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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stein & Dine

A celebration of local food, craft drink and community

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Marrying delicious craft beer, tasty artisan cheese and mouth-watering sausage, the Shepherd Express’ first annual Stein & Dine festival on Saturday, April 27, promises to satisfy all food and drink cravings with the best of Wisconsin’s fare. Meander from booth to booth in the 85,000-square-foot Wisconsin State Fair Expo Center to enjoy unlimited free samples from vendors passionate about locally sourced ingredients. Stop by the stage for scrumptious pairing presentation morsels, or treat yourself to a VIP ticket to nibble on hors d'oeuvres and sample an exclusive craft beer an hour before the masses arrive. Food and drink are at the heart of society and we invite you to explore the exciting flavors of friendship and community at Stein & Dine.

Along with this celebration of our state’s flavorful cuisine, the Shepherd is also supporting Troop Café, a local nonprofit giving back to veterans dealing with barriers to employment. Troop Café (3430 W. Wisconsin Ave.) provides essential job skills to military veterans and those currently serving by offering a paid, on-the-job culinary and hospitality training program. This brand-new nonprofit will serve tasty food from its café menu at Stein & Dine and provide information about its vocational employment program. In support of this valuable opportunity for veterans, the Shepherd will be donating a portion of the proceeds to Troop Café. “It is an honor to support an organization like Troop Café that provides high-level training that can lead to solid employment for our noble veterans,” says Louis Fortis, Shepherd Express publisher and editor-in-chief.

When it comes to Wisconsin, there is nothing better than local, aged cheese, so we have partnered with the highly respected Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) to bring together some of the state’s finest cheese artisans. “Events like this let people see the new and exciting cheeses Wisconsin is producing,” says Greg Long, regional marketing manager for WMMB. “By partnering up with beer vendors at events like these, we can promote exciting new ways to pair cheese with other products beyond the cheese and cracker.”

Keep an eye out for Martha’s Pimento Cheese—a notable condiment made with Wisconsin aged cheddar, diced peppers and high-quality mayonnaise. Martha Davis Kipcak—a Milwaukee resident and owner of the Fifth Ward company Mighty Fine Food—will be offering her version of this iconic Southern staple with the hope that it will gain as much popularity in the Midwest as it has in her native home of Texas. “It’s wonderful to do anything with the Shepherd Express and I am excited to bring my own tradition to share,” says Kipcak. “I also think it’s fantastic that the Shepherd is supporting Troop Café, as there are many great folks working in the community by way of food and Troop Café is one of them.”

If you’re looking for savory sausage, Stein & Dine is the place to be. One vendor in particular, Wisconsin River Meats, will be offering at least six types of unique West Wisconsin-style summer sausage in addition to a variety of New Glarus Style snack sticks and beef jerky. Owner John Hamm says the majority of his pork, beef, honey and cranberries are bought from local farmers. “Local sourcing and promoting the local food movement is very important to us,” says Hamm. In addition, Hamm is pleased the event will support Troop Café, as he and his children are veterans themselves. “Helping this event is helping the vets, and that’s a wonderful thing,” he says.

What better way to eat cheese and sausage than with a delicious craft brew to wash it down? The celebration of beer is a familiar one and can be traced back nearly 6,000 years to its origins in ancient Mesopotamia. Sumerians worshiped the beer goddess Ninkasi and immortalized her in a poem containing the oldest surviving beer recipe known to man. Still today, many brewers admire tradition and perfect original recipes handed down from generations past. Esser’s Cross Plains Brewery is one with a unique story and will be offering two brews at the event: their Cross Plains Special Pilsner and their flagship beer, Esser’s Best. George Esser, a German native who traveled to America to find a new life, brewed the latter German beer in the traditional Reinheitsgebot style back in 1863. “Our first thirsty vets were those returning home from the Civil War and we are very proud to offer the original recipe of Esser’s Best today,” says Ken Malczewski of Esser’s Brewery. “We also love the idea of supporting local causes like Troop Café and a great publication like the Shepherd, because we are local ourselves.”

Of course it wouldn’t be a true Milwaukee beer party without the one and only Art Kumbalek! Don’t miss the chance to knock one back with Art and share in his wisdom.

Stein & Dine promises to be an unforgettable celebration of all things Wisconsin not to be missed. Buy a ticket to support Troop Café and join in sampling flavorful sausage, savory cheeses and delicious craft beers from vendors with a passion for food, drink and community. General and VIP tickets are limited, so visit theshepstore.com, Otto’s Wine & Spirits or Avenue Wine & Liquor to buy yours today! Purchase general admission for $35 in advance or $40 at the door, or treat yourself to the VIP Special. For $70 in advance or $75 at the door, the latter includes a free T-shirt and the opportunity to chat with vendors one-on-one before the masses arrive. Be sure to check the Shepherd Express for ticket discount deals! Doors open at 1 p.m. for VIP guests and 2 p.m. for general admission. See you there!

 

Stein and Dine

Saturday, April 27

Doors open: 1 p.m. for VIP guests, 2 p.m. for general admission

General admission: $35 in advance, $40 at the door

VIP tickets: $70 in advance, $75 at the door

Purchase tickets at theshepstore.com, Otto’s Wine & Spirits or Avenue Wine & Liquor