Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beer Ain't Drinkin' 4: What Do You Mean There's No Such Thing As Scotchtoberfest?

by Jeff Allison

Giddy up!

I kinda used up all of my recent brewery trip stories in the last installment, so how 'bout a roundup of seasonal beers in the second best time of the year for seasonals!

I just love winter beers so much, but Oktoberfest beers are a pretty close second. I guess I'll start with the bottle that is currently open—Avery's The Kaiser. Avery has a Dictator Series of beers, all of which are stupidly great, including the Maharaja (double IPA) and the Czar (a great Imperial Stout). The Kaiser is, as far as I know, the only Imperial Oktoberfest beer.
Oktoberfest beers traditionally celebrate the end of harvest and those crazy Krauts would crack open the last of the brew they brewed back in March (before refidgeration brewers couldn't brew during summer months because the yeast couldn't do their jobs; the same reason Bourbon Whiskey isn't brewed in Kentucky over the summer). They called it Marzen (German for March), and it had more color and alchohol than their normal beer.
Background (almost) over, this brings us to The Kaiser, a Imperial Oktoberfest. The color is perfect for this beer, light brown, and the higher ABV (Alcholol By Volume) doesn't affect the taste. As opposed to virtually all good micros, it's a lager and doesn't show hops when they aren't needed. A very nice chill out beer!

Next up, Southern Tier Imperial Pumking. If you really like being pummeled by the taste of pumpkins then this is the beer for you! It sure was for me—best beer I've had in a while. Generally speaking, I don't care for beers made with other ingredients other than the basics (malt, barley, hops, love/evil), but Dogfish Head and Stone have been lately showing me the error of my ways, e.g. Stone's last Vertical Epic Ale was brewed with Gewertz grapes, and Dogfish Head's Midas Touch has a load of great ingredients that aren't just the usual suspects. So if you can find a bottle of the Imperial Pumpkin, grab a couple of bottles for Thanksgiving desert! I've generally preferred subtle pumpkin flavors in my beers (Ichabod by New Holland comes to mind), but this is worth the hype!

Founders naturally also has some great beers out for the season. Harvest Ale (brewed with wet hops-meaning very fresh) is a beer I hadn't had until tonight. Super hoppy, but in a somehow different way. Tastes somehow juicier. Much better is their Breakfast Stout. It's quite hoppy for a stout, totally opaque... Can't wait for the CBS (Breakfast Stout cellared in maple syrup barrels).

There are roughly 5,000 great beers I wish I had time to write about (Hacker-Pshorr Oktoberfest, Great Lakes, the best domestic Oktoberfest I've had, Hofbrau...) but time is short and it's time for a nice glass of port. Well, maybe a porter.

Beers, steers, and queers,

1 comment:

  1. ola!! If (and when) you get that new ukrainian grape forbidden serenity black dark lager stout with dandelion flakes made by Me Make Beer Breweries will you let me know? thanks!! :) the great vasiliosmosis :P