Beer aficionados are descending upon Madison for the Great Taste of the Midwest, believed to be North America’s second longest running craft beer festival. What started in a single room in a brewery 24 years ago has changed venues several times to its current home at Olin-Turville park.
Six thousand patrons will come for the sold out event. They’ll arrive from 34 states as well as Italy, Puerto Rico and Ireland, according to Vice Chairman Mark Morrison.
Although the Great Taste is Saturday, numerous pre-party happenings take place Friday with some patrons arrived Thursday to get things started. More than 100 brewpubs and micro breweries will showcase over 500 beers. Some long time brewers are getting special tents to mark their anniversaries, Bell’s Brewery in Michigan celebrating 25 years and August Schell Brewery from Minnesota on its 150th year.
Morrison emphasizes the festival is on a bus line and they don’t want people to drink and drive. Organizers have provided free shuttles from sponsoring bars and along with one dollar cab rides coming from the event.