I don’t know about you, but Oktoberfest is one of my favorite beer holidays. Lederhosens, dirndl dresses, and oversized beer mugs, what’s not to love? Not only is it a great holiday for overindulging in some classic renditions of Festbiers, but it’s also a great way to celebrate one of the largest single immigrant group in Minnesota history and the largest ancestry group, according to the 2000 census data.
Now, if you’re not aware of the history of Oktoberfest, back in the early 1800s, there was a prince who was to marry a princess, as one does. Instead of simply inviting the most royal of friends, they decided to invite all of Munich to celebrate. The party was so crazy that it lasted about a week and ended with your typical closing ceremony, a horse race. When they decided to run another horse race the following year, the tradition started. Since then, the celebration has been concentrated down to drinking beer and dancing to the sweet sounds of a polka band.
Here in Midwest, we like to do thing a little differently. This week I’ve featured a couple Minnesota versions of Festbiers and one more tradition version from Minnesota’s largest zoo, Iowa. So, let the polka soothe your earholes, grab your largest mug, and head over to your favorite German bar, I personally like Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit in NE. Prost to the married couple and prost to Germany!
And Now, the Brews
|Modist Brewing | German Fat Cap | German IPA|
|Modist is good at brewing beers not to traditional style that not only taste good but pay homage to a style’s heritage. German Fat Cap is just that. Think Oktoberfest with a classic American twist in the form of an aggressively hopped IPA. German malts combined with a water profile similar to that of Germany’s, German Yeast, German hops, and, you guessed it, German malts. So, what’s the American twist? How about the aggressive addition of German hops? Yeah, that’s a pretty American thing to do. The nose is pretty even between a solid malt backbone and intense earth hops. It’s a fun smelling beer with cracker, pine, “special herbs”, mango, honey, and toffee tickle that the nose hairs. As for the taste buds, they’re recognizing an abrupt bitterness in cohort with lime zest, bright pine, toffee, caramel, malt, and finishes of with some great bready characters. Nearly perfectly balanced between malts and hops, which is pretty uncommon for an American IPA. A great alternative for anyone that doesn’t like Oktoberfest style beers and also great for those that do. Kind of a win-win situation here. Also, you may need to be patient, depending on when you’re reading this. Modist starts shipping these out to stores next week.|
|4 pk 16 oz Cans | 6.5% ABV | 82 IBUs|
|Utepils | Receptional | German Festbier|
|Did you know, last year around this time, at Utepil’s Oktoberfest celebration, they conducted a bunch of wedding and vow renewals at the brewery? They did, and everyone that got married got to toast and celebrate with this beer for free! That’s some pretty great marketing, but it does make sense for the celebration of Oktoberfest since, originally, the party started as a reception for Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12th, 1810. A lighter bodied version of a traditional Festbier, Recptional is super easy to drink and completely refreshing. Aromas of rich malts, caramel, crusty bread, a bit of hop spice, and a faint reminiscence of fruit. These inviting aromas lead into flavors of sweet malts, bread crust, and some grassy notes. This is followed up with a bit of fruit, banana, and apple and then finishes with a very mild bitterness. A great showcase of what Utepils is good at, making well-balanced high-quality German-style beers! Looking to elope? Sorry, you missed your chance to do it at the brewery, but that doesn’t me you can’t celebrate. The party ends on September 30th!|
|4 pk 16 oz Cans | 5.9% ABV | 28 IBU|
|Millstream | Oktoberfest | Marzen|
|Millstream’s Oktoberfest has been, at least here in the Midwest, known almost specifically for their Oktoberfest. I remember them touting a 100-point rating at one point, which would peak almost anyone’s interest. Based on their Munich style Schild Brau Amber, the Oktoberfest is brewed to be maltier, have a higher ABV, and darker in color. Compared to other American Oktoberfests, there isn’t as much hop character nor is it as sweet, but don’t fret, it still has a decent amount sweetness tickling the nose. Aromas of malt, caramel, bread crumbs, grassy hops, and cereal grains shine in a balanced effort. As it greets the tongue, a strong hit of caramel is followed by stone fruit, sweet sourdough bread, and more grassy hops which provide a minor bitterness to help cut the sweetness coming from those malts. Nicely balanced. The creamy mouthfeel help make this beer easy to drink and helps prepare you for a killer spicy brat loaded with sauerkraut, in true German fashion!|
|6 pk Bottles | 5.7% ABV | 21 IBUs|