Employees at Propeller Health unwind with beer, wine, and snacks on a Friday evening earlier this month.

Stocked up

Employees at the company favor craft beers. Some are from Madison, WI-area breweries, such as Karben4 and Capital Brewery.

Beer pong

Two employees set down their beverages to play table tennis. Propeller allows dogs in the office.

A different brew

The office features a tap and kegerator, but they're for cold-brew coffee, not beer.

What’s On Tap? Propeller Health

Earlier this year, my colleague Jeff Engel created a series exploring Wisconsin tech companies at which employees enjoy drinking a couple beers together to wrap up the week. A few months back, Engel moved to Boston to work from Xconomy headquarters, and I joined the company as the new Wisconsin editor.

I want to keep the series going, and for this, my first installment, I visited the offices of Propeller Health in downtown Madison, WI.

Propeller makes data-collecting devices that attach to inhalers used by patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s serious business, but that doesn’t mean employees can’t take a break once in a while. Human resources coordinator Sarah McMullen dished on fun time at the 50-person startup:

What’s on tap at Propeller?

A variety of craft beers. Right now in our fridge there’s everything from local beers like Karben4 Fantasy Factory and Capital Brewery Wisconsin Amber to Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, which is a collaboration between New Belgium Brewing and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Kegs, bottles, or cans?

Mostly bottles, since many craft beers don’t come in cans. We do have a tap and kegerator, but they’re for cold-brew coffee.

Office happy hour?

On Friday evenings, there’s usually a handful of people who stick around to socialize with colleagues. There are snacks to nibble on, and sometimes we’ll do more around food, like a recent chili cook-off.

Other times or places employees socialize together?

We have an annual company retreat at Camp Wandawega, a summer camp located about 60 miles southeast of Madison. There are bonfires and lots of team building, which sometimes involves enjoying a beer or cocktail.

Best and worst thing about beer in the office?

Best: “Beer o’clock” is at 4 pm on Fridays.

Worst: Beer o’clock isn’t until 4 pm on Fridays.

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