feltz said she preferred print modeling because “it’s the way to make money and get clothes. I’m just doing this for a friend. Milwaukee runway models don’t get paid.”

All of the hair styling and makeup for the runway show was a courtesy of Erik of Norway and Neroli Salon and Spa beauticians.

During the later runway show, five male models dressed in black sat around the perimeter of the catwalk holding orange paper lanterns in their laps. Though they sat perfectly still like statues, each model’s black t-shirt stated in white letters: “I am not just an object.”

These t-shirts are being sold at the gift shop of the Museum’s new exhibition, “European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century,” that was open for attendees to browse through all night.

This exhibition that opened Oct. 7 features modern furniture and household items that are both visually interesting and functional at the same time.

All night local salons Neroli Salon and Spa, the Pfister Hotel’s Well Spa and Erik of Norway set up “beauty bars” for the guests to enjoy hairstyling, nail painting and skin analysis.

Nova Vandevoort, 32, a Well Spa employee, interpreted guests’ skin analysis, a box of blue light through which a mirror with designated colors showed facial skin sun damage, dehydration and oil.

Students from the Institute of Beauty and Wellness located on North Water Street also gave makeovers with Aveda products.

Sarah Everson, 21, a student who will be completing the institute’s 14-month cosmetology program in December, said she became interested in fashion in her freshman and sophomore years of high school. Though she gave makeovers at the event, Everson said she enjoys styling hair the most.

All night the Museum’s Café Calatrava, located in the basement, provided hors d’oeuvres – like tiramisu, chocolate cake, lemon tarts and Italian rice with tomatoes and sausage – at a long table set up near the entrance.

Photographers from Front Room Photography took guest photos for free at the “MAM After Dark” photo booth from 7 to 10 p.m. in the front hallway.

Though attendees came to see new fashion, many came to the event wearing their most fashionable garments.

Lon Michels, a local coat designer and professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, brought 18 Milwaukee women in a limousine to the event to model his outrageous fur coats painted with multi-colored patterns.

Tracy Ballway, 43, who came with her daughter and mother wearing Michels’ coats, called him “the Picasso of our time.”

Several local models also attended the event.

Erica Harley, 22, a Milwaukee model sitting in the runway audience, has been an independent model for three or four years, she said. She said she enjoys modeling in modern and abstract photography of Milwaukee Institute of Art of Design students, but she primarily does runway modeling. She comes to the Museum’s “RunUp to the Runway” every year to get modeling inspiration and make connections.

All event attendees, from young fashionistas to older adults, drank cocktails and socialized as they watched bright lights and fun fashion on the catwalk.

by Melanie Pawlyszyn
[email protected]

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Cinnamon, spice and everything nice

Posted on 02 November 2010 by WarriorAdmin

The weather has officially changed to have a clear autumn chill and November is approaching faster than you can say “Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater.” Well, maybe not, but you get the point. As this time of the year approaches, I think about some of my favorite things that only come this time of the year: Halloween, stepping on crunchy leaves and enjoying some of my favorite seasonal foods and drinks. Included in this would, hands down, be pumpkin pie, and beer happens to be a year round favorite, but some of us Germans emphasize drinking during this time of the year. So what would be better than enjoying pumpkin pie and beer, especially when they’re combined?

Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale is a “full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg.” Brewed in Milton, Delaware, the Punkin Ale is not an over-powering flavor of pumpkin. All of the spices are actually quite subtle and surface as more of an after taste. You can slightly smell the scent of the spices as well, adding to the wonderful effect of the overall satisfaction of the beer. My favorite part of this beer is being able to taste the maltedness of the ale with its hints of pumpkin and glorious spices, bringing to mind pie. It quenches your thirst and leaves you happy. It’s not pie, but, after all, if you really wanted pie, you’d eat that, not drink beer. Overall, I give Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale one full frosty mug.

To check it out go to: www.dogfish.com/

by Nicole Schneider
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Schlitztoberfest brings friends together for beer and brats

Posted on 31 October 2010 by Melanie Pawlyszyn

SchlitztoberfestA constant flow of around 200 people drank beer, ate brats and danced at Milwaukee’s first Schlitztoberfest Saturday, Oct. 9 from 1 to 9 p.m. on West Juneau Avenue outside Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery.

The Schlitz-sponsored event hosted four local bands: The Squeezettes, a polka band, and ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s cover bands, The Beanstalks, Liam Ford Band and Exhibit A.

Best Place volunteers Melissa Doorn, 38, Kevin Benninger, 20, a sophomore at Marquette, and two other men served Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon beers from a Schlitz truck parked near the stage.

“Upon request, we combined Schlitz and Pabst to create ‘Schlabst,’ a mixture similar to a Black and Tan,” Benninger said.

Best Place also served Schlitz, Pabst, Blatz and Old Milwaukee beers on tap inside the building.

Milwaukee brat house served Usinger’s bratwursts, Usinger’s hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soda and water at a stand outside.

Best Place volunteers sold decaled Schlitz t-shirts that they pressed onto multicolored American Apparel and Fruit of the Loom shirts with a screen press outside.

With the support of friends and friends of friends, event organizer Laurie Gross, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, explained her strategy in planning the event:

“I tried to target the Schlitz demographic, so everything from young Schlitz drinker to the older demographic that remembers the classic Schlitz formula from the ‘60s.”

Best Place owner Jim Haertel staffed the event with his employees and volunteers.

Brothers Russ and Jim Klisch, co-founders of Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery, gave 10 to 30-person tours of Best Place’s Blue Ribbon Hall, Captain’s and King’s courtyards and gift shop every hour on the hour from 1 to 5 p.m.

A photo display of all of the Milwaukee’s old breweries along with written documents of their histories was set up on a long table in the Blue Ribbon Hall.

Several attendees got dressed up for the occasion, like Milwaukee local Richard Pulsfus, who wore his father’s traditional German lederhosen.

Francisco Flores, a buyer and marketing services employee of the Pabst Brewing Company, celebrated his 45th birthday at the event and jokingly said the party was all for him. Originally from San Antonio, Flores was supposed to be relocated to the Chicago Pabst offices but was instead sent to Milwaukee.

With a Schlitz in his hand and a grin on his face, Flores said, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Anna Ceragioli, a Marquette sophomore who works in the Best Place gift shop, said, “What made Schlitztoberfest so fun, was everyone’s enthusiasm to enjoy a current celebration at a historic place.”

“We had drunken people in lederhosen dancing around Juneau Avenue,” she said. “When else can you do that?”

Best Place owner Jim Haertel, not knowing what to expect, said he thought the event a great success.

Gross had similar thoughts: “I had no idea what to expect. Honestly we were preparing from anything from 50 people to 5,000, so I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased with how many people were there.”

Upcoming events at Best Place include a performance from the Mood Swing Orchestra, a 17-piece band, on Tuesday, Oct. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.; Rocktoberfest with The Beanstalks, a local  rock cover band, on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 7 to 11 p.m.; and free Best Place “Open House” on Sunday, Nov. 14 from noon to 6 p.m., featuring the “Breweriana Roadshow.

The question now: Will there be a Schlitztoberfest next year?

“That’s definitely a possibility,” said Gross. “Schlitz is doing great, and it seemed to be a good event.”

by Melanie Pawlyszyn
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Blatz Beer Column “Its like a hootinany in my mouth”: the New Glarus Unplugged Cherry Stout

Posted on 10 March 2010 by Warrior Staff

Let it be known from this day forward: fruit beers are no longer in the ‘girly drink’ category. Sure, there are some that are just terrible, cough- Lienenkugel’s Berry Weiss-cough, but let’s be real. We all like fruit. We all like its sweetness and juiciness, and it tastes great. So, let’s get beyond the stereotype that men are only allowed to drink things that are brown (beer, whiskey, tequila, etc), and pony up to one of the best beers I’ve had in a long while.

Among craft brewers and craft beer drinkers alike, the New Glarus brewery (brewmaster, Dan Carey) is widely known to produce arguably the best fruit beers in the world. Their Belgian Style Red is considered to be the top lambic (fancy name for fruit beer) on the planet. So, if we’re going to learn to start appreciating, nay, respecting fruit beer, what better brewery to start with than New Glarus. The Cherry Stout is a one of New Glarus’ ‘Unplugged’ brews. A few times a year, Carey decides to brew something a little experimental, a little crazy, and the results are typically astounding. For the Cherry Stout, Carey starts with a typical black stout aged in oak barrels, and then to that he adds obscene amounts of Montmorency cherries from Door County, WI.

Expect this beer to pour a deep red, and to have a wonderful aroma of cherries and oak wood. A small head will dissipate after a few minutes, but the beer will leave a nice lacing on your glass (a sure sign of a quality brew). The cherries overwhelmingly dominate the taste, but the stout offers a solid foundation for the cherries to rest upon. This is only a seasonal beer, and may never be brewed again, so pick some up while you can!

by David Kruse
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Blatz Beer Column: Fans of hard cider unite! Why Strongbow is where its at

Posted on 18 November 2009 by Katelyn Ferral

By Katelyn Ferral
Fans of hard cider unite!
My quiver’s full: why Strongbow is where its at
I’ll admit it, when it comes to my alcoholic beverages I’m a full-on, stereotypical girly woman.
I like my booze like I like my men: sweet and flavorful. Boone’s Farm, anyone?
No, but really, I’ve never liked beer. And believe me, its been a rough four years with an aversion like that.  I’ve never experienced all the things real college kids are supposed to experience: never had that magical beer pong moment of friendship and camaraderie, never downed a 12 pack from a beer bong like all the hardcore kids, never did a keg stand (well, for more than .2 seconds and least) and never strolled up to a local bar and demanded a cold Miller like one of the boys.
Yep, it’s been Boone’s Farm (Melon ball flavor, obviously) Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Amaretto sours for me, that is until I was captivated by hard cider.
Straight-up hard cider. From the U.K, no less.
That’s right, I may not have met my soul mate at Marquette but I have found my intoxicating significant other in Strongbow, the “authentic English cider with a dry and refreshing finish.”
It’s a good thing I finally found Strongbow. Not only do I feel cooler ordering at the bar, but this drink’s apple infused overtones mixed with a hard edge is immensely satisfying. In fact as I sit here writing this, drinking my Strongbow, I’m feeling pretty darn satisfied, dare I say even delighted. Hard cider has that affect on people.
Strongbow is an import cider first mulled into existence by the late H.P. Bulmer in 1887. Largely considered the “household name in cider,” Strongbow is named after the knight Richard de Clare, later Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed “Strongbow” for relying heavily on Welsh archers during campaigns in Ireland, where the native Irish had few bows.
Strongbow has 5.0% alcohol volume in a 12oz bottle, but it’s barely noticeable with its golden radiance and sweet essence that permeates the mouth upon sippage. This hard cider accounts for over half of the cider sold in England and is pretty top-shelf because it is produced with a Royal Warrant; aka: even the Queen is obsessed.

Strongbow has slight similarities to beer, but the overall taste, presentation and awesomeness-factor is much better. Trust me on this one. With its crisp and authentic current of taste-bud bliss with every swig, you couldn’t choose a better beverage for your night out (or in, for that matter)

I’ll admit it, when it comes to my alcoholic beverages I’m a full-on, stereotypical girly woman.

I like my booze like I like my men: sweet and flavorful. Boone’s Farm, anyone?

No, but really, I’ve never liked beer. And believe me, its been a rough four years with an aversion like that.  I’ve never experienced all the things real college kids are supposed to experience: never had that magical beer pong moment of friendship and camaraderie, never downed a 12 pack from a beer bong like all the hardcore kids, never did a keg stand (well, for more than .2 seconds and least) and never strolled up to a local bar and demanded a cold Miller like one of the boys.

Yep, it’s been Boone’s Farm (Melon ball flavor, obviously) Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Amaretto sours for me, that is until I was captivated by hard cider.

Straight-up hard cider. From the U.K, no less.

That’s right, I may not have met my soul mate at Marquette but I have found my intoxicating significant other in Strongbow, the “authentic English cider with a dry and refreshing finish.”

It’s a good thing I finally found Strongbow. Not only do I feel cooler ordering at the bar, but this drink’s apple infused overtones mixed with a hard edge is immensely satisfying. In fact as I sit here writing this, drinking my Strongbow, I’m feeling pretty darn satisfied, dare I say even delighted. Hard cider has that affect on people.

Strongbow is an import cider first mulled into existence by the late H.P. Bulmer in 1887. Largely considered the “household name in cider,” Strongbow is named after the knight Richard de Clare, later Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed “Strongbow” for relying heavily on Welsh archers during campaigns in Ireland, where the native Irish had few bows.

Strongbow has 5.0% alcohol volume in a 12oz bottle, but it’s barely noticeable with its golden radiance and sweet essence that permeates the mouth upon sippage. This hard cider accounts for over half of the cider sold in England and is pretty top-shelf because it is produced with a Royal Warrant; aka: even the Queen is obsessed.

Strongbow has slight similarities to beer, but the overall taste, presentation and awesomeness-factor is much better. Trust me on this one. With its crisp and authentic current of taste-bud bliss with every swig, you couldn’t choose a better beverage for your night out (or in, for that matter).

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A hoppin’ beer cave, plus two new beers and a torpedo!

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Zachary Davis

This beer column has gone corporate! Blatz Liquor in the new Blatz condo building on Broadway has graciously allowed me to discuss some of their great products. Since they have bestowed me with this honor, I first wanted to talk about them. Much like Open Pantry, Blatz has a very cold/refreshing beer cave. The major difference is that they remove the dozens of boxes of Keystone, Hamm’s and Busch and replace them with a refreshing selection of microbrews. The selection includes a number of variety packs from various breweries, which is always a great way to find new favorites. Now to the beer!

A delightful and easy to find beer is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. However, this is not what I am going to talk about. The beer that I was so excited to try is Sierra Nevada’s new nationwide offering, Torpedo. Torpedo is a very good middle of the road Indian Pale Ale (IPA). One thing that is so pleasant about this new twist on the IPA are the not so hard to taste citric undertones. This is an awesome addition because so many IPA’s will blow you away with an overwhelming hops taste. On the topic of why it’s called torpedo, the rumor is that when making an IPA, breweries use a torpedo-like device to submerge the extra hops into the beer. I can’t say if this is true or not, but who cares? That just sounds cool.

Along the same lines, I tried out Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale. It’s from the Flying Dog Brewery and it’s really nice and subtle. I would liken it to Hoegaarden Light. Not nearly as complex or robust, but if you’re looking for something a little easier to drink than you might like it doggie style. Doggie style does finish with a somewhat spicy taste, which I think, gives it an original taste. This spicy characteristic is a bit surprising on the first sip but by the end of the beer it’s hard not to find it refreshing.
In closing, if you’re a fan of great beer like me you should definitely check out the new Blatz beer cave. Also, make sure to find a pale ale that you like because the hoppy taste can be very soothing and usually has a high alcohol content!

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Instead of just trying new beers, try new breweries and bars to hop through the weekend

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Zachary Davis

Most of the time I talk about beers to drink in this column, but seeing as this is the first one of the new semester and there are more and more people turning 21, I thought I would do something different. I am going to reveal some of my favorite places to go and drink beer.

I want to begin with the disclaimer that some of these recommendations are based on selection and others on pure atmosphere. To lead us off, the Lakefront brewery Friday night fish fry is a great place to start a weekend. The food is affordable and the beer is delicious as usual. You can also turn this good dinner into a really fun brewery tour. It only costs five bucks and at the end you’re given a collectible pint glass to take home.

If you were looking to get out to Water Street after the tour there is one location that has a down right impressive selection of beer. Bar Louis, which doubles as both a restaurant and bar, has a staggering number of beers on tap for anyone to try. Some of them are brews you would recognize from any liquor store, others are truly rare micro-brews that you can’t find on tap anywhere else.

One place that I recommend for a fun time and a very lively sociable atmosphere is Lucille’s. Located on the north end of Third Street, it is one of the most original places to drink in town. It has a double piano setup whose players take requests and play just about anything. Well they play anything you might imagine a bunch of Guiness drinking forty-year-olds would know.

Another place that has a very unique atmosphere but not an amazing beer selection is the Safe House. Most people know it as the spy themed restaurant but come nighttime it turns into a really fun bar. It has numerous specialty drinks that come in collectible glasses, but they are pretty expensive. My favorite part about the place is the blackjack table that you can play for free drinks. If you don’t know how to play, the very nice dealer will help you out with every hand and it’s not nearly serious enough for you to be made fun of. All in all Milwaukee has some awesome places to try out your new drivers license and if you are already 21, I hope you learned of a cool new place.

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A beer that would even make a turkey hop (or gobble)for joy

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Zachary Davis

As I recently stepped out of the bar to the freezing cold weather of 2 a.m. Milwaukee, I started to realize that it is almost Thanksgiving. The holidays bring fun times, good food, bloated stomachs and many wonderful things like funny tasting beer. Every year more and more breweries around the country provide us with somewhat spicy beer for our holiday palates to enjoy.

The popular kid in this class is Oktoberfest-style beers. They usually come with a nice amber tone and combine flavor like apple, spices and caramel with a large helping of malt. Just about every major brewery under the sun begins releasing their Oktoberfest around the middle of September and you can still find it on the shelves in late November, if not year around. Even though that bar that starts with C and ends in affrey’s has ended its sale of Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest, it should be considered one of the best of the light bodied Oktoberfest variations around. For a darker and heavier twist with a little bit more spice, try the Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen. It will probably require a trip to the better-stocked beer retailers but will be well worth it.

Lately though, some companies have decided to differentiate themselves with a staple on the Thanksgiving Day table. Companies like Blue Moon Brewery and Lakefront Brewery, just up the road from campus, have been infusing beer with an obscene amount of pumpkin flavor. Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale is heavily flavored with cinnamon and pumpkin flavors that represent everything your grandmother’s pumpkin pie does. The spice of the beer comes first and sticks with the taste all the way through the pumpkin flavoring until it ends with nice sweet undertones.

Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager is quite different however. They have taken pumpkin beer to a whole other level by distilling loads and loads of pumpkin into the beer. The only way to imagine this beer is to envision the mixing of a liquefied pumpkin pie with your basic American lager. The lager is not bringing much besides alcohol, and the pumpkin pie is coming in fists a-flying.

The only other offering I have is Leinenkugel’s Apple Spice, which just like its name says is a nice combination of apple aromas with a solid bite throughout. I realize that many of these beers sound like an unnecessary diversion from your normal daily routine, but I would highly recommend putting these beers in your refrigerator. Trust me, once you have had them you will proudly put the bottle caps in your collection on the ceiling!

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Three moods, three beers: A beer to add hop to whatever mood you’re in

Posted on 09 October 2008 by Zachary Davis

Every day presents a different opportunity to try new things. Mostly, I spend quite a bit of my days thinking about types of beer. The best part about beer is that there are so many to try, and with so many beers I thought I would share a few of my favorites with all of you. Here’s the twist though–I am going to try and match my favorite beers with the mood they most suit. One mood I am not going to try and match a beer with is anger because usually beer plus anger equals a hole in the wall

My all time favorite beer is Samuel Adams Black Lager. It is a truly full-bodied beer with strong, smoky and molasses flavors. It also finishes in your mouth with just a tinge of coffee and caramel if you are paying attention. This beer suits any person who is beaten down and exhausted. Its strong flavors will take your mind off of all the stresses of a high impact inner tube water polo game any day of the week.

I usually try to avoid giddy people whenever possible, but as giddy people do drink as well, I figure they need a beer to bring them down a notch. Since this person will likely be bouncing off the walls and giggling, I think they need something that will anchor them to the floor. New Belgium Brewery’s 1554 has enough flavor and body to put a giddy person in a chair in 10 seconds flat. 1554 has a very strong coffee and molasses taste. Although it is a beer that is sometimes hard to find in stores, this is a fantastic beer and is well worth how much effort you will have to go through to track it down.

Since both the previous beers were dark full bodied beers with complex, rich tastes, I thought confused people should get their beer next. Confused people need something straight-forward and simple. Something easy to order with a refreshing taste should get their minds back on track. I think a Miller Brewery staple and one of my favorite domestics is just the thing. Miller Genuine Draft should help those poor souls who find themselves in Philosophy class (and it will help the time go by faster too).

I recognize I only touched on three moods but honestly this article is about beer and not feelings. Beer can make you go crazy or it can sweep away all your anxieties, and that is really what it is all about.

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