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The 3rd Annual Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest is Coming to Madison!

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The 3rd Annual Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest is again coming to Madison on Saturday, January 21, 2012, and will go from 2 - 6 PM at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall on John Nolen Drive. There will be plenty of artisanal beers and cheeses to sample, pair and just plain enjoy. Several beer-pairing presentations will also be given, including "Beer and Cheese", "Beer and Chocolate", and perhaps even a "Beer and Bacon" presentation. All beer and cheese vendors are being encouraged to bring at least three different beers/cheeses for guest sampling.

Last year's Beer & Cheese Fest drew some complaints of being overcrowded and hard to navigate. As a result of this feedback, this year's fest will feature aisles that are twice as wide as last year's. There will also be additional food vendors, lounge areas and security. These changes are a direct result of the issues and complaints raised from last year's fest.

Also new for 2012 is the availability of a limited number of VIP tickets. These tickets will allow guests to enter the Beer & Cheese Fest one hour before the general ticket holders. VIP ticket holders will also be able to sample certain "limited release" beers and cheeses that won't be available later on in the day. Finally, a special pairing session will be presented by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Tickets to the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest are $40, while VIP tickets are $75. While these ticket prices may be a bit more than expected for a Fest, they also include a free Union Cab of Madison ride to the Fest and then a discounted ride after the event is over. For those not wishing to use cab services, a public bus will be stopping at the Alliant Energy Center on an hourly basis.

Sponsors of the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest include the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Fromagination, Gorst Hops, Whole Foods, Star Liquor, Brennan's Market and Union Cab.

Who might be present at this year's Beer & Cheese Fest? Given last year's attendees, these are my vendor predictions:

2012 Fest Brewers

Pearl Street Brewery

Sprecher Brewing Company

Potosi Brewing Company

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Dave's BrewFarm

Tyranena Brewing Company

Northwoods Brewing

O'so Brewing Company

Viking Brewing Company

Great Dane Brewing Company

Blucreek Brewing

Capital Brewery

Cross Plains Brewery

New Glarus Brewing Company

Milwaukee Brewing Company

Furthermore Beer

Shipwrecked Brewpub

Sand Creek Brewing

2012 Fest Cheesemakers

Roelli Cheese Company

Caprine Supreme

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery

Edelweiss Creamery

Sassy Cow Creamery

Carr Valley Cheese

Meister Cheese Company

Uplands Cheese Company

Cedar Grove Cheese

Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods

Organic Farm Marketing

Sartori Foods

Baumgartner Cheese

Decatur Dairy

Sugar Brook Farms

Klondike Cheese Company

Saxon Homestead Creamery

Gingerbread Jersey Cheese

Organic Valley

Maple Leaf Cheesemakers

Next Generation Organic Dairy

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