Shortly after returning from our Europe trip this summer, we received an Instagram message from the official Wisconsin Dells account.
We really enjoy your Instagram content and love that you love beer! Did you know Wisconsin Dells devotes an entire weekend to craft beer? We’d love for you to join us (and almost 60 craft brewers) at Dells on Tap in Wisconsin…for one of the Midwest’s best microbrew fests.” – @waterparkcapital
We didn’t need much more convincing! Katie had never been to the Dells before, and it had been some time since we’d last been to a beer fest. With some additional perks thrown in, it was an easy yes for us!
That was back in August. Fast forward two months…
…and we’ve just gotten back from Wisconsin and an awesome Dells on Tap event! As promised, over 60 breweries and cideries showed up to the Waterpark Capital of the world, including some of the best of Wisconsin and the Midwest. We were thrilled to see some Minnesota breweries there (shout out Fulton, Fairstate, Summit and Surly!), popular Midwest breweries (Founders, Bell’s, Goose Island, and 3 Floyds), and some Wisconsin breweries we’ve been following on social media but hadn’t yet tried (Octopi and Oliphant).
Whether you’re an avid festival-goer or just a beginner, Dells on Tap is perfect for just about everyone — a great selection of distinguished craft breweries will draw a crowd but the event is also small enough in size to not be overwhelming. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a weekend in the Wisconsin Dells!
Needless to say, there was no shortage of great beer at Dells on Tap, but as any good beer blogger does, we’ve narrowed down our Top 5 favorites:
1. Honees Honees Peanut Butter and Honey Golden Ale — Oliphant Brewing
HOLY SMOKES this beer was delicious! We’re a sucker for anything peanut butter, but most of the beers we’ve had have been dark and heavy, usually porters or stouts. This golden ale by Oliphant Brewing in Somerset, WI was lighter both visibly and on the tongue, it’s honey and peanut butter notes both detectable, making the name true to taste and deceptively sessionable. Not only was this our favorite beer at Dells on Tap, it was so good we made a detour through Somerset on our way home to stop by the taproom, try a full flight of beers and grab a four-pack of Honees Honees to take home with us!
2. Horchata Stout — Untitled Art Brewing, Madison, WI
The only repeat brewery to make our Top 5 list, Untitled Art Brewing out of Madison is doing some fantastic stuff. Period. With no taproom of their own (yet), they brew and distribute out of the same space as Octopi Brewing and are — for now — focused on brewing, distributing and “letting their beer speak for itself.” And, boy, does it speak loud and clear! One of our two favorite Untitled Art beers is a horchata stout. Brewed in collaboration with Mikerphone Brewing out of Chicago, this 10% ABV imperial milk/sweet stout has a nice, creamy base with a spicy touch of cinnamon. After the initial kick to the mouth, you just want to keep sipping this one.
3. Pineapple Sherbet — Untitled Art Brewing, Madison, WI
Our second favorite Untitled Art beer — and another one of our Top 5 favorites of Dells on Tap — was a Pineapple Sherbet collaboration with Mikerphone Brewing. A 4.5% ABV Berliner Weisse brewed with pineapple and lactose, this one was bright, tasty and refreshing.
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Got so crazy last week we forgot to tell you about our most recent collab with our friends at Untitled Art. Pineapple Sherbet is a Berliner Weisse w/Pineapple & Lactose. Like the Raspberry Sherbet we did earlier this year, this makes for one refreshing treat. Available on draft and in crowlers to go. Cheers! On Draft… Kick Push Prost Punch Rock Princess w/Corridor Snap Crackle Pop Hop Lunatics w/Narrow Gauge Pineapple Sherbet w/Untitled Art Washed In Black w/Outer Range Nature's Candy All Shook Up w/Amager Bryghus Birthday Suit Bean Spirit Imperial Bean Spirit Shake Your Pom Pom w/ICBG Barrel Aged Vanillanoize w/More Crowlers To Go… Kick Push Prost Pineapple Sherbet Snap Crackle Pop Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit Bottles To Go… Hop Lunatics Birthday Suit Bean Spirit Washed in Black Nature's Candy All Shook Up Punch Rock Princess Shake Your Pom Pom
4. Apple Ale — Karben4 Brewing, Madison, WI
We visited Karben4’s taproom in Madison a few summers back and were humored by their quirkiness — from taproom to beer, everything was a sensory overload of scifi, fantasy and chemistry references we didn’t get. Ridiculousness aside, the beer was great, and their samples at Dells on Tap were no exception. We especially loved the Downton Appley — a 6.8% ABV seasonal apple ale that perfectly balanced the sweetness of an apple cider with the slight bitterness of hops. Crisp and refreshing, we very well could’ve spent the rest of the day sipping this tasty fall treat.
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Downton Appley is as sentimental as you please. Could it be you’ll recall your first caramel apple, or the caramel apple pop you had last week? Maybe memories of apple picking as a child, or the first time you took your children to the orchard. Perhaps you’ll relive the hangover from college the morning after you drove a sixer of hard cider into your gas tank in less than an hour because, “it tastes like candy”. Whatever happens, we hope this apple ale is the foundation for new and excellent recollections. We packed in the perfect amount of apple experience and married it to sublime grain goodness best described as tight, but not uptight. Enjoy!
5. Cucumber Glitter — Red Eye Brewing Co., Wausau, WI
Earning double creative points from us is Red Eye Brewing’s Cucumber Glitter beer. For one, it was the only glitter beer that we saw at Dells on Tap. A subtle touch of glitter, it didn’t sparkle as much as some glitter beers we’ve seen; still, it was neat and super clever to include in their lineup. The clear cucumber flavor gave it a unique fresh taste unlike anything else we sampled, making it an easy Top 5 for Katie.
So there you have it — our Top 5 favorite beers at Dells on Tap 2018. Here’s the full list of breweries tried:
- 3 Floyds – Munster, IN
- City Lights Brewing – Milwaukee, WI
- Dead Bird Brewing – Madison, WI
- Founders – Michigan
- Karben4 – Madison, WI
- New Glarus Brewing – New Glarus, WI
- Next Door Brewing – Madison, WI
- Octopi Brewing – Madison, WI
- Oliphant Brewing – Somerset, WI
- One Barrel Brewing – Madison, WI
- O’so Brewing – Plover, WI
- Port Huron Brewing – Wisconsin Dells, WI
- Red Eye Brewing – Madison, WI
- Tangent – Madison, WI
- The Lone Girl Brewing – Madison, WI
- Untitled Art Brewing – Madison, WI
- Warpigs – Copenhagen, Denmark
See you at Dells on Tap next year?
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#DellsOnTap was great fun! We loved immersing ourselves in the WI craft beer scene and interacting with brewers we’ve been following online. A great lineup of breweries, fun crowd plus being in the Dells made for an excellent weekend. Thanks to @waterparkcapital for having us! Blog post about our experience coming soon!