Beer, Beer, & Better Beer | HopCat

Beer, Beer, & Better Beer

Harvestfest at HopCat – Farm to Glass
Jay Poljanac | October 23, 2020

Pumpkin spiced lattes are back, trees are turning their typically beautiful fall colors and the dads of the house have a firm grip on those who dare to touch the thermostat. Autumn has arrived and while we can all appreciate this wonderful season and the beauty it brings to the leaves; it also brings Hærf-est – once an old-English word for “autumn” or “August”, known more formally to us now as harvest season.  


Growing up in the Midwest, one of our favorite parts about the cooler months is getting to take the family trip to our local apple orchard to pick apples straight from the tree, grab a pumpkin that was just picked from the patch, and on your way home after a long day out in the cool fall air, grabbing some warm doughnuts and apple cider for the road. This isn’t the only perk of living in a region that is known for its wide variety of crops that are harvested in the fall.  


In temperate crop-growing regions across the country, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and hop fields alike become ripe going into the month of September with the freshest ingredients. Your favorite local brewers and cider makers can use these harvest flavors to craft a great beverage. Once the fields have been harvested, hops that are freshly picked from the bine (yes bine, not vine) are brought right from the field to make the freshest wet-hopped ales you will find all year, while the rest are quickly pelletized and stored cold in an effort to preserve the essential oils needed for hops to retain flavor, aroma & bitterness. For apples, the September harvest season is the sweet-spot for most of the varietals of apples that are used in our favorite ciders throughout the year.  


To celebrate the harvest season and the impact it has on our favorite beverages, the 1st Annual Harvest Fest will begin at open on Saturday, October 24th, and will run through Sunday, November 8th. Each HopCat location has curated a list of harvest ales, hard ciders & pumpkin ales that represent the hard work and fresh flavors our local brewers and cider makers put into their craft.


We’ve also put together some unique and seasonally specific limited-time offerings that will be available during Harvest Fest. Check them out at your local HopCat from October 24th-November 7thwhile supplies last! 

  • Turkey Bacon Brie Melt- Oven Roasted turkey, hickory-smoked bacon, garlic aioli, onion, creamy brie and honey crisp apples on sourdough & served with Cosmik fries
    • Beverage Pairing: Harvest Ale – These wonderful fall seasonal beers often come in the style of American IPA, but will sometimes take on the character of a West-Coast or New England version of the style. The carbonatation and general brightness of these styles are a perfect match for a creamy and rich melt and should lend a hand to enhance the flavor of the turkey and bacon.
  • Sweet Potato Harvest Bowl (VT)- Maple sweet potatoes, exotic grains, quinoa, roasted cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, arugula, queso fresco, and roasted garlic vinaigrette
    • Beverage Pairing: Pumpkin Ale – While this dish will have some sweetness shining through in the maple sweet potatoes, the amber style in which a pumpkin ale is typically brewed works wonderfully with a lighter entrée dish like this one. While the ingredients in this dish all come together to create a fantastic bowl of harvest ingredients, the pumpkin flavor is really what ties this dish up.
  • Apple Strudel Bites (VT) - Bite-size apple strudel in puff pastry tossed in salted Carmel seasoning, drizzled with bourbon caramel sauce
    • Beverage Pairing: Semi-Sweet Hard Cider – Traditional hard ciders are a perfect match for richer dessert’s, and just because this one features apples doesn’t make that any different. Like flavors is always a welcomed match and with the salted caramel seasoning and bourbon caramel sauce, the cider should work wonders in cleansing the palate of any residual richness from the latter ingredients.
Read more Comments
Think Global, Drink Local
Jay Poljanac | September 19, 2020

Introducing Hoptoberfest!


Bust out your lederhosen, we’re gearing up for Hoptoberfest at HopCat, our own version of the annual Oktoberfest celebration! Along with a carefully chosen list of local craft Märzen’s for each HopCat location, we will also be featuring a number of fest-themed food items for the duration of the promotion that will run from September 19th to October 4th.


What is Oktoberfest, and why does it start in September?!

What began as a marriage between a king and a queen, and was originally a royal event, has become the biggest annual celebration in Bavarian culture and the most celebrated beer holiday in the world. King Ludwig wed Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12th 1810 and inspired a royal horse-race, a show to inspire Bavarian agriculture, and later the big beer-halls that has come to be what modern-day Oktoberfest is today. While it was originally celebrated in October, the event was later moved to the end of September due to the days being longer and warmer. In light of German unification, the length of the festival will run 14-16 days dependent on when German Unity Day falls.


Oktoberfest, as you might imagine, is home to some pretty phenomenal world records. There are the most beer steins carried at once (29). And the world’s largest lederhosen (18x15-ft.) And the world’s largest pretzel (1,728 lbs.)


Why do we celebrate Hoptoberfest at HopCat?

Oktoberfest and its specific beer styles that accommodate the festival are widely celebrated throughout the fall. Fall seasonal beers are typically the most popular with craft beer drinkers and we typically start to see Oktoberfest/Märzen’s & festbier’s popping up in bars and beer stores at the beginning of September, ushering in the Oktoberfest celebration and the cool fall air. It is easily the most celebrated beer holiday in the world and as purveyors of craft beer we want to share some of our great local Oktoberfest beers with the world while also offering up some unique food menu items to celebrate!


While Oktoberfest is often confused as a blanket term for a few different styles of beer, there is a distinct difference between the different styles served at the annual festival and around the world. With the exception of a few great local festbier’s, most of the American craft Oktoberfest’s you will find will typically be in the style of Märzen.

·Oktoberfest/Märzen is the traditional beer that was served for many years at the festival. While it is an adaptation of the Vienna-style lager, they are slightly more malt-forward and sweet but still tend to finish dry even with a depth of malt character. These are often described as soft, complex, and elegant but never cloying. In my opinion, this is the quintessential fall style of beer!

·Festbier’s represent the modern German beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich. The festbier style is a smooth, clean, pale German lager with moderately strong malty flavor and a light hop character. The style balances strength and drinkability with a palate impression and finish that encourages drinking. This style showcases elegant German malt flavors without becoming too heavy of filling.


We’ve whipped up quite limited only features for this one!

Stop in during the Hoptoberfest celebration at HopCat from September 19th to October 4th to try one of these tasty Oktoberfest-themed limited-time offerings!


The Wurst Burger – Two smash patties with smoked gouda, brat sausage, onion, garlic aioli, stone ground mustard and arugula on a pretzel bun, served with Cosmik fries!

Brezen Nuggz - Pretzel nuggz, sautéed onions, and brat sausage smothered in warm cheese sauce. 

Killerwurst Mac & Kase - Our killer mac & cheese with brat sausage, bacon, arugula, stone ground mustard, and pickled red onion


Michigan Oktoberfest Recommendations:

Bells Octoberfest

Founders Oktoberfest

Griffin Claw Oktoberfest

Drafting Table Oktoberfest

Arbor Oktoberfest


Lincoln Oktoberfest Recommendations:

Cosmic Eye Festbier

Kinkaider Oktoberfest

Empyrean Aries Märzen Oktoberfest

Catalyst Oktoberfest

Stone Hollow Oktoberfest


Indianapolis Oktoberfest Recommendations:

Bier Brewing Oktoberfest

Sun King Oktoberfest

Upland Oktoberfest

Moontown Follow The Lederhosen


Read more Comments
HopCat fixed Tuesdays with $5 Smash Burgers
HopCat | February 4, 2020

Dbl Smash Burger

Tuesdays, amirite?! Ugh. The worst. We don't like them any more than you do, but here at HopCat, we're unveiling a bold new plan to transform Tuesday into the best day of the week — or at least, like, one of the top five best days. We can't do everything.

But here's a start: $5 burgers. That's right, from 6 p.m. until we close every Tuesday night at HopCat, you can get our Dbl Smash Burger for only $5. That's two custom-blend beef patties with signature Kitty Island sauce, American cheese, red onions, pickles and lettuce on a brioche bun, all for an unbeatable price. Goes well with fries and beer, but you already knew that.

So there, now that Tuesday is fixed, we'll save a seat for you here at HopCat!

Read more Comments