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Saturday, January 24, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  Mostly Cloudy

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"Festival brews" would make an ambitious Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest even better

There's a lot of common beer festival DNA, no matter which one you attend. You'll see a lot of pretzel necklaces, of course, and some kind of crazy clothing accessory -- hat, novelty glasses and beer-themed socks are common. If the festival is indoors, you'll definitely get to know the ooooooh..., that half-sympathetic, half-judgmental cheer that goes up whenever a glass is dropped. So yes, you would have witnessed all these things at the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest (IBCF) which just wrapped up its jam-packed sixth annual iteration last Saturday. >More
 Untapped potential: Three homebrewers vie for success at Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest 2015

One year ago, a homebrew called Monolith IPA won the inaugural homebrew competition at the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest. The contest was a pretty straightforward affair: brewers made their beer, brought it to the event, poured it for attendees who voted for their favorite, and a panel of judges selected the winner from the top vote-getters. This year, the finalists are already selected. >More
 Memorable Madison menus in 2014: From burnt ends to budino

No joke, I've been talking about the ginger cake at Grampa's Pizzeria for a year. It's the first thing I thought about when compiling my 2014 retrospective, and it was in January that I ate it. >More
 Doolittles Woodfire Grill brings contemporary touches to American fare

The cynical among us may, during these holiday months, look at the paved expanse of East Towne with scorn. It's cold, hard commercialism all right, a shopping mall and a bunch of bank drive-throughs and scads of national chain restaurants. The hopeful among us? They're packing into Doolittles Woodfire Grill. >More
 Go beyond the traditional egg roll in Madison

I have an obsession with egg rolls. Not regular egg rolls, though they are delicious. No, I'm fixated on weird egg rolls. Egg rolls that aren't really egg rolls at all, but are a nod to the original. >More
 Wendigo satisfies the hungry in downtown Stoughton

The wendigo is a cryptozoological entity of Algonquian legend, sort of like a werewolf, that represents a human given over entirely to its hungry, animalistic nature. Wendigo is also a new Stoughton restaurant that serves a burger called "The Cannibal." >More
 Cocktail and culinary pioneer Dave Arnold enlightens UW-Madison audience

Dave Arnold was distracted. The microphone had a crinkly connection, and he was rambling while it was fiddled with; on his Internet radio show/podcast Cooking Issues, he is notorious for rambling. >More
 Eating on the UW-Madison campus for under $8

State Street is synonymous with UW-Madison, and some all-time favorite Badger hangouts have been on University Avenue. But when Isthmus asked our food crew to reveal their favorite campus eats under eight bucks, the choices turned out to be largely along Regent Street from Park to Monroe. >More
 Embrace the tap takeover

When it comes to the tap takeover, there are really only two kinds of beer-drinker responses. There's "Aw, man, now all the beer geeks are going to be clogging up my watering hole of choice all night, and my favorite beer is going to be replaced by some brandy barrel-aged vanilla kumquat Belgian strong ale." >More
 Mason's on Main aims high, but its reach exceeds its grasp

Downtown Oregon has undergone quite a bit of renovation and restoration lately, and it has changed the dining scene there most of all. Maria's Pizza is still the humble little brick cube, but Señor Peppers jumped across the street from its original location into a snazzed-up storefront, and its former home has been rigorously overhauled and transformed into Mason's on Main, a "New American" bistro that's shooting for big game in Madison's neighbor to the south. >More
 Cento puts Michael Pruett's talents on display

What a relief it has been to learn that Cento " the newest venture from Food Fight, perhaps Madison's most polarizing dining entity " has been scrubbed of almost all Food Fight-ness and allowed to succeed or fail on its own merits. >More
 Mob the House celebrates Madison's craft beer bounty with a Great Taste Eve party

If you've attended a craft beer event in the Madison area over the last few years, chances are pretty good for an encounter with House of Brews founder and brewmaster Page Buchanan. The guy is everywhere, and he's always good for a quick -- or not so quick, if you get him going -- chat about his beers or any others you might wish to discuss. >More
 Showboat Saloon brings sanity to Wisconsin Dells

To call Wisconsin Dells a sensory assault should neither surprise nor offend anyone. Neon novelty T-shirts, amusement museums and ghost tours aren't the attractions of the subtle tourist destination. I admit I'm far more likely to visit the Dells for a coffee en route to the Twin Cities than I am to hit a waterpark. But eager vacationers and resigned visitors alike stand to be in need of a break sometime, and if you're a fan of craft beer, boy does Showboat Saloon deliver. >More
 There and Back with New Glarus Brewing: Wisconsin gets a taste of Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2014

Sierra Nevada Brewing originally conceived its Beer Camp as a project for homebrewers, with a lucky few selected each summer to participate in a VIP experience at the brewery's headquarters in Chico, California. But people have been filling their camping trips, road trips and tailgating sessions with beer since time immemorial, so when Sierra Nevada announced last July that the 2014 edition of Beer Camp would be a multi-state, multi-brewer collaborative affair, it tapped into something instinctive, primordial, in the craft beer fan's psyche. >More
 The inaugural Bacon, Brew & BBQ Fest in Sun Prairie revels in its generous excess

Bacon's reign is far from over. The land is fertile for craft beer festivals. And who among us omnivores doesn't love barbecue in the summer? The organizers of the new Bacon, Brew & BBQ Fest, held Saturday in Sun Prairie, felt like it was only sporting to mash 'em all together in one big event. >More
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