Every year there is always controversy about exactly when seasonal beers should appear on the market. I’ve read anguished responses by those who complain that autumnal creations have no business appearing in August. Well, this may bother the weather-cycle sensitive, but the truth of the matter is that breweries want to sell more beer in an ever-expanding platform of choices. So getting their products in the hands of their customers is definitely a priority.
According to the 2012 Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Craft Beer is a specialty beer produced in limited quantities, which provides plenty of room to dispel many notions of what craft is suppose to mean. It is downright silly to hear such terms as microand macroused in an attempt to define the quality of a recipe. Never for a moment it seems, that the term craftsmen is ever applied to those brewers who apply their skills to make a beer consistently. Even those wretched pale lagers that the beer elite sneer at, who are shocked (absolutely shocked!) that so many millions not only drink those beers, but actually love them.
But taking into consideration the quantities part of the craft definition, this also can become problematic. Some craft beer seekers are surprised that their favourite brands are made by regional breweries, the unsung heroes of the beer revolution, who, in fact, make much of the good beer possible; whether they are located in Rochester and Utica, New York, or Wilkes-Barre and Pottsville, Pennsylvania, or St. Paul, Minnesota. They also are often surprised to learn that those lagers dreaded by the extreme India Pale Ale crowd, actually take longer to produce than their top-fermented favourites. Take for example, what happened with the Saint Arnold Brewery in Texas, when they decided to make a seasonal Oktoberfest, that was top fermented:
“When it came time to do our blind tasting to choose our beer, the ale version won by a large margin. And the ale took only two weeks to make, versus seven weeks for the lager. Tastes better, brews faster, easy decision. The ale won out.”
Which also reveals that when it comes to traditional Oktoberfest/ Marzen a considerable passage of time is required to make this great brewing style successful.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Probably the closest thing to a national Oktoberfest, partially due to being available nearly everywhere. This is an exquisite malt showcase recipe that is celebratory and a delicious accompaniment to a wide variety of foods.
The first time this seasonal has been bottled. America’s oldest brewery does a solid job using their famous house yeast. Very refreshing and focused.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest
Cleveland, Ohio brewer’s malty strong production of Marzen. Eliot Ness Amber Lager’s big brother. Strong and sweet. Plenty of flavour notes.
Christian Moerlein Fifth & Vine Oktoberfest
Perfectly balanced rendition, brewed in honor of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.