Sunday, September 03, 2006

Oktoberfest and Fall Brews

This time of the year is one of my favorites. Leaving August behind and welcoming in September brings a good many things to the table. The tease of cooler weather, the beginning of the end of Hurricane Season, fall fruits and vegetables begin showing up at the markets, things like butternut squash, apples, sweet potatoes and of course pumpkin. This time also brings us some of my favorite style of beers. These beers can be broken down into two main categories: Traditioal Oktoberfest Beers, and American Fall beers, two very distinct styles, but both incredibly enjoyable.
Oktoberfest beers are the traditional style of beers that were at one time brewed for the Oktoberfest in Munich that takes place in late September. The tradition harks back to around 1841 when a Viennese brewer created a high malt beer. This beer was the basis of Gabriel Sedlmayr's (he of Spaten Brewery in Munich) beer that he named Marzen (or March). These traditionally strong beers were made in March, then stored in ice filled caves until the next fall. Marzen style beers became linked to Oktoberfest and some beers still call there brews Oktoberfest Marzen (think Spaten's version).
American Style fall beers are either the above Marzen style ales or what I call Spicy ales. In my experience these beers use fall spices, (think nutmeg, cinnamon, etc) to create a unique experience. My favorite of these are the Pumpkin ales that many a Craft brewer makes.
Over the next few weeks I will be tasting and reporting on as many of these beers as I can get my hand on.

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