*This is the forty-first post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*

Octopi Brewing / 3rd Sign Brewery
1131 Uniek Dr
Waunakee, WI 53597
(608) 620-4705
Visit date: 12/12/15

Quick Hits:
1) How many different beers?
4 of their own on tap, a total of 6 core beers.

2) How long operational?
5 weeks.

3) Why? (here, this, etc)
The owner ran a contract brewery in Illinois prior.

4) Distribution?
3rd Sign available in bottles in Madison, growlers and crowlers to go.

5) What sets you apart?
“We’re a brewer’s brewery; a way to help others grow their brand.”

6) How did you get your name?
Named for the 3rd sign of the Zodiac, Gemini. Each style of beer (wheat, IPA, etc) is released in a pair of different beers.

Octopi Brewing & 3rd Sign beer in Waunakee, WI. All photos by Joe Powell.

Octopi Brewing & 3rd Sign beer in Waunakee, WI. All photos by Joe Powell.

Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, just north of Madison, threw us for a bit of a loop once we walked in. Prominent “Octopi” signs illuminate the field surrounding this brand-spanking new warehouse, production facility, and taproom; but on tap they offered house beer under the 3rd Sign brand.

The taproom is large and industrial, just like the rest of Octopi.

The taproom is large and industrial, just like the rest of Octopi.

The explanation starts with the brewery names: Octopi and 3rd Sign are like twin entities, and the name is an homage to the 3rd sign of the Zodiac, the Gemini twins.

Cases ready to go.

Cases ready to go.

3rd Sign is the house beer brand, which accounts for about 10% of their output. They serve and distribute it as more of a proof of what their other half, Octopi Brewing, can accomplish as a contract brewer. As Adam Vavrick, Director of Sales & Marketing, told us, Octopi was built to be “a brewery brewers want to work with.”

We've rarely seen such impressive brewing equipment.

We’ve rarely seen such impressive brewing equipment.

The idea is that other brewers or breweries who lack the capacity, starting capital, technical knowledge, or manpower to expand their brewing on their own can contract with Octopi for help.

They've got room to grow with their clients.

They’ve got room to grow with their clients.

Assistance can range from simply an extra fermentation tank, to a bottling line, to a full recipe breakdown: “We’ll brew to spec (specification); literally whatever you want.”

41 Octopic Brewing _ 3rd Sign (6) sd

We tried all 4 of their 3rd Sign beers ($10) to see what exactly this standard-setting brewing equipment was capable of.

41 Octopic Brewing _ 3rd Sign (8) sd

Jungle IPA
Fresh, tart; cloudy & hoppy.

Forest IPA
Solid, perfect for a hike in the woods.

Madagascar Vanilla Mild Ale
Very tasty, like toasted marshmallows.

Sumatra Coffee Mild Ale
Peppery, addictive coffee taste.

41 Octopic Brewing _ 3rd Sign (9) sd

While some of the focus is on the 3rd Sign Brewery brand, Adam notes Octopi is really “a way to help others grow their brand.” In a collaborative brewing community such as Madison, and considering the striking quality of equipment at their disposal, I have a feeling contract-brewer Octopi will be getting their tentacles on a lot of local beer.

As the change in daylight may indicate, we were there for a while enjoying ourselves.

As the change in daylight may indicate, we were there for a while enjoying ourselves.