I must apologize for my absence this past nearly two weeks. I’ve been in the process of moving into a new home, and went without any internet access for quite a while. The good ol’ net’s back up and running now, though, so it’s way past time for some updates.
As I reported back on August 31st, the Fall and Oktoberfest beers are rolling in, and right now is the perfect time to stock up, as the 200th Munich Oktoberfest celebration begins today! To commemorate this special occasion, Munich’s Paulaner Salvator Thomasbräu has released its Wiesn Bier for the first time in the American market. The Wies’n (or “meadow”) is where the Oktoberfest takes place annually, and though Paulaner releases its more traditional Märzenbier every year in Germany as well as America, the beer that it serves at its tents at the festival is quite different. The brewery has released this special brew in America in huge liter cans packaged with the famous 1-L Maßkrug (the giant, hefty, dimpled glass mugs used to drink beer at the various breweries throughout the city).
Sadly, while you should be able to find the traditional Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen at local shops (though oddly enough I have yet to see any), the Wiesn Bier hasn’t made its way to our market (at least not that I’m personally aware of – let me know if you’ve spotted the package, and I’ll update if I’m made aware of it). If you care to learn more about the beer, the Carbondale Craft Beer Examiner, Marika Josephson, has written a nice review for her weekly Thursday Tastings segment and paired the beer with homemade soft pretzels in Friday Forks.
Now, as for Oktoberfest beers that have actually made it this way, in addition to those mentioned in my previous article, Samuel Adams Octoberfest has finally slid on over to this side of the river, and you can find it in local grocery stores and beer shops in both six- and twelve-pack form, and it is also available in the Harvest Collection Variety 12-pack alongside two beers only available in this sampler – Dunkelweizen, which returns to the pack once again this year, and Harvest Pumpkin Ale, a new release for the brewery which happens to be quite a nice interpretation of the style. Other beers in the variety pack include Irish Red Ale, Black Lager, and Boston Lager. The Harvest Collection had been selling at Kroger stores on sale for only $12.99 for Kroger Plus members, so if this sale is still going on, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to pick one (or two or three) up to celebrate the upcoming season.
Much like any other style of beer, Oktoberfests are susceptible to “imperialization” by American craft brewers, and there are a couple such so-called Imperial Oktoberfests available at 8th Street Tobacco – The Kaiser, brewed by Boulder, Colorado’s Avery Brewing Company, an imperialized Oktoberfest lager that sits in the area of 10% ABV; and Heavy Seas Prosit!, a 9% ABV interpretation of this pseudo-style that makes its encore debut this year as part of the Mutiny Fleet series, which is Clipper City’s series of big beers in excess of 8% ABV. I’ll review this deceptively drinkable lager later today.
A few other Fall seasonals have made their way into Augusta as well, but I’ll address those—as well as any new Oktoberfest arrivals—in another post. Keep an eye out. As for today, find a local watering hole that carries Spaten’s Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen on-tap (try Limelite Café or Helga’s Pub and Grille, as they have it available on draught fairly regularly) and drink a few liters. Spaten’s original Oktoberfestbier is traditionally the first to be tapped at noon on the first day of the festival (that was at six o’clock this morning EST), so I like to start out my two-week celebration that way. You can, of course, celebrate however you want, but just be happy that there are plenty of Oktoberfest beers available to try over the course of the Fest, with still more to come!