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Hop cone

Hops and their role in beer take center stage in a talk and tasting tonight at The Sett in Union South. 

Not to alarm you, but today is hump day of Madison Craft Beer Week.

It's halfway over, and you've only drunk, what, like 10 great beers since Friday? C'mon! Get on your horse.

Here, I'll help, with the cream of the crop today:

Cinco de Mayo: Madison Craft Beer Week has always included May 5, so Cinco de Mayo is low-hanging fruit for tap events, and many venues don't pass up the obvious angle. One pretty legit one is at Tex Tubb's Taco Palace, 2009 Atwood Ave., which is tapping another collaboration with a local brewery. This time it's Cervezarita, an "imperial light Mexican-style lager brewed with lime, agave and aged in mezcal barrels." One guess who made it. Yep, it's MobCraft. This 'Rita is tapped at 4 p.m. 

Many barrels at One Barrel: You hear about bourbon barrel-aged beers a lot, but what about beer aged in barrels that once held Burgundy wine, or rye whiskey? One Barrel Brewing taps nine different barrel-aged beers tonight, including four made in-house. One of those is the 1B-K4 collaboration barleywine made in 2013 with Karben4. This stash has been aged in gin barrels -- a decidedly unusual and interesting experience. It's rare because gin is rarely barrel-aged, so there just aren't many used gin barrels around, and weird because the liquor's botanicals and sharp booziness are an interesting fit with beer. Full tap list is here, 4 p.m.-2 a.m., 2001 Atwood Ave.

Cinco de Lucette: Lucette Brewing of Menomonie is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and one of many birthday parties thrown for the occasion is tonight at the Side Door Grill and Tap. In addition to three flagships, reps from the brewery will be pouring Double Down Belgian golden strong ale and the special one-off Rye'd On Man rye brown session ale. 5 p.m., 240 W. Gilman St.

Going Epic: Epic Brewing of Utah and Colorado is one of those breweries that's just perfect for a tap takeover. It offers a lot of beers, many of them high-end, and they're new enough to the Wisconsin market that there are probably plenty you haven't had yet. All 15 taps at the original Glass Nickel Pizza will be pouring Epic beer tonight, with pizza pairings for each to boot. Four beers from the Brainless series of Belgian ales will be pouring, as well as six beers not typically seen on draft in Wisconsin. Full tap list is here. 5-10 p.m., 2916 Atwood Ave.

IPA learnin’: The Sett at Union South hosts a talk on craft beer’s favorite style, the India pale ale, led by Frank Beer craft and import manager Shawn Knoche. $5 at the door includes tasting and a pint glass in addition to the hop knowledge. 6:30-7:30 p.m. 1308 W. Dayton St.

Shake your booty: Listen, not every Beer Week event has to take itself too seriously. To wit: In celebration of Boulder Beer's Shake chocolate porter, Jordan's is having a "Shake-off" with the workout device Shake Weight, which is as much a parody machine as an muscle-toning machine. In addition to Shake, Jordan's is promising "a rare keg or two" from Boulder. 7-10 p.m., 1330 Regent St.

There's much more going on; check out today's full schedule here. Some of the best events require a little planning; check out the Beer Baron's overview of Beer Week events here

Look for the Beer Baron's preview of the day's top Madison Craft Beer Week events each morning at during Beer Week, May 1-11. Contact Chris Drosner at or follow on Twitter @WSJbeerbaron.


Chris Drosner writes the Beer Baron column for the Wisconsin State Journal.