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Thasnksgiving beer pairings just in time for your feast

Not long ago I was asked what beers would be on my Thanksgiving table this year. While I had a quick answer at the time, I started thinking about what would really be good with the different foods that are part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I started thinking about the flavors and what would truly work best with them. Below are my recommendations of beers to try with the various courses of your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving feasting in my family begins the moment you walk through the front door. Generally there are platters of cheese, crackers, and other salty, savory snacks. These types of snacks are perfect for a well-hopped Pale Ale. Locally, here in Jacksonville, a perfect choice for this is Intuition Ale Works’ People’s Pale Ale. For those out of the area looking for a good Pale Ale try Dales Pale Ale or the granddaddy of all Pale Ales: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. These beers will also pair well with appetizers like shrimp cocktail or bruschetta with tomatoes and basil.

Thanksgiving dinner proper begins with a salad in my family. My mother has a favorite oriental style salad she makes with a sesame seed oil and vinegar dressing and dry Ramen Noodles crumbled into it that is a hit with our gang. The sweet salad dressing deserves a beer that will not over-power it so I like pair it with a Belgian White Ale like Blanche de Bruxelles. The wonderful balance of coriander and citrus in this brew enhances the sweet and tangy dressing marvelously without overpowering it with hops or malty sweetness. Try this beer with other similar, sweet salad dressings since the spices can hold up to the flavors of sweet lettuce, tomato, carrot, and cucumber.

For the main course of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, and so on you have to decide a direction to go. I have always aimed for a beer that would take a middle road through all of these flavors, enhancing them without distracting from them. Many beer connoisseurs will point you towards a toasty, malty beer like a Brown Ale. I don’t disagree with that in theory, but for my taste – and I think a lot of other folk’s if they have the where-with-all to save it – Oktoberfest Marzen works wonderfully. Oktoberfest-style beers have many of the characteristics of Brown Ales, but tend to have a cleaner finish. To me that is important. I want a beer that is going to refresh and cleanse my palate between bites, not leave a lingering malty flavor. One of my favorite Oktoberfest beers is Ayinger Oktoberfest. You may still be able to find some at your local beer store, so hurry on out for it. If Ayinger is not available try others like Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest of Flying Fish Oktoberfish.

At the end of the turkey gorging, there are always all those wonderful desserts. In our family that means pumpkin pie, apple pie, and rich chocolate cake. But, I have also seen families who serve mouth-watering desserts such as trifles and carrot cake. What you want here is a beer that can add its own spiced, sweet flavors while still allowing the delicious desserts to shine. In my recommendation recently, I suggested Southern Tier Pumking to pair with pumpkin, sweet potato, or pecan pie. The pumpkin spices in this brew are marvelous and will enhance your enjoyment of the pies. For chocolate desserts I have a bit of a wild idea: chocolate chili beers. You may have to look a bit for one of these but if you can find them try, Samuel Adams The Vixen a Bock beer brewed with dark cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and chilies; or try Cigar City Hunahpu an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chilies, Madagasgar vanilla beans, and cinnamon.

At the end of the meal, while you are lying on the sofa in all your stuffed majesty, watching the football games a good easy-drinker would probably hit the spot. What you probably want after all that food is a lighter, lower-alcohol brew to relax with. Again, for those who think ahead, grab your growler and head to one of the many great breweries in Jacksonville. You can even pick up a six-pack of Intuition Ale Works’ Jon Boat Coastal Ale at most local grocery stores.

But, no matter what beers you decide to serve with your Thanksgiving meal, it is my sincere wish that you have a safe and happy day with your family and friends. I also hope that you will take a moment to think about all that we have to be thankful for, in particular, please take a moment to think about the many United States Service Members who are away from their families – whether over-seas or domestically – that proudly protect our rights and freedoms.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Beer, Beer Food Pairing

 

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Tasty Beers to accent your Thanksgiving table

Many beer aficionados know the story of how the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because of a shortage of beer aboard the Mayflower. Beer was used as a water supply since water itself was unsafe to drink. Story-tellers point to a diary entry from an unnamed passenger that says, “We could not now take time for further search…our victuals being much spent, especially our beer…” The situation, it seems, was dire. Or, so the big American breweries would have you believe.

The truth of the matter is that the Pilgrims were not put out at Plymouth Rock because of a lack of beer. They were put out because of a lack of time. Quite simply, the Mayflower was due back in England and the Captain and crew told the Pilgrims to pick a spot and get off. The beer supplies on board were ample for the return trip to England. The beer companies wanted consumers to think that beer was as American as apple pie so they ran ads that said, “The Pilgrims drank beer.” While that is not entirely untrue, it is a stretch.

Regardless of the historical accuracy of beer being the reason America is here as we know it, beer is definitely a welcome addition and has a place on your Thanksgiving table. This time of year brings several interesting styles into season including Oktoberfest/ Märzen beers, fresh hop ales, and pumpkin beers. All pair nicely with your holiday dishes.

Oktoberfest-Märzen Style Beers

The original Oktoberfest was held in a field outside the city gates of Munich in the early 1800’s to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince of Bavaria Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghhausen. Germans being German, beer was an important part of the celebration. Oktoberfest beer is a traditional variety also known as Märzen. It is generally darker and stronger than traditional beers with alcohol content of around 6%. It is characterized by medium to full body, malty flavor, and a clean dry finish. Like all German beer, true Oktoberfest beer is brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot that precisely defines the four ingredients allowed in the brewing of beer: barley, hops, malt, and yeast. Oktoberfest beers are particularly good with meats and poultry; indeed a traditional food at Oktoberfest in Munich is roasted poultry.

Beers to try:

Ayinger Oktoberfest- Märzen
Sierra Nevada Tumbler

Fresh Hop Ales

Hops are the bittering component of beer. They grow on tall bines and consist of small cones that contain the all-important bittering agents. The vast majority of beer is made with dried hops because if the fresh picked cones are not dried within 24 hours of picking, they will begin to rot. And rotten hops do not make good beer. In the fall hop-picking season, some adventurous brewers rush out to the fields to gather fresh hops and brew with them. Because you need more fresh hops – somewhere in the neighborhood of five times more – in brewing than the concentrated dried hops, the resulting beer has a much more vegetative, earthy flavor than dry hop beers. Because of the amounts of hops necessary to brew these beers, they are made in very small batches. Fresh hop ales pair wonderfully with fresh vegetables and dishes with vegetables in them like green beans, brussel sprouts, and even stuffing made with onion and celery.

Beers to try:

Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Pumpkin Beers

In the early days of America, malted barley was extremely hard to come by and had to be imported from England. This made the malt very expensive and out of the reach of the lower classes. So, colonists began searching for other items that could be used as sources of sugar in their brews. Pumpkins were indigenous to America, so colonists began using them for beer. Early pumpkin brews bear little resemblance to today’s brews, which generally skew more towards the pumpkin pie spices rather than the actual fruit. Because of their sweet nature, pumpkin brews are perfect with desserts like pumpkin and sweet potato pie.

Beers to try:

Dogfish Head PunKin
Southern Tier Pumking

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Beer, Beer Styles

 

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Tap the Kegs! It’s Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest 2005 - Paulaner-Festhalle - front

Image via Wikipedia

Summer is unofficially over with Labor Day past us. Ahead are the cooler autumn days filled with preparations for the winter and its full accompaniment of holidays. Beer-minded folk look forward to this time of year for the heartier seasonal beers that it brings like Marzen, Pumpkin Ales, Oktoberfest, Dunkelweizen, and other spiced brews.

Perhaps the most famous of the list is Oktoberfest. Many have heard of the festival held in Munich, Germany every year from the end of September until the first weekend in October. But, few know that there is a style of beer named for the event nor do they know the reason or history of the celebration. The story is about a Prince, a Princess, a weddings, a horse race, and, of course, beer.

Once again, as I enjoy doing so often, it is time to Paulaner Oktoberfesttake you on a fantastical trip into European history to discover the origin of not only a great beer, but also a great celebration. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 1810.

The party was a rousing success and as word traveled far and wide, Bavarians began to think that making this into a yearly event to boost the Bavarian agricultural show might be a pretty good thing. So, in 1811 Oktoberfest was held in conjunction with the first agricultural show. By 1816, carnival booths began to appear at the ‘Fest and the party grew. In 1819 festival management was assumed by the founding citizens of Munich and the things really started to take off.

But, Oktoberfest was still rather tame for the first 100 years or so. It was more agriculture than party and the only entertainment was the horse race and the few carnival tents and food vendors that set up there each year. Several times during these years the festival was cancelled due to cholera outbreaks and wars.

Beer tents first began to appear in 1896 to quench the thirst of parched festival attendees. Little did these first revelers know that in the coming years the tents would grow to hold as many as 5,000 visitors and the festival would expand to host an estimated six to seven million partiers.

After the end of World War II, Oktoberfest kicked into high gear. In 1950 the festival began its long tradition of a twelve gun salute and ceremonial tapping of the first keg by the incumbent Mayor of Munich as its official opening. The tapping is followed by a cry of “O’ zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”). The first beer of the ‘Fest is then drawn and given to the Minister-President of Bavaria and the drinking commences.

By 1960, Oktoberfest had grown into the monumental world-famous festival depicted by German men in lederhosen and tirolerhute hats and women in dirndls. The beer tents and halls turn into seas of humanity all consuming massive steins of German beers brewed specifically for the event.

Today, Oktoberfest is known as the Largest Volksfest (People’s Fair) in the World. In 2010 the festival attracted 6.4 million visitors, only 72% of these visitors are from Bavaria. The rest are from other EU countries, the United States, Asia, and the rest of the world. While we are on the topic of statistics, a look at the astounding numbers that come out of this yearly beer blast are in order. For the most part, the drinking at Oktoberfest is done in the huge beer tents erected specifically for the event. In all there are fourteen large tents and twenty smaller tents. The largest of the tents, the Winzerer-Fahndl tent, can seat nearly 8,500 partiers inside and another 2,500 outside. When you combine the capacity of all the tents, there are in excess of over 100,000 seats available. During the run of the festival, attendees will consume nearly 2 million gallons of beer generally served one liter at a time, this equates to over 7 million liters. Hungry drinkers eat more than 500,000 chicken dinners, 240,000 sausages, and 70,000 pork knuckles.

Oktoberfest beer is of a variety called Märzen. Darker and stronger than traditional beer, Märzen contains up to 6% alcohol, is bottom-fermented, and is lagered for at least 30 days. The style is characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavour and a clean dry finish. In Germany, the term covers beers which vary in color from pale (Helles Märzen), through amber to dark brown (Dunkles Märzen). Before the advent of modern refrigeration techniques, this type of beer was brewed in March (as its name suggests) and allowed to age through the summer, so that it was ready to drink by late summer or early fall. Like all German beer, the Oktoberfest beer is brewed according to strict German standards (called the Reinheitsgebot and in effect since 1516) that precisely define the four ingredients allowed in the brewing of beer: barley, hops, malt, and yeast.

Just 6 Munich breweries – Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten – are permitted to serve beer at the festival. Beer is served by the Maß, a one-liter mug, and costs about 8 euros. Beer maids and waiters must be able to carry 10 of these beer-filled mugs at a time.

Oktoberfest Beers to Try

Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen

Tis tasty brew was served last year at the Springfield Brew Crew Oktoberfest party and was a big hit. Its malty and clean hop profile was refreshing and satisfying. Many described the beer as having a slight apple flavor to it. It is well worth seeking out at your local beer purveyor.

Paulaner Oktoberfest

Once brewed as only a seasonal beer, Paulaner’s Oktoberfest is now available year-round. It has a caramelized, barely malty nose and a rich, creamy full-flavored finish.

Spaten Oktoberfest Beer

Created in 1872, Oktoberfest Beer by Spaten is the first true Oktoberfest beer. This is a medium-bodied beer with rich, roasted malt flavor and perfectly balanced hops. With rich mouth feel and underlying malty sweetness, this is one of the most popular beers at Oktoberfest each year.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Pours a rich, clear amber with a two fingered off white/light tan head that drops slowly. Aromas of caramelly malt grain and toast. No hop aroma. There are flavors of deep caramel malt, biscuit and toast, with a balancing bitterness, but very malt forward. Mouth feel is medium to light.

Harpoon Octoberfest Beer

Pours burnt orange to reddish copper in color with a nice off-white, frothy head. Aromas present are of malt, slight fruit — maybe orange – slight hops. The flavor is a bit spicy with nice malts and medium body.

Local Jacksonville Oktoberfest Celebrations

Intuition Ale Works – September 24, 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM

All the stops are being pulled out for the mother of all Oktoberfest celebrations here in Jacksonville at Intuition this year. The brewers are preparing two special edition brews for the occasion – a traditional Oktpberfest Marzen and a hefeweizen. There will be all-you-can-eat German wursts and other German foods, beer games, commemorative mugs, and a German costume contest.

Tickets are available now online at http://www.intuitionaleworks.com or at the Tap Room during regular business hours, Wednesday to Saturday, 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Prices are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. There are a limited number of tickets available.

Foodies USA – October 14

The Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel is the host for FoodiesUSA’s Jacksonville Oktoberfest 2011. At 5:00 PM there will be a Beer Pairing Dinner at Bold City Grill including a complete 5 course dinner perfectly paired with Bold City Beers. Afterwards, starting at 7:00 PM, explore the Bier Garden & Food Festival, where top beer and food vendors will bring their best for you to taste.

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.foodiesusa.com. The price for the Beer Dinner is $40, the Bier Garden is $25, or you can purchase both for $50.

Riverside Art Market Oktoberfest – October 21- 22

Come out Friday night after work, or anytime Saturday as RAM celebrates the cooler weather with some great German food, music, and fun!

Oktoberfest through the years has been a celebration of the end of the year harvest. Its raucous fun and revelry is matched only by the spring St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Enjoy the season with a stein of your favorite German beer and bratwurst.

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!

Cheers!

Marc Wisdom

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Beer, Beer Festival, Beer Styles, Events, Octoberfest, Travel

 

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Brew Crew OKTOBERFEST is Back On!!!

***ATTENTION BREW CREW***

Good news! The previous note sent out regarding the Oktoberfest event
being canceled is now null and void! Some of our very own have stepped
up, taken the brew by the foam and have volunteered to host this month’s
event. The Byres’s have graciously made their home available.
    Friend Springfield Brew Crew on Facebook for your invite and the address of the event.

Or check the Official Springfield Brew Crew Website on the Meets page.

And while your at the website be sure to check out the Rules page so you know what to
do and what to bring!

http://www.sprbrewcrew.com/

Beer style of the month is Oktoberfest or Marzen. Bring a six-pack and a snack and ENJOY!!!
   ***THAT IS ALL***

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2010 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Brew Crew

 

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