October 2011: High Spirits - OKTOBERFEST BEERS
Author: Krissy Cantelupe
With nights getting cooler and days getting shorter, October is a perfect time for the arrival of the fall seasonal beers, especially the Octoberfests or Oktoberfests. These rich, amber colored beers are full of flavor and excellent with smoked or spicy meats (think sausage!) as well as some of the heartier cheeses and soups. From Colorado to Michigan, Massachusetts to North Carolina, there is a seasonal autumn beer out there for everyone.
Bell’s Brewing Company, Kalamazoo, Michigan
5.5% ABV (Alcohol by Volume)
A Marzen style (means March in German). The beer was originally brewed in March then exhausted by October but is a staple for the German Oktoberfest—medium bodied in flavor most of the time.
Bell’s Octoberfest has a light caramel note without too much overbearing sweetness. It has a likeable quality without an overly dry aftertaste. Pairs perfectly with grilled meats and heartier fish dishes.
Bell’s began in Michigan in 1985 with a 15-gallon soup kettle and as basement for brewing and has now evolved into a brewery with over 20 beers available for distribution.
SAM ADAMS OCTOBERFEST
**The Boston Brewing Company, Boston, Massachusetts??
The first Sam Adams Octoberfest was brewed in 1989, and it just seems to get better and better each year. With a delightful amber gold color, the beer is full-bodied with flavors of toffee and honey. Pairs quite well with smoky sausages.
Sam Adams has quite a large amount of beers for distribution; with over 750 people employed, the company is one of the best employers in the beverage industry.
HIGHLAND CLAWHAMMER OKTOBERFEST
Highland Brewing, Asheville, North Carolina
Lighter in color than some of the other beers tasted, this beer is another medium body Marzen style. There is plenty of toasted malt flavor and a nice vanilla finish. Pairs very well with Italian meats such as salami and cappicola.
Highland Brewing started with three employees and now is up to a 20-person staff with a new facility and tasting room.
FAT TIRE HOPTOBER
New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado
Medium bodied with a rich, creamy mouth feel. The flavors are light lemon and orange, with a long finish and a touch of tartness. Pairs very well with spicy meats and heartier cheese.
New Belgium Brewing was founded by Jim Lebesch and his wife in 1991. The name comes from a bicycle tour that Jim did in Belgium on a bike with fat tires. Thus, the first amber beer he made in his garage was “Fat Tire.” It all went uphill from there!
SIERRA NEVADA TUMBERLER AUTUMN ALE
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, California
The beer is named for the time of the year when the leaves come “tumbling down.” This is a lovely fall–inspired beer with delicious malty flavors and a toasted nuttiness to the finish. Pairs nicely with smoked turkey and fall squash recipes.