Showing posts with label octoberfest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label octoberfest. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Raiding Blue Mountain

I generally don't drink during the week. It's a habit I picked up years ago when I moved to Prague and taught English to business people. The first lesson of the day often began at 7.30 in the morning and meant travelling across the city to get to their offices, which in turn meant getting up at 6am most days. When you have students to teach that early in the morning, and they are usually C level executives (Chief Something Officer), turning up bleary eyed and incoherent was not recommended.

The exceptions to that rule these days are the monthly meeting of the homebrew club, and other special occasions as warrant it - and no, Wednesday is not generally a special occasion. Tomorrow though is. All this week the good people at Blue Mountain Brewery have been holding an Oktoberfest out at the brewpub in Afton, and tomorrow is their Steal the Glass night. That's exactly what I intend to do, pop along, have a couple of pints of their Oktoberfest lager and steal the glass it comes in, which looks kind of like this:

According to the blurb for their Oktoberfest lager, named Humpbock for a local landmark, the beer:
"uses the eponymous Munich malt in combination with Pils and Vienna malts and is hopped exclusively with the noble Hallertau variety hop. Deep malty flavors dominate this quaffable beer. 26 IBUs."
I don't know about you, but that sounds worth drinking to me, and I have found myself wanting more beer glasses of late, so why not kill two birds one stone?

Picture credit: I didn't take this pic, it was posted on Blue Mountain's Facebook page.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Farewell to Oktoberfest

Today sees the end of Oktoberfest, that most famous of cultural festivals and quite possibly the most famous thing about Munich, though I am sure Bayern Munich would be right up there as well. Meanwhile, over here in the US we are in the middle of the annual slew of autumnal beers, mostly variants on the Oktoberfest lager or pumpkin beer theme.

This has been the first autumn that I have really bothered with Oktoberfest lagers, mainly because when the temperatures finally cool off I have this urge for porters and stouts, and I generally don't bother with pumpkin beers because they all taste like soggy cardboard to me. My delving into American made Oktoberfest lager started at the monthly meeting of the homebrew club I belong to, the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale. We have our meetings at the excellent Timberwood Grill, and usually they have a decent pale lager on tap, but last month that had been replaced with Bell's Octoberfest and so I polished off a pint or two of that. Thoroughly enjoying the Bell's stab at the style sufficiently piqued my interest to try other Oktoberfest lagers, and I think I have found my favourite.

Charlottesville has a nice, new shiny Whole Foods. More than that, we have a nice, new shiny Whole Foods with a bar. Yes, a bar. They have 8 beers on tap, do growler fills and most importantly have happy hour from 4 until 6. Now, tell me, can you think of a better way to finish off the work week than sitting in a bar, drinking quality craft beer at happy hour prices and having the bar strategically placed next to the cheese counter? No? Me neither. It has become one of my favourite places to go for a pint. I think it helps that Whole Foods reminds me so much of the French supermarkets round my parents' neck of the woods. You know the kind of place, where they actually like food rather than simply sell lowest common denominator shite. Any way, back to the beer.

The Highland Brewing Company from Asheville, North Carolina, make some of the best beers in the US, their Black Mocha Stout is divine, Gaelic Ale gorgeous and the Oatmeal Porter puts other oatmeal beers to shame. Clearly I like Highland Brewing's ales, but how would their lagers fare? Well, Clawhammer Oktoberfest is magnificent. Burnished orange, topped with a tight white head, the nose is bready, grainy and with a nice light spiciness from the Mittlefruh hops. The taste is that sweet malt character that is so much a key element of German style lagers, toasty, grainy but without tasting like caramel. A nice crisp, lingering finish which only gives way when the second put is placed in front of you and you get to start the process again.

I am not sure how long they will have it in our local Whole Foods, but you can bet I'll be in there on Friday for a couple of post work pints. Now a confession, I have never been to Oktoberfest, and really have very little interest in going, Starkbierzeit though is a different proposition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tastes of Autumn

I can't remember who tweeted it, but someone the other day asked the question "pumpkin beers or Octoberfest lagers"?

As a committed devotee of all beers decocted, cold fermented and then cold conditioned, the answer is fairly obvious for me, give me a pint of Octoberfest any day of the autumnal week. There is also the fact that I just don't seem able to get along with pumpkin beers.

As for the actual Octoberfest seasonals that I have enjoyed so far this year, Samuel Adams is a solid as ever offering, and Bell's Octoberfest is a serious candidate for my lager of the year. Big juicy caramel malts and a dose of background bitterness for balance make this an insanely easy beer to drink. While at 5.5% abv it is no session beer (regardless of what the marketing mandarins have written on the website), it is a delicious brew for sitting at a trestle table with buxom wenchie types bringing you bratwurst laden with lashings of mustard. I only have about 30 more bottles of beer to drink before my self-imposed ban on buying bottled beer is finished with, once that is done with I can see this filling some of the available space.

There is of course more to autumnal drinking than Octoberfest and pumpkin beers, for this is the season when brown ale, whether "nut" or otherwise, makes its appearance. Sierra Nevada's Tumbler is a favourite of mine, and not just because they call it an "Autumn Brown Ale" rather than a "Fall Brown Ale", smooth, silken and luscious to drink. Speaking of Nut Brown Ale, it is around this time of year that I see the eponymous Samuel Smiths winking from the fridge and indulge.

Autumn, don't you just love it?

Beyond January

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