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Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008

Retro Beer Night

Maintaining the Pabst legacy

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Whether it’s the Pabst Blue Ribbon serving tray that’s down in grandpa’s basement bar or the magnetized Blatz bottle opener that’s always been on Uncle Karl’s refrigerator, tiny traces of our town’s brewing legacy have been with many of us since before we can remember. This weekend, guests of the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion will have an opportunity to snag their own beerware during the museum’s Retro Beer Night. The two-hour event sells itself, really: unlimited Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz and Old Milwaukee beer, grilled Usinger brats and Buddy Squirrel/Quality Candy mixes. What’s more, it’s all for a good cause.

“Our mission is to restore the house and to keep it up and running as a public museum,” explains Dawn Hourigan, executive director of Captain Fredrick Pabst Mansion Inc., the private nonprofit responsible for the home. “We want to keep the Pabst legacy alive.”

And legacies aren’t cheap. If you think your utility bills are high, try heating a 116year-old Flemish Renaissance Revival mansion during a Wisconsin winter. Tickets to Retro Beer Night are $25 for members and $30 for non-members. If you purchase your tickets in advance, the Pabst Mansion will take $5 off per ticket. This year, the annual event will be held on Friday, Oct.10, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first two floors of the home previously owned by Fredrick Pabst, founder of the Pabst Brewing Co., and his family.

Whenever the Pabst mansion hosts special events like Retro Beer Night or its popular wine-tasting in June, docents are stationed around the house so guests can ask questions and the organization can tell its story. Seventy-five volunteers are on the Pabst Mansion roster, all of whom would be more than happy to share with visitors the gory details of the Pabst Mansion’s struggle for survival, like in 1975, when the home was inches from becoming a Holiday Inn parking lot.

This year, Retro Beer Night will have its first silent auction, which will include antique, retro and modern beer memorabilia. In sponsoring the event, the Pabst Brewing Co. has donated a number of the more modern items available in the auction. The “Antiques Roadshow”-set will appreciate vintage items like the 1950s-era Pabst Blue Ribbon advertisement. If you don’t find the stately beer stein or the vintage Blue Ribbon glasses you were looking for, the gift shop will be open to satisfy your commercial cravings.

This weekend, don your favorite retro beer garb, like your dad’s old Schlitz workshirt or the Old Milwaukee trucker hat that was cool way before Ashton Kutcher said it was, and start your weekend learning, touring, eating and drinking your way to preserving a state treasure.

2000 W. Wisconsin Ave. For more information, call (414) 931-0808 or go to www.pabstmansion.com. Tickets can be purchased at the Pabst Mansion, via phone or on the Web.

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