Wild Heaven Fest Beer returns for a 6th time (if our drinking memory serves us well) this weekend.
A few years ago, brewery co-founder Eric Johnson debuted Autumn Defense, a creative rendition of the popular fall lager. In that case, [Defense] was actually ale, with “pronounced bright citrus flavors, brewed heavy-handedly with Munich malt.” A festbier in spirit, but as Johnson admits – not very traditional. “You’re not a brewer if you’re not experimenting I guess,” Johnson once told us. “It doesn’t always work out.”
Wild Heaven Fest Beer follows a much more traditional path since its inception. Fest Beer now is true marzen lager, officially leaving the idea of an “ale festbier” behind for good. To get here, tweaks to the recipe (and yeast) had to happen.
Johnson used Gungeist hops in years 1 and 2 of this release – a European hop of Hallertauer parentage. These hops did make a good lager, but ultimately traditional brewing just wins out. (Another revelation that happened, later, the Gungeist hop flavor wasn’t the same 4 weeks later.)
These days, the lager is brewed completely with classic Noble hops from Germany.
The path from Autumn Defense to Fest Beer was a journey unto itself. What fest beer is today is quickly becoming a fall tradition for Wild Heaven and their fans.
Wild Heaven Fest Beer is available on draft and 12-ounce cans seasonally starting this week.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Latest Return: August 2023
Image: Beer Street Journal
Southern Tier Pumking is usually the first pumpkin beer to hit shelves, typically right after Independence Day. You typically see it on shelves alongside the brewery’s pumpkin stout, Warlock. Pumking is one of the boldest (and highly debated) pumpkin beers across craft beer since debuting in 2007.
The 9% strong ale is brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, clove, and allspice. Each sip is an over-the-top fall beer that tastes like biting into pumpkin pie (crust included). Much to the chagrin of beer drinkers and their social media hatred of beer seasonal creep, Pumking really is the king one thing – it’s always the first pumpkin beer on shelves every season for the past few years. The brewery has not said if that helps beer sales or not.
In 2015, Pumking also shipped 12-ounce bottles, making the imperial pumpkin ale a little more manageable if you are flying solo.
In 2014, the brewery added Southern Tier Rum Aged Pumking,
Southern Tier Pumking is available in 12-ounce bottles, 22-ounce bottles, and draft through the fall.
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Latest Return: July 2023
Creature Comforts Athena Paradiso returns to cans as 2023 gets in full swing.
Athena Paradiso is a spin on the brewery’s year-round Athena Berliner Weisse. This release features tart cherry, raspberry, and cranberry, which complements a Guava & Passionfruit edition the brewery also releases seasonally.
David Stein, Co-Founder, says “We love how fruit plays with the acidity in Athena. Also, depending on the fruit used the beer will often take on its color – this version in particular will be a dark pink.” The “Paradiso” is meant to instill a vision of paradise and prepare consumers that they are on the verge of going on a beautiful fruit journey.
Creature Comforts Athena Paradiso will be available in both 12-ounce cans and draft again starting in mid-January.
Hi-Wire King Cake 10W-40, a Mardi Gras-themed imperial stout returns as February winds down.
2022 seems to be flying by already. It’s Mardi Gras, Lent starts on Wednesday, and you can almost see summer from here. While Hi-Wire Brewing’s 10W-40 Imperial Stout evolves constantly throughout the year, a few favorites to make seasonal appearances – namely the King Cake 10W-40 Imperial Stout.
Stating the obvious, the imperial stout mimics the famous New Orleans King Cake – basically, a coffee cake blended with a cinnamon roll, covered in Mardi Gras colors. The stout is specifically brewed with lactose, vanilla beans, cinnamon, coffee, and chocolate.
Hi-Wire King Cake 10W-40 Imperial Stout is available for a limited time in 16-ounce cans and draft.
Latest Return: Late February 2022
Terrapin Watermelon Gose, one of the brewery’s most popular seasonals, is back on shelves ahead of the coming spring.
Watermelon Gose is the brewery’s first packaged gose style, a tart beer traditionally brewed with sea salt and coriander. In a break from tradition, the brewery adds fresh watermelon. If you put salt on your watermelon slices, you’ll really love this one.
Terrapin Watermelon Gose is available across the brewery’s entire footprint again starting in late February 2022.
PIC: Beer Street Journal
Noda Brewing Hop Cakes, the maple syrup heavy imperial India pale ale will resurface again this weekend.
Each batch of Hop Cakes is brewed with 110 pounds of maple syrup from Vermont. Cans of this sweet, hoppy dream were first released in February of 2015.
Pour yourself a stack of Imperial IPA goodness soaked in lots and lots of delicious Vermont maple syrup. Then put down your axe, loosen your suspenders and enjoy sweet, citrus, hops and resin flavors in this special release treat. Enjoy immediately (do not cellar). And feel free to come back for seconds!
Hop Cakes will be available in 16-ounce cans and draft at the brewery on January 27th, 2022.
Image via NoDa Brewing
Terrapin Wake-n-Bake, aka W-n-B, is making a seasonal return to the Athens, Georgia based brewery’s seasonal lineup.
2021 marks the 17th release of Terrapin Wake-n-Bake, an oatmeal stout brewed with a special blend of coffee from Athens local Jittery Joes Coffee.
Black as night, this coffee stout is thick, rich and full of real coffee flavor. Brewed with a special blend of beans from all over the world developed and roasted specifically for Terrapin by our friends at Jittery Joe’s Coffee right here in Athens, GA.
In 2014, Terrapin invested in a canning line, and started transitioning their entire lineup from bottles to cans. W-n-B was one of the first seasonals to make the change back in 2016. If you like a bold stout with coffee and hints of creamy chocolate, this seasonal favorite does not disappoint.
Terrapin Wake-n-Bake is available in 12 ounce cans and draft across the brewery’s distribution network in November 2021.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Can Debut: November, 2016
Latest Return: November 2021.
PIC: Beer Street Journal