Fall is approaching, and with the change of seasons, comes a change in seasonal beers. (In fact, you may have even started seeing Oktoberfest brews on the shelf in August). Here’s what to look for from Wisconsin craft brewers as we head into fall.
Fruit is ripe off the trees, and beer is fresh in the tanks. And, beer with a bit of apple juice is a great taste of fall. The annual Bayfield Apple Festival (held this year Oct. 4-6) wouldn’t be the same without South Shore Brewery’s Applefest Ale. New Glarus Brewing Co. puts out an Apple Ale, as does Wisconsin Dells Brewing Co.
Fresh- and Wet-Hopped Beers
Hops are also harvested at this time, and there is nothing quite like a beer made with wet hops, which were picked in the last 48 hours before being used in the brew. Sometimes these hop cones are kiln-dried first, so they are still fresh hops. In either case, the batches are usually limited, and won’t last long. Two Oshkosh breweries, Fox River Brewing Company and Bare Bones Brewery, are making them this year. So is Company Brewing, which is using hops from their own Riverwest neighborhood in Milwaukee.
This is a Märzen beer lagered a couple months or more in anticipation of the traditional German celebration every September. Most brewers offer this amber or coppery-colored lager or the golden version known as Festbier. New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Staghorn is one of the finest Oktoberfests. Port Huron Brewing Company and 3 Sheeps Brewing Company are also recommended, but there are so many others to choose from. And, here’s something unusual: Oaktoberfest. Stillmank Brewing Co. in Green Bay ages their Märzen for two months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. (Stillmank is also raising their steins on September 28, 2019, for their Oktoberfest celebration if you’d like to join!).
You didn’t think it was just coffee and lattes that got pumpkin-spiced, did you? Whether you’re a fan or not of this seasonal flavor, Lakefront Brewery makes a Pumpkin Lager that may make non-PSL fans believers. Capital Brewery’s Pumpkinataur is also a crowd-pleaser.
Above Image: courtesy of Kevin Revolinski