Autumn beers fall between the lighter lawnmower beers of summer and the stronger, snifter-sipped brews of winter. My ideal fall "pick six" lies somewhere between the lazy days of summer and holding onto a really cold one...with mittens.
Walk Off Triple
Milwaukee Brewing Company
This new, special brew from Milwaukee Brewing should be out in time for postseason baseball. Walk Off Triple is, of course, a Belgian tripel, bottled-conditioned. The beer was introduced in a handful of Milwaukee venues in August; the good news is that the brewery will now offer it in 750 mL bottles. At least Brewers' fans will have something to celebrate, since the team didn't rouse itself from its late slump.
Wisconsin Brewing Company
Bleeding Heart amber saison is a bolder version of brewmaster Kirby Nelson's previously released Zenith saison. Bleeding Heart is has a rich yeasty flavor, with firm malty background, strong and a little warm from its 6.1% ABV. It's dark for a saison, with a brilliant amber color. This is a flavorful take on a Belgian farmhouse ale.
New Glarus Brewing Company
Skip pumpkin brews and turn to New Glarus Apple Ale, a blend of Wisconsin apple juice and a brown ale (and one of New Glarus' most sought-after seasonals). It has lots of apple aroma and flavor, but never strays too far from the brown ale at its core. Light and bubbly at around 4% ABV, it has sweet, cider-like qualities that are ideal for the season.
This golden-amber brew is full of resiny, citrusy bitterness, and it's strong, at 6.3% ABV. You can find Fantasy Factory on tap at the brewery. It's quickly become a favorite of local hop-heads. If it were available in bottles, it would be in my fantasy six-pack.
Grand Teton Brewing Company
This is not a Wisconsin-made beer (it hails from Victor, Idaho), but its name makes it a must-have in a pick six of brews for Badger football Saturdays. At 6% ABV, Snarling Badger is stronger than expected for a Berliner Weiss, with hints of apple and pineapple. It's more tart than sour, with some alcoholic warmth that makes it well suited to the cooler days ahead. It recently started turning up in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles in some Madison bottle stops with extensive beer selections, such as Riley's Wines of the World and Trixie's Liquor.
Any fall six-pack needs an Oktoberfest in the mix, and there are so many good Wisconsin versions out that it's hard to pick just one. Capital Brewery's Oktoberfest has a pleasant malty core that's smooth, with caramel and biscuit tones, and it finishes clean. It's medium-bodied and a nice American version of the beer made famous by Germany's fall celebration. Capital's Oktoberfest beer has won more than a dozen awards and medals, the most recent a gold in the 2013 World Beer Championships.