The fall apple harvest means fresh pie or cobbler to some. But Furthermore Beer offers a liquid alternative with its current seasonal beer called Fallen Apple, which just hit store shelves in Madison.
The Spring Green-based beer company unveiled its 2009 version last weekend at its Shitty Barn Party. This annual Furthermore customer appreciation bash is held in a barn on the southern edge of Spring Green. The exterior of the building that houses the offices of Furthermore prompted the event's name. Luckily, Fallen Apple is much more appealing than the barn. It is a cream ale that's about 40% cider, and is an assertive, tart treat that's as tasty as those pies mom used to make.
What is it? Fallen Apple from Furthermore Beer of Spring Green.
Style: This beer begins as cream ale. The style is a mild, pale golden beer with a light malty body and low hop bitterness. It is light- to medium-bodied and crisp, making it a nice companion to the cider that's added to the fermenter. In the case of Fallen Apple, the cream ale adds body and softness. A unique element of Furthermore's cream ale recipe is the addition of lactose (milk sugar), which offers even more body and a touch of sweetness, further smoothing out the cider that dominates.
Background: Fallen Apple is released every year in mid-September. It's made with cider from Kickapoo Orchards of Gays Mills. "It's fun to get a component from a local orchard rather than just calling up my yeast guy for a recommendation about making a sour beer," says Aran Madden, co-owner and the force behind Furthermore's recipes. He says some might notice a little difference in this 2009 version of Fallen Apple. The orchard suffered hail damage, resulting in a somewhat different blend of apples that go into the cider. The base cream ale had to be adjusted to compensate for the tartness of the cider.
Madden's goal was for a brew that allows the cider to be the star of the show, but not the only actor on stage. He calls this cider for people who like beer.
While Furthermore Beer is based in Spring Green, it brews under contract with Sand Creek Brewing of Black River Falls. Madden drives up to help on brewing days. His recipe calls for about 1,500 gallons of cream ale and 1,100 gallons of cider. That makes for about 600 cases and 60 kegs of Fallen Apple, which Madden expects to be around until Thanksgiving. It's sold in six-packs for about $7.50.
- Aroma: Light, fresh, fruity, apple.
- Appearance: Clear, rich golden color with a medium marbled, white head.
- Texture: Medium- to light-bodied and bubbly.
- Taste: Crisp, tart, cider flavor up front with a light malty backbone.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Bubbly, apply, tart.
Glassware: Try sipping this beer from a wine glass or flute to show its color and effervescence.
Pairs well with: Fallen Apple makes a nice pre-meal beer because the fruity tartness and crispness will stimulate the appetite. It is paired best with pork and chicken, as long as they are not heavily spiced; basic fried chops or chicken would also go nicely with it.
Rating: Three Bottle Openers (out of four).
The Verdict: Sometimes you just need to appreciate a beer as being fun, creative, different from the rest of the pack. There is an edgy tartness to Fallen Apple's overall flavor, which is why I enjoy this beer. While one in a sitting is probably enough for most people, it makes a great beer to share with friends during a fall party. Fallen Apple offers something for both those who like cider and those who like beer. Madden's recipe allows the cider to dominate without completely annihilating the cream ale, the backbone to the brew. A great beer just in time for autumn.