Though winter was delayed several weeks, the University Avenue wind tunnel is now functioning at full throttle and Badgers travel to class with portable heaters, a.k.a. Colectivo coffees without cardboard sleeves.
For Wisconsinites, however, frigid temperatures of any extreme are not enough to deter grabbing a beer after the sun goes down promptly at 4:30 p.m. Local breweries look to celebrate the community camaraderie conjured when the thermometer drops with a wide array of winter seasonals.
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Next Door Brewing Co.
Next Door Brewing Co. on Atwood Avenue is one such participant in the winter campaign, with an altruistic purpose to boot. The brewpub has earned its place on the Madison beer scene for several years now, but distribution has brought them even further into the spotlight.
Their Plumptuous Scotch Ale is deceptively smooth with its malty depth delivering a 9.5 percent alcohol by volume. When the force is with the drinker, a Brewbacca is the perfect imperial brown ale to bring hops back to the rebel base. In case the East Side seems like a galaxy far, far away, Next Door’s sales and marketing manager Ben Spoehr recommended Plumptuous with the beer pie — yes, that’s a dessert pie made from beer.
Spoehr noted how their kitchen’s ingredients are locally sourced, an added aspect of their community endeavors. Next Door has participated in events for the Goodman Community Center, Madison Audubon Society and the preservation of artist Sig Boyum’s house filled with his work postmortem.
“For us, being able to get our beer in the hands of more people allows us to touch that many more individuals, and as a result of that be able to build connections with them,” Spoehr said.
While Next Door continues to grow, other microbreweries like Karben4 are reaching new benchmarks as well.
In December, the brewery will honor its fourth birthday with a slew of Fantasy Factory varietals like the ever-popular IPA featuring a cat riding a unicorn served up in the taproom.
Karben4 is also bequeathing Madisonians its own holiday gift in the form of bottled Night Call, a smoked porter and the first beer they ever made, according to one of the owners Zak Koga.
Koga explained Sconnies’ tendency to wander into blizzards for a good brew in the simplest of anthropological terms: “They are looking for other humans!”
“We are a communal species and we need to be together even when it is cold outside and the sun decides to skip over us for a few months,” Koga said in an email to The Badger Herald. “We often talk about how beer is just an excuse to bring people together and that power is on display during the winter.”
Wisconsin Brewing Company
Community doesn’t always start with pie or birthdays, but in the classroom. Wisconsin Brewing Company’s Campus Craft program is entering its third year and promises another great beer in addition to Inaugural Red and S’Wheat Caroline.
Students from University of Wisconsin’s agriculture and life sciences program come together to learn about the state’s favorite science experiment and bring the results to happy drinkers.
If still craving sweets, don’t worry — the “beer guy” Carl Nolen prefaced their latest brew the Pfeffer-nusse, which will convey the German cookie’s flavor of the same name.