Yesterday (January 20) was Cheese Lovers Day. While Choppy got to balance some cheese in honor of the holiday, Paul and I celebrated a different way – by attending the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Festival. With over 120 breweries and over a dozen cheesemakers participating in the event, it promised to be a good time.

The official program. Mine ended the day a little worse for wear.

For the price of admission, you received a tasting glass and could sample any (or, if you wanted to see what it’s like to have alcohol poisoning, all) of the samples on offer. There were classes to attend (such as how to pair beer with cheese), bar games to play, food carts, and even a cheese carver in action.

Also, as this is Wisconsin in January, the event took place indoors. People do some crazy things in Wisconsin during the winter, but that craziness only goes so far.

As the beer drinker in the house, Paul did most of the beer sampling, while I happily enjoyed a limited amount of hard cider and cheese.

Neither the first nor last of many beer samples for Paul. Note: we failed to get any pictures of me. You could blame all the beer sampling for that, but that’s just unfair to the beer.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a winter day in Wisconsin. And I’m not just saying that because I like all events with cheese and booze.

On a practical note (and also to remind me when tickets for this event go on sale next year), we purchased the cheaper of the tickets, which only allowed for four hours of access to the event. Lines for the cheese booths could be extremely long while we were there (this wasn’t a problem for the beer). The first two hours of the event has a limited number of guests, and I would definitely purchase the more expensive of the tickets solely for the additional access to the cheese. It would also allow more time to attend the classes, instead of just trying to make sure you tasted everything you wanted. That said, for someone with limited funds or just looking to sample beer and cheese casually, the cheaper ticket would be great – Paul and I definitely didn’t feel cheated or like we didn’t get enough for our money with the cheaper ticket; it’s just that for what we wanted to do, spending the extra money would have been well worth it.