Sophie Bolich

State Fair Will Include Several New Beverages

The fair, which begins this week, will feature frozen cocktails, mixed drinks and more.

By - Aug 2nd, 2023 02:53 pm
Site of The Micro. Photo taken July 31, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of The Micro. Photo taken July 31, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Picture yourself at the Wisconsin State Fair, surrounded by friends and basking in the glow of the Ferris wheel. You approach the bartender and order another round of Cream Puff Ales for the group, when suddenly, bright lights begin to flash. Someone blasts a celebratory air horn, rousing the gathering crowd. The bartender passes your drinks across the counter, along with a red t-shirt that reads: Keg Killer.

This very Wisconsin scene unfolds hundreds of times annually at The Micro, a craft beer pavilion at the State Fair that serves more than 60 Wisconsin brews — typically draining more than 500 kegs throughout the 11-day fair.

The Micro, along with Benno’s Leinie Lodge, Camp Amber and Wineberry Bar & Lounge will return in full force at Bank Five Nine Amphitheater for this year’s fair, which begins on Thursday, Aug. 3.

The four bars, operated by Benno’s Concessions, will provide gathering spaces for fair-goers and popular drinks from years past, along with several new beverage and snack options for 2023.

The Micro is the largest of the group, with plenty of barstools and ample standing room for visitors to gather, drink and view sporting events broadcast from the pavilion’s 7-inch LCD TVs.

Dozens of craft beers from Milwaukee’s top breweries will be available at the pavilion, poured from one of the largest draft beer systems in the state. If you’re lucky enough to be crowned Keg Killer, be sure to don your t-shirt with pride and show off your status throughout the grounds.

But first, grab a cooling beverage to-go from the Patio Bar at Benno’s Leinie Lodge — located just a few steps away from The Micro. Along with a lineup of seltzer and beer, this year’s expanded offerings include four frozen cocktails (vodka lemonade, margarita, strawberry daiquiri and a “cold” fashioned) and a non-alcoholic frozen lemonade (organic lemonade flavored with a hint of vanilla and swirled with blue spirulina and dragon fruit powder for color).

Last year, the bar introduced a spiked, frozen lemonade that received a great response, said Tim Gill, vice president of Benno’s Concessions. “We decided, ‘you know, that was fun, but let’s take things up a notch,'” he said.

Further down the road, those in search of a laid-back hangout spot will find just that at Camp Amber. The outdoorsy-themed bar offers a stack of table games and plenty of seating, along with locally-distilled spirits including Great Lakes Distillery’s Rehorst vodka and bourbon. This year, those spirits will be put to use in mixed drinks — a first for the State Fair. Opt for a featured old fashioned or bloody mary, or customize your own mix.

Come Thursday, Wineberry Bar & Lounge will welcome guests back to its chic space, which is newly enhanced with lounge furniture and a collection of selfie-ready, hand-painted murals. Located at the north end of the Bank Five Nine Amphitheater, the “not-so-secret hideaway,” as Gill calls it, offers eight varieties of wine by the glass, frozen wine slush, mimosas and sangria, as well as mini charcuterie boards and Pop’s coconut oil and sea salt popcorn.

In addition to its lineup of unique bars, the Bank Five Nine Amphitheater features shopping from local and regional vendors. The venue offers free entertainment each day, with headliners presented by Leinenkugel’s taking center stage at night. A full list of headliners is available to view online.

The fair, whose official address is 640 S. 84th St., begins Thursday, Aug. 3 and ends Sunday, Aug. 13.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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