Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The beer guide to Summerfest

While drinking, at Summerfest for a few years, I noticed that not all beers are created equally. Or should I say tapped equally. Everyone knows by now that the attendants (they aren't quite bartenders) are to pour the beer up to the line on the cup. But not everyone pours a beer the same way. So after years of exhausting and extensive research (I still think I should have received a government grant for my study), I have come up with where you should buy your beer on the Summerfest grounds. Since Miller dominates the festival, save for some microbrews, this study has nothing to do with what beer you should drink, but where you will find the best pour while enjoying the music at Summerfest.

The best place to get your beer:
Leinenkugel- The Leine Lodge is hands down the reigning champion. Year in and year out, they pour a beer to the top of the cup. Screw the line. These people know how to serve their taps.
Sprecher- Beside having a great beer- I think everyone should kick off their Summerfest annually with a Sprecher Amber- they also have a consistent pour above the line. How does one beat getting the more of a great beer?

Acceptable places to go:
Harley Road Stage- Consistently to the line. You might get one above, but rarely below. If you do, they won't serve it. They will dump the foam and pour to the line again. Good music on this stage with accetable taps works well.
Briggs Backyard- Nothing fancy here. Same as Harley. These people stop on a line.

Don't do it unless you have to:
Miller Oasis- This is the worst place to buy your beer. Funny as it is also possibly the most popular place to just hand out. There are 6 tents you can buy beer here if you count the station in the bricks. Maybe you shouldn't count it though as it is the WORST place bar none on the Summerfest grounds to buy your beer. These people are away from the action and really catch the people who just arrived. They don't get the repeat business like the other tents since they are away from the action. The pour is usually below the line and you need to tell them to fill it up correctly. Never be shy to tell them to fill it up if you get short poured. Hell, you are paying for it. Unfortunately, the short pour seems to be the norm at the Miller tents. Mainly because they go for quantity, not quality. Too many people just hang out around there so they do serve a lot of beer.

Saw Joan Jett last night. Interesting. Sounded good. Nice edgy punk. Well, kinda. I don't consider her pure punk, more like rock/punk. But she got out there and cranked it out. I thought the Mary Tyler Moore theme was rather cheesy. You must have more material to play that you don't have to put that out there. But she did some old Runaways material so that was good.
I also found the new version of the Sweet Tarts. Some of you are familiar with the local band. They suck. They used to have a "guitarist" on stage who didn't even play. He hung out in the back of the stage. What band has a guitarist that is not up front? Well, I caught this band called Deja Vu. Seems fitting. They reminded me of a crappy band that had a good playlist but didn't play well. These guys had two women singing with some dude wandering around the stage for awhile doing some backups. I don't know why but the girls were singing the hard rock songs. Women should not be singing Shook Me All Night Long. Yeah, it might seem kind of sexy hearing a chick say it, but it just doesn't work, especially after they did a Shania Twain song. Huh? I wish I could remember the other songs the women sang, but thankfully I blocked them out of my mind. Maybe it was their Highway to Hell version that did it. It also makes me wonder who booked them and why. I picture them playing little towns in northern Wisconsin where maybe they have no one else playing. It may look and sound good in Crivitz Hay Loft on Saturday night, but it just doesn't cut it at Summerfest.

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