Seasonal Brews to Usher in Autumn
As Wisconsinites, we’re lucky to experience all four seasons. “Lucky,” that is, if you enjoy the shift in temperature and outdoor activities. Weather brings a change in scenery and flavors, with autumn often focusing on warm, winter spices and pumpkin.
This goes for food and cocktails, but don’t forget about the seasonal brews taking center stage this October and beyond:
Appleton Beer Factory
Ben Fogle, co-founder, head brewer
Upcoming seasonal brews: Oktoberfest will be finishing up availability early to mid-October. ABF Oktoberfest will be the official Oktoberest at Basil’s Pub & Provisions! After that, we make a dark beer called Say Hi Chai. It’s a Porter which is infused with delicious Chai Tea from the locally owned Fava Tea Co. After that (Christmas time), we release an amber beer called Almond Delight that has a hint of vanilla, lactose, and Almond Cookie Tea from Fava Tea Co.
Fall flavor profiles: Darker beers are naturally more desired in the cooler months. I think it’s because people expect them to be heavier, but interestingly they can be just as light in body/mouthfeel as any other visibly light beer. We really enjoy utilizing the different and fun flavors that come in some of the specialty teas from Fava. We feel that it fits the season as well.
Why change it up each season? Peoples’ tastes change throughout the year with the temperature and colors and holidays. A light, “lawn-mowing beer” is really best when you have the need/ability to mow your lawn. Plus, many customers like to try new things in addition to the brands they prefer to have available all year round.
We love feedback on all of our brews all the time! Please try them and let us know what you think in the way that is easiest for you. I am around the brewery all the time and it’s quite accessible to the public so it’s easy to pull me aside and have a convo.
Hop Yard Ale Works
Oliver & Amy Behm, owners + Blaine Wolff, head brewer
Upcoming seasonal brews: We will definitely bring our Oktoberfest back, and with the hop harvest in late Aug/ early Sept, we look forward to brewing another Fresh Hop beer. We also will be releasing some of our first barrel aged brews. We have a Barleywine & Scotch Ale that has been aging for a year in Elijah Craig barrels. We also did a fundraiser with Security-Luebke Roofing brewing a Chocolate Cherry Stout that is aging in J Henry Barrels. We may even get crazy and try brewing our very first cider!
Fall flavor profiles: For fall, we will shy away from the fruity flavors and lean more on malt and spice in their profiles. We are trying to channel the feeling of that last campfire before the snow flies.
A Fresh Hop beer gives brewers an exciting challenge once a year. Most of our hops are shipped from Washington or Oregon. They will dry, pelletize and freeze the hop so it can be stored and shipped throughout the year, and a brewer will know the exact flavor, oils and aroma they are using in a recipe. When using fresh hops, you are at the mercy of the vine grown right here in Wisconsin. And because you are using the entire bud, not only are you using a lot more, it gives the beer a delicious grassy or earthy flavor and less bitterness that is almost impossible to mimic when using traditional hop pellets. We called our fresh hop beer, Hop Wapatui, and it may have been the beer I was most proud to brew last year!
Why change it up each season? We all love the changing seasons in Wisconsin and I think you will find those changes are mimicked in our beer choices. It’s all part of navigating the brewing schedule and we try to anticipate what sort of flavors people will be in the mood, for during different parts of the year
McFleshman’s Brewing Co.
Allison McCoy Fleshman, owner
Upcoming seasonal brews: Oktoberfest = biggest /best seasonal; it’s available in 45 counties, including Appleton’s Oktoberfest; when we opened, we hoped this would be a hit—more than any other beer we make. Fast forward 5 years, and it is!
RBG IPA is a new decisive, unapologetic, progressive American IPA. With the magnitude of its namesake, we felt the weight on our shoulders to pull this one off, and can’t wait to share the result!
Fall flavor profiles: Oktoberfest is self-explanatory with Wisconsin’s enormous German lineage; frankly, it’s the original ‘beer flavored beer’: toasted, insanely ‘festival-able’, gorgeous in a steinRBG is a hop harvest in fall, a fabulous time to celebrate hoppy beers; It’s also a topical release, what with several recent supreme court moves; we don’t mean to be political, but RBG is inspiring across the board: tropical hops and flavors, quick bitterness, clean finish.
Why change it up each season? People like a core lineup, but they also love tons of variety; that’s just where the market is! They also like “beyond beer”: cider, wine, seltzer, fruited sours,… which we do all of (and kombucha is in the planning!). We even do a winter spiced amber lager, and pumpkin ale, both amazing!
We brew our traditional English and German styles true to the process on a Czech brewing system, with European ingredients. All of our English beers are brewed on full display in an open-top tank and served through old-school hand pumps, found rarely outside of England. We used our Open Fermentor for RBG and you can see her bubbling!
Bob and Nicole Denil, owners
Upcoming seasonal brews: As a kid growing up in Appleton, I couldn’t wait for the Octoberfest celebration downtown every year. It was a time for me to run into old friends and family that you haven’t seen in awhile and make new friends while listening to music and enjoying great foods. There was always a smell in the air that let you know the seasons had changed too. Now that I’m older and am enjoying those same feelings again, along with the recent boom of craft beers, I wanted to try and capture those same memories and smells in my version of an Octoberfest beer.
Fall flavor profiles: TAQ Brewing is located on the north shore of the Fox River in the upper downtown area of Kaukauna on Wisconsin Ave. TAQ Brewing focuses on quality, flavor, family and their love of music. With its rich maltiness and copper color, I’m hoping it’ll evoke memories of years past and help create new ones. And if the changing season has you thinking more of harvesting, more importantly apple picking, you’re in luck. We are trying something new with our limited release caramel apple beer called the The Teacher. Making you feel like a kid again enjoying a caramel apple but without the stickiness and the mess. If the changing leaves and crispness in the air is making you long for an Octoberfest (called Summer’s End) or caramel apple, stop into TAQ Brewing and enjoy!
Why change it up each season? People like flavor changes as the season changes. Some crave the refreshing lighter beers in the summer and perhaps darker, richer beers in colder months. We are a microbrew, brewing in-house in small batches. Bob brews about every other day to keep up with demand and changes the style and flavors of the beers often!
Timber Tap Taproom & Brewery
Paul and Carol Romenesko, brewmasters and co-owners
Upcoming seasonal brews: We will be having an Octoberfest, a special release for Veterans Day, a nice chocolatey porter and possibly a pumpkin beer.
Fall flavor profiles: The Octoberfest beer embodies the traditional German Märzen style, characterized by its malty sweetness and smooth, clean finish. It pairs exceptionally well with the cool weather and fall festivities. The special release for Veterans Day aims to honor and commemorate our servicemen and women. We haven’t quite nailed down the flavor profile yet but it will aim to combine bold flavors possibly such as caramel, toffee, and/or toasted malt to create a full-bodied and robust beer.
The chocolatey porter is designed to provide a rich and indulgent experience, with notes of dark chocolate, roasted malts, and a slight hint of bitterness. It’s a perfect choice for cooler months, as the comforting flavors and heavier body help to keep you warm and satisfied. The possibility of a pumpkin beer adds a seasonal twist, featuring subtle spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, evoking the nostalgic flavors of autumn.
Why change it up each season? Offering different flavors at different times of the year allows us to celebrate the uniqueness of each season and cater to the preferences of our customers. During the summer, lighter and refreshing beers are in high demand, complementing outdoor activities and hot weather. These beers often feature crisp and citrusy profiles, making them easy to drink and refreshing. As the weather cools down, people tend to gravitate towards beers with a heavier body and deeper flavors, providing a comforting and warming experience during the colder months. By adjusting our beer offerings, we can provide a diverse and enjoyable experience for beer enthusiasts throughout the year.
We currently operate a one barrel system, which allows us to focus on small-batch brewing and maintain exceptional quality and attention to detail. With two one barrel fermenters and two two-barrel fermenters, we have the flexibility to experiment and refine our recipes, ensuring that each beer is crafted with care.