While the ideal time to visit Octopi Brewing is during patio season, I couldn't resist a road trip to the country on a snowy Sunday. Octopi is located in Waunakee, WI, just a short drive from downtown Madison. After learning that Goose Island's brewmaster, Jared Jankoski, was heading north to join Octopi, I couldn't wait.
Jared hails from Wisconsin and worked for New Glarus Brewery for a number of years before becoming a brewmaster at Goose Island. Octopi has been trying to woo him back, and Jared accepted the invitation to help expand the brewery's growth. It would be hard to pass up being part of a 10 million dollar expansion at an exceptional brewery, am I right?
OCTOPI IS A CONTRACT BREWERY
This is my first experience getting familiar with contract brewing. I learned that Octopi aims to help existing breweries with their beer objectives, get a new brewery up and running, and generate beers for large hospitality chains. They sure seem to be doing things right based on their beer offerings and state-of-the-art facility.
THE TAPROOM AT OCTOPI
The taproom has 14 tap lines serving beer from their brands including Untitled Art (my personal fave), Octopi Brewing, The Giving Brewery, and Dachs. One of the lines is dedicated to nitro cold brew coffee. They offer a nice variety of styles for everyone's taste. During my visit, customers could enjoy a stout, IPA, cider, lager, and more.
Three of the four 7-oz beers I ordered were from Untitled Art. I drank a Chocolate Scotch Ale (scotch ale brewed with cocoa nibs), Coconut Milk Stout (milk stout brewed with coconut), and Marble Halva Stout (imperial stout brewed with cocoa nibs & tahini). The fourth was a S'Mores Stout (dessert stout made with mini marshmallows & graham crackers) from Octopi Brewing.
All my dark beauties were tasty; however, the standout was the Marble Halva Stout. The beer starts with a combination of sweet and nutty flavors and ends with a boozy finish.
The vibe here is completely laid back and bright with lots of windows. There was a fantastic duo performing, Kari Arnett and Derek Ramnarace, to really make it a Sunday Funday. I look forward to returning to see what Jared has up his sleeve with the rest of the crew.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE BREWERY'S DESIGN
Taken from Octopi’s website: "Our taproom will make you feel like you are working inside the brewery. We have our cellar room visible from the bar and you can look inside the brewery to see all of our operations. We have communal tables made from reclaimed wood from the Midwest. The bar top came from the old Badger Armory in Sauk County and the reclaimed wood that dresses its walls came from the Navy Pier in Chicago. Yes, that’s right — we used old beams from the Navy Pier in Chicago which were sourced from a local lumber shop that specializes in unique slabs."