By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM Photography:

Even if you're paying close attention, it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest in food news here in Milwaukee. So here's a taste of what's new and notable – including news about the upcoming Beer Lovers’ Festival, a tapas cooking class, an Italian wine dinner and a really fun way to learn French through food.

Beer Lovers’ Festival features 34 craft brewers
It’s Memorial Day – which means that summer is right around the corner. Kick off the season by buying your tickets to the Fourth Annual Wisconsin Beer Lovers’ Festival at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale.

This year’s event will feature selections from 34 craft breweries throughout the state. Each of the participating breweries will be paired with local chefs, Wisconsin cheese manufacturers, or one of several brewpubs to create a unique tasting portion designed to complement a variety of unique beers available for sampling.

 Milwaukee breweries participating in the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival include:

  • Lakefront Brewery
  • Sprecher Brewing Company
  • Delafield Brewhaus
  • Milwaukee Brewing Company
  • Chameleon Brewing
  • Big Bay Brewing Company
  • Silver Creek Brewing

This year’s festival will also feature entertainment from the Brewhaus Polka Kings. The Wisconsin Brewer’s Guild is holding a "Best of Show" competition amongst the participating breweries for bragging rights to the "Glendale Cup". Additionally, one lucky "Beer Lover" will win a wheelbarrow of beer, which will contain a collection of rare beers, special seasonal beers and popular favorites from participating breweries.

Festival tickets and hotel packages are available at Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door, and include admission, a souvenir beer glass and unlimited sampling of beers and food pairings.  Patrons must be 21 years of age or older to attend the event. Photo identification will be required at the admission entrance. Designated drivers and patrons under 21 years of age can purchase a "Food Lovers Ticket" for $20.

Learn something: Tapas 101 with Chef Gregory Leon

Relax, grab a drink, nibble on delicious food and meet other food lovers at Kasana.  Join Chef Gregory León on Monday, June 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a tapas class at Kasana, 241 N. Broadway. 

A recent transplant to Milwaukee, Chef Gregory León was born in Oklahoma but grew up around the kitchen table in Venezuela.  For the past eighteen years he has been cooking his way up the line in some of the hottest kitchens in San Francisco, including Hibiscus, Poesia and Tapeo.  Gregory describes his style of cooking as uncomplicated but with depth, always seasonal and with a soul. He is fond of the flavors of Spain, Portugal and The Deep South.

During the course, you’ll learn to make four tapas dishes, including tortilla de patatas – the classic Spanish potato and onion omelette, croquetas de jamon y pollo – croquettes made with ham and chicken with a white sauce base, pincho de puerco moruno – pork skewers marinated in garlic, olive oil and Moroccan spices, and setas al ajillo – mushrooms stewed in garlic, spring onions and olive oil. The $30 ticket price includes sampling of each dish.  Purchase tickets online.

Spring Italian wine dinner at Sala
Enjoy a four course small plate spring tasting menu paired with wines from Marchese di Barolo on Tuesday, June 4 at Sala, 2613 E. Hampshire St. Courses will include Gavi  served with mixed radish salad, Barbera d'Alba "Ruvei" served with sea scallops, Barolo paired with spring lamb loin, and Moscato d'Asti "Zagara" with olive oil cake. Experts will be on hand to discuss the wines and pairings, and wines will be available for purchase. Dinner is $55 per Guest, plus tax and gratuity.  Make your reservations by calling (414) 964-2611.

Learn foodie French
Planning a trip to France?  Or just curious about how to navigate a French menu?  Join Dasha Pugacheva and Michael Dillon from l’Alliance Française de Milwaukee for a lesson in useful French vocabulary, cultural etiquette and pronunciation.

The course, which takes place on two dates – Monday, June 10 and Monday July 29 – is accompanied by a three-course prix fixe dinner at Lake Park Bistro.  Class begins at 6 p.m. with dinner following at 7:30 p.m.  Class is $80, which includes dinner. Reserve your seats online through l'Alliance Française de Milwaukee or by calling (414) 431-0943 For more information, please email

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.