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Munich Germany is in the Throes of the Greatest 2 week party on earthy! Oktoberfest 2015 is in full gear and over 6 million people can enjoy the German hospitality while celebrating Crown Prince Ludwig’s nuptials to Princess Therese of Saxony in 1810. Rochester has its own Oktoberfest on September 25th. The Downtown Peace Plaza will become a great big german beer garden! Bratwurst, unlimited beer, German music and great german drinking toasts and games! All for a great charity—Beyond the Yellow Ribbon to benefit our returning military veterans
America is famous for innovation and taking something good and making it better! Beer is the same way. German Oktoberfest beers are great representation of the Marzen beer style. Malty, Dark Copper in color, and slightly hoppy, but german brewmasters are limited in experimentation by the German Purity law of 1516. The Reinheitsgebot decrees that beer can only be made with Water, Barley, and Hops. This limits the German brewmeisters a little bit. American Brewers don’t have their hands tied and have unleashed an amazing run of creativity in fall and seasonal beers! American craft brewers have pushed the envelope and created some of the greatest beers in the world.
I will recap a few great American oktoberfest and fall seasonals and delve into a true great American beer style–Pumpkin! The Number one selling Oktoberfest beer on a national basis is Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Sam’s take on the style is both traditional and cutting edge. It uses two different german hop varieties and has a deep smooth flavor with hints of caramel. It is one of my favorite beers!
Closer to home is Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm. Schell’s is a 6th Generation German family brewery who are making some amazing beers. Their Oktoberfest is a little lighter body than Sam Adams, but has a slight spiciness that is unique and makes it a great sipper!.
A new style Fall beer is the Lederhosen Lager from Pearl Street Brewing in LaCrosse. Making beer since 1999, Pearl Street has some great varieties. The Lederhosen Lager is their seasonal take on the classic style. It is 5% alcohol and is the smoothest Oktoberfest around.
Great Lakes of Cleveland Ohio makes an excellent Oktoberfest. The great flavor comes from addition of Munich Malt in the malt bill. The Munich Malt Gives it a cool flavor that is has nutty, bready flavors. Great Lakes has won numerous Gold Medals for their unique take on a classic style!!
Pumpkin beers are a uniquely American phenomenon. There is a long history of pumpkin brewing from the early settlers in American history. Pumpkin became a favored style because there was virtually nothing else to brew beer with. And we know after a hard day of farming and settling a foreign land our early American pioneers needed a cold beer to relax!
Pumpkin beers were made by George Washington and enjoyed by all! Pumpkins were plentiful in the old days and made some great beers. After the 1800’s typical malts and grains became to be more readily available and economical, so pumpkin beers faded from the scene. But in the last few years Pumpkin has become the hot flavor in just about anything. We know Starbucks has popularized the Pumpkin latte, but pumpkin beers are awesome. It is typically like a pumpkin pie in a bottle. Hints of cinnamon, clove and allspice is prevalent. Try the Alaskan Pumpkin or the Pumking if you can find it. Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing in Upstate New York is always considered a classic and among the best. It is an imperial ale and is a huge 8.6% alcohol flavor explosion! The Pumpkin pie flavors are outstanding and the undertones of pecans is amazing in the finish! Try this beer for the best of the best!
Alaskan brewery makes an awesome pumpkin beer with more of a clove and nutmeg flavor. A little hop flavor upfront balances the sweetness of the pumpkin. Alaskan is a fast growing craft brewery form Juneau Alaska.
For a real kick and amazing American ingenuity try the Funky Pumpkin from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas city. The funky pumpkin is spiced with the usual nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger. But the Funky part comes from the use of sour beer aged in stainless steel tanks with brettanomyces.(the wild strain that is in all sour beer) Boulevard has created a one of a kind pumpkin beer that is a true innovation!
Fall is a great time of year for a myriad of reason. Weather, Football, and now Beer and Oktoberfest! Enjoy in moderation and Cheers or as they say in Munich–PROST!!!
It has been over 200 years since Crown Prince Ludwig married the Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausens in 1810. The amazing love story captivated the German countryside and spawned one of the biggest celebrations in the world!
Ludwig and Theresa wedding nuptials and subsequent reception have become an annual event taking up 3 weekends in late September and early October in Munich Germany. Over 6 million liters of exquisite German beer are consumed, countless German songs are sung, an infinite number of beer drinking stories are exchanged, and millions of foreigners are indoctrinated into one of the great German traditions.
Oktoberfest in Munich Germany is world renowned for the camaraderie, great beers and awesome traditions. The Style of beer to be mainly consumed under the tents in the heart of Munich from September 19th-October 4th is Oktoberfest/Marzen styles of beer.
Oktoberfest is my favorite seasonal beer. I like the wheaty, lighter, fruitier summer quaffers, I enjoy the robust dark stouts and flavorful winter and holiday beers, and I always indulge myself in the spring seasonals. But Oktoberfest beers have the perfect combination of flavor and color that always satisfies.
An Oktoberfest beer is technically a Marzen Style. Marzen Style beers were made in the spring in such a way that they could last all thru the hot summer months in the old days before refrigeration. Typically Copper in color and about 5-6% alcohol.
There are 7 German beers that are served at the original Oktoberfest celebration in Munich. Paulaner, Hacker Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Ayinger, Hofbrau, Augustiner and Spaten. All German beers must follow the Reinheitsgebot, the German purity law passed in 1516 by Bavarian law. This states that all beer can only be made using Water, Barley and Hops.
Hacker Pschorr has been making beer since 1417. It is always considered the original. The Maltiness hits you up front with a touch of sweet grain. The foamy head exudes amazing aromas of bread and yeast. The taste is smooth yet bracing enough to startle your senses! It is a true representation of the style.
Ayinger is another great beer. Slightly more reddish in hue than the Hacker it is a rich creamy foam top that has a rustic old school style flavor. You open it up and it smells and tastes like Europe!!
Erdinger has an interesting twist on the original Oktoberfest style. Erdinger is famous for its wheat beers. Erdinger is world renowned for having the best Weiss beers around. They make a cool Wheat Oktoberfest that is unique and will appeal to just about everybody. Lighter body and color than most—the addition of the classic fruity notes from the Wheat base gives it a slightly softer backbone and really quenches your thirst!!
Here in America we are always looking for innovation and new things. Left Hand Brewing and New Belgium have both made some really cool Oktoberfest styles of beer. They really are taking the new world approach and expanding on the original masterpieces that came from Old World Europe. Next week I will bring up a few New World twists and also the phenomenon that is pumpkin beer!!
But for this week—embrace the old masters and try a real traditional Oktoberfest! As the Germans say May you live a hundred years—with one extra year to Repent! Prost!!
Root Beer conjures up images of the old A&W stand with the drive up ordering kiosks and the waitress bringing your food to your car. Root beer was always a favorite in the house! But we always had real root beer.
Now Adult root beers have taken the world by storm in the last few months. There are 4 new 5.9 % root beers that are outstanding. These root beer flavored malt beverages are made similar to other malternatives but with real flavors of classic root beer.
Not Your Fathers Root beer has been the 800lb Gorilla in the industry. It is the most popular Hard Root Beer in the world. Originated in Chicago by Smalltown Brewery, it is now also brewed in Lacrosse Wisconsin because the original brewery couldn’t keep up with demand. It comes in 6pk bottles and cans. NYFRB is a bold smooth and spicy beverage, and is definitely the sweetest of the Hard Root Beers.
A new entry is the Coney Island Root Beer. Owned and Developed by Sam Adams, it is a different flavor profile than any other. It uses Madagascar Vanilla and other unique spices in its Blend. Madagascar is the leading produces of vanilla in the world. The tropical climates and unique terrain of the Remote Island is perfect to make the best vanilla.
Sprecher Brewing in Milwaukee has been making Non Alcoholic Root beer and other sodas since 1985. Their NA root beer is famous for the use of Real Wisconsin Honey direct from the combs and of course other secret botanicals including vanilla. It has the flavor of root beer that has been aged in oak bourbon barrel.
Sprecher has used their vast experience and great techniques to develop a line of new Adult soft drinks. Sprecher has Hard Root Beer, Hard Ginger beer and Hard Apple Pie. The Ginger is an awesome taste experience that is totally unique. Try it straight or use it in your Moscow Mules (Vodka and lime) for an extra kick! The Hard Apple Pie is brand new and gives you the flavor that reminds you of grandma’s old-fashioned pie! Sweet and just a little tart!
RootStock Root beer is out of Columbia Missouri. Just released this week in Minnesota it is a collaboration of two friends who wanted to make a cool drink! It is comes in Cans and is the perfect thirst quencher. It uses pure cane sugar and molasses in the blend. It is brewed without grain and is totally gluten free!
These hard Root beers follow in the footsteps of other flavored malt beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice, and Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers. The category is constantly evolving with new flavors and ideas. It is a great way for brewers and customers to keep trying new and unique flavors to find new refreshing ways to enjoy adult beverages.
Hard Root beer is the latest and greatest for a good reason. It is sweet but still savory. It hearkens us back to a simpler time! Try it with ice cream for a real Adult Root Beer float! You will be amazed how the flavors translate so well. Just keep the kids away! Another cool mixer with the Hard root beer is Jagermeister. The famous shooter from Germany is synonymous with good times and its fierce unique flavor. But when the herbal spices and deep alcohol of Jagermeister blend with the Sweet herbs of the Root beer you get a killer drink that will liven up any party!
Flavored Malts will always be around and it will be fun to see what is the next flavor trend. Keep experimenting and always enjoy in Moderation. Cheers!!