A group of friends at an Oktoberfest peer through the holes in a soft pretzel

5 Travel-Worthy Fall Beer Festivals in Madison

What makes a beer festival travel-worthy?

Is it the locally-crafted favorites filling your glass? Live music riding on a fresh fall breeze? A tangible excitement crackling like leaves beneath your feet? Most of all, it’s that soak-it-in sense that makes you want to savor each second.

Come to Madison and drink it in — drink it up, for that matter.

 

Oktoberfest in Madison

Isthmus OktoBEERfest
September 14

Step into your lederhosen and straighten your dirndl. OktoBEERfest is a spirited homage to the classic celebration.

Devour brats, German potato salad, and apple-kraut. Wash it down with an unlimited sampling of over 250 beers from more than 65 breweries.

We’re talking about your favorite fall beers — Oktoberfests and hazy IPAs, blonde ales and classic kolsches — all in a souvenir stein you keep. 

Prost!

Wauktoberfest
September 13–15

Dust off your dancing shoes and prepare to polka.

Wilkommen to Waunakee, where a weekend-long celebration brings a piece of Europe to Wisconsin.

Polka, piano and uproarious comedy make for a festive Friday night, while Saturday's line-up boasts four, frenzied hours of dance.

Observe the blessing of the beers before sampling a selection of more than 100, then finish the weekend with a home-brewed beer contest. And, of course, another full day of polka.

New Glarus Oktoberfest
September 26–29

Aching for authenticity?

Step into Little Switzerland for a taste of tradition and genuine Gemütlichkeit – feelings of friendliness, warmth and comradery. New Glarus is a slice of Europe tucked into scenic hills just outside of Madison.

Head to the quaint downtown, where the music flows and the beer does, too. Warm with your soul with a chili cook-off and giant fondue pot, and wash it down with beer from New Glarus Brewing Co. – a Wisconsin exclusive.

Oh, and admission is free.

Quivey's Grove Beer Fest
October 5

First, there’s the beer. Delicious brews from 31 area breweries. Madison icons, newcomers, and innovators join breweries from around the state for a diverse selection.

Then there’s the food. A heartwarming offering of Bavarian tastes, perfect for fall —  smoked bratwurst soaked in beer, jumbo pretzels with warm mustard sauce, and smoked, spiced, air-dried landjaegers. Hungry yet?

Plus, with the stunning historic stone buildings and the dance-demanding music, you've got a can't miss festival. 

Quirky Beer Festival in Madison


Thirsty Troll Brew Fest
September 14

Raise your stein. And keep it up.

You just trained for the Masskrugstemmen Troll Strength Competition – an iconic annual tradition.

Beer fans flock to Mount Horeb, the troll capital of the world, for this fall festival. More than 125 beers from 30 local breweries whet your palate, while food trucks serve up the goods to keep your warm.

Keep an eye out for Jorgen the Thirsty Troll. Don’t worry, he’s friendlier than the ones on the internet.

Bonus Booze

WI's Best Bloody Mary Fest
September 14

While we’re celebrating beer, let’s take a moment to cheer for beer’s boozy best friend. One of Wisconsin’s classic drinks, it's a boozy beverage with a bit of bite: The Bloody Mary.

Sample some of the state’s best bloodies and judge for yourself who earns the crown. Bars from around the state compete using the same vodka as a base. From there, it takes creativity and unique flair to win.