Finding which beer goes best with a cream puff or cheese curds is the quest beer lovers face at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Tasty challenge accepted.
Sixteen Wisconsin breweries will be represented at The Micro, an open-air pub with two bars. City Lights and Good City breweries are new to The Micro this year. Other beverage options come from Central Waters, Door County, Hinterland, Lake Louie, Lakefront, Leinenkugel, Milwaukee Brewing, MobCraft, New Glarus, Potosi, Sand Creek, Sprecher, Stevens Point, Titletown, Tyranena and Wisconsin Brewing.
The Micro is under the Benno's Concessions umbrella. Benno's also runs the Leinie Lodge with Leinenkugel products; Camp Amber, which also sells Leinenkugel beers; and Wineberry, which serves 10 to 12 varieties of wine.
Steps away is the Goose Island Ale House, a tap room created from 300-year-old barn wood in the Holy Hill neighborhood and saved from destruction in a fire-department test fire. The Ale House has been at the fair for three years but it still surprises a few fairgoers, said Dave Hock, vice president of sales at Beechwood Sales and Service, a beer distributing company in New Berlin.
The Ale House serves Goose Island brews such as Four Star Pils, Goose IPA or 312 Urban Wheat Ale. Juicy Double, a double India Pale Ale from Goose Island, will make its Wisconsin debut.
At the Micro, beers will sell for $8 for a 20-ounce pour or $8 for a flight of three 7-ounce servings. The Micro will again blend Beermosas, a combination of beer and juice. Those will also cost $8.
Twice a day at the Goose Island Ale House — at 3 and 7 p.m. — specialty beers such as the popular Goose Island Bourbon County Stout are offered while supplies last (last year one keg kicked within 30 minutes so be prompt). Among the specialty offerings, the fair gets the distinction of being the first place in Wisconsin to tap Cooper Project No. 2, a barrel-aged blonde doppelbock.
Also on the list from Goose Island: Grand Prestige, a Quad-style collaborative beer between Goose Island and Hertog Jan from the Netherlands; Cooper Project No. 1, a barrel-aged Scotch ale; and a selection of sour beers.
Beers cost $7.50 for 20-ounce pours. Special release beers such as Bourbon County Stout will cost $10 for a 10-ounce pour.
Hock conceived of the idea and helped find the barn wood that decorates the tap room. His wife, Leanne, is general manager of the neighboring Budweiser Pavilion and the Goose Island Ale House.
Lakefront Brewing, Wisconsin Brewing and New Glarus beers can also be found at other spots on the fairgrounds, said Pam Jesse, who has worked with The Micro for 30 years.
What started out as one stand "got bigger and bigger," Jesse said.
The Flight School, a bar within The Micro, will serve additional beer styles from Central Waters, Door County Brewing, Good City, Hinterland, Leinenkugel, MKE Brewing, MobCraft, New Glarus, Sand Creek, Sprecher and Wisconsin Brewing. For instance, the Flight School rotating selection includes Good City Reward Double IPA and MobCraft Clan McDougall, a barrel-aged Scotch ale.
As it has in the past, The Micro will give away "keg killer" T-shirts to the patron who orders the last brew in a keg and will hold raffles for brewery swag each day.