Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catching up with my Summer

I realize I haven't written much lately, so I thought I'd catch you up on other events from my summer so far. Since I attended Rock USA 2011 in Oshkosh, WI, I have attended two beer festivals and another concert. Back on July 23, I went to the 2011 Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival, which was held at Cathedral Square Park in Milwaukee, WI. It should be no secret that I am a huge fan of craft beer, a beer aficionado if you will. I love trying new beer from all of the macrobreweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs from all of the U.S. Wisconsin has many great breweries other than the one it is most famous for, Miller. I personally have sampled well over 200 different beers from all over. Some are outstanding and others are not good at all, but each offers a different style and taste. I'm learning about beer all the time. Yes, I do have favorites. Much like the many different styles and flavors of wine, the craft beer industry has taken to brewing beer of all kinds. The Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival is a celebration of these specialty craft beers. There were over 90 beers available to taste, some brewed especially for the event. It was a great time with lots of great tastes! Here are some pictures from the event.

The following week, on July 30th, I attended the 2nd Annual Milwaukee Brewfest. This event was similar to the Firkin only much, much larger with over 120 beers to sample. No, I didn't sample them all, but I had my share. Thankfully I did not drive. I had purchased VIP tickets which got me in an hour earlier and allowed me to sample special 'VIP-only' brew. Because I have already sampled over 200 beers, I didn't need to taste all of them at this event. I concentrated on the special VIP beer and the one's I haven't sampled. There were many great beers. A couple breweries stood out - Howe Sound Brewing and Lowlands Brewing Company. There were three beers that I thought were fantastic: The Grand Saison from Grand Teton Brewing Company (Victor, ID), Peanut Butter Ale from Blue Moon, and Mango Sunset Lager from Delafield Brewhaus (Delafield, WI). Check out pictures from Brewfest.

Fast forward to August 14th and that is when I took in my next concert. We traveled an hour to Kenosha, WI for a show at The Brat Stop. The Brat Stop is basically a truck stop sort of restaurant that happens to have a stage. On this night, I was particularly excited about seeing Evans Blue, a great rock band that I have been wanting to see for a few years now. The opening act was a regional band called Soul Shaker. They were kind of a throwback southern style rock band. The lead singer looked like a cross between Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. They were decent, but not who I was there to see. Up next was Evans Blue. They just killed it! I was very impressed with the quality of the sound from such a small venue. I've mentioned in other posts how much I enjoy watching the drummers. Evans Blue's drummer, Howard Davis, is absolutely amazing! He is now my favorite drummer to watch play. Such energy! Such passion! Evans Blue played all of my favorites, well most of them anyways as I like all of their music. Pop Evil was the headliner. I saw them open for Chevelle and Buckcherry in 2009 and didn't think much of them then. I guess a couple years has done them well. They were really good. Unfortunately I wasn't familiar with most of their songs. I did, however, get to meet the lead singer and the drummer from Evans Blue while Pop Evil was playing. Check out the pics.

This has certainly been the year for me to meet bands. There was John Falls (singer) from Egypt Central; Dan Jordan (singer) from Kopek; Julia (singer) from Me Talk Pretty; Mandi (singer) from Of Verona; Tim King (bass), A.J. (guitar), and Jordan (singer) from SOiL; Sick Puppies; and Dan Chandler (singer) and Howard Davis (drummer) from Evans Blue. Still a few months left in the year too.

So what's next?

My birthday is this Friday (August 26th). I'll be competing in the Warrior Dash (a 3-mile race with obstacles) on September 17. I'll be seeing Bush, Chevelle, and Filter on October 8. I have tickets for the Southern Gentlemen Tour featuring Ed Roland of Collective Soul and Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra on November 2. Still have to purchase tickets for Five Finger Death Punch on November 8.  Lots of fun events over the next few months. Stay tuned!  Hope you are enjoying your Summer too!!

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