THE BEER: Forest IPA from 3rd Sign.
THE PLACE: Octopi Brewing’s taproom.
I’M CONFUSED. Don’t be. Octopi aims to contact brew for other brands. 3rd Sign is the brand Octopi created “to showcase [the brewery’s] capabilities and enter the craft beer market.”
I’M STILL CONFUSED. You’ve been drinking. It’s okay.
FAIR ENOUGH. HOW’S THE TAPROOM? It’s nice. A little Spartan, but it’s got big windows, views of the brewing equipment, and a decent-sized bar. The taps include four 3rd Sign beers, plus beer from Karben4, Metropolitan, and Bell’s, among others. Not a bad spot to kill a few hours.
LET’S GET TO THE BEER. Yes, let’s. The 3rd sign beers are Madagascar Vanilla Mild Ale, Sumatra Coffee Mild Ale, Forest IPA, and Jungle IPA.
AND YOU WENT IPA. I did. The bartender informed me that the Forest would have a West Coast, piney flavor, and the Jungle would be a more citrusy IPA. As a typical bearded, hipster cliché faux-lumberjack in plaid, I opted for the pine.
HOW IS IT? Well… it’s fine. But honest to god, it’s not really hoppy. At all. There’s a bitter finish, but it’s not pronounced. I’m getting almost no hop aroma or flavor. And it’s certainly not piney. It’s almost more like an ESB. A perfectly drinkable, pleasant pale ale, but if you’re looking for a hopped-up IPA, look elsewhere.
ALAS. WHATEVER WILL YOU DO? I’m going to drink a Sumatra Coffee Mild Ale.
THIS ONE BETTER TASTE LIKE COFFEE. It does! It’s like an alcoholic iced coffee. Solid. Word on the street—well, word from the barstool next to me—is that a half-and-half combo of this beer and the Madagascar Vanilla Mild is something of a taste sensation. After sipping a taster of the vanilla, I’ll buy that.
DEEP THOUGHTS: I gotta admit that the Forest is something of a disappointment, but maybe this was just an off batch; Octopi has only been rolling for a few months. And it certainly wasn’t bad, just not the flavor I expected. The Coffee Mild, on the other hand, was exactly as described. And it’s a nice joint. If you’re wandering aimlessly in Waunakee, it’s definitely worth dropping in.