As we discussed at last week’s beer class, German purity laws forbid the production of beer during the summer so brewers had to brew beers in March (Marz) that would last until the fall. Hence Marzen beers with high alcohol. Naturally I was excited to stop by Epic Brewing Company and see that they had Fest Devious Marzen on the menu. For me, it was the perfect match for a beautiful cool fall day – somewhere between hot-weather light beers and winter darks. Fest Devious was lightly carbonated with a delicious-looking light caramel color that reminded me of fall leaves. The taste was great as well; medium-bodied and malty with bready and crackery flavors. The malt was balanced on the front end with a light bitterness of German hops. Overall I was really impressed by this Marzen as well as several other of the seasonals I tried including the saison, Double Skull Doppelbock, and the Imperial Pumpkin Porter. The only caveat: These are seasonals so they won’t be around forever!
A friend of mine is studying to be a cicerone and giving beer appreciation classes to help prepare. The next one – Beers of Belgium – is Saturday October 29 at Smiley Library in the Tennyson neighborhood from 1:00-3:00. It’s open to the public and totally free. Afterward the class will adjourn to De Steeg Brewing to apply lessons learned. Last week was German beers and was very informative, followed by great company and discussions. Stop on by!
When my friends suggested meeting at Alpine Dog Brewery I was a bit skeptical, as past visits have been extremely average. However I went along with the plan and it seems like Alpine Dog has upped their game. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself sipping several tasty beers, including their Belgian farmhouse ale Ski Naked. It had all the trademarks of my favorite Belgian farmhouses – beautiful slightly-cloudy golden color with a bready, earthy, dry, and mildly straw-like flavor. Basically when I think “farmhouse” this is pretty much what I have in mind. One thing I found particularly interesting is that it tastes like a truly high-alcohol golden but only clocks in at 6.7%. Maybe not sessionable, but you can definitely get seconds!
Sometimes fate takes a strange twist, including at GABF. While talking to the brewers at Seedstock Brewery about their Bohemian Dunkel they mentioned that it was patterned after the 500-year-old U Fleku brewery in Prague. As fate would have it I had just returned from a Czech vacation and visited U Fleku not a week earlier. Even cooler, Seedstock’s Bohemian Dunkel was a dead ringer for U Fleku’s. The taste is malty with little hops and what seems to be a medium malt roast, and the color is typical for dunkel – medium brown with a hint of red but you can still see through it. The only I area I found surprising (with both beers) is the lighter body – almost like a blond. However the whole package is quite appealing and also fairly sessionable. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Czech beer to make it feel like fall, head out to Seedstock!
Well, the first night of GABF is in the books and it looks like some interesting trends are underway. After a long run of popularity pumpkin beers look to be on their way out, along with the oddly-flavored beers (peanut butters, girl scout cookies and the like). In their place, Oktoberfests and to a lesser extent browns. I also noticed fewer IPAs, however I did not make it to the Pacific Northwest where I’d expect they are still going strong. The Meet The Brewer section returned this year and far, far in the back there’s an endcap with many of last year’s medal winners. There are so many beers and so little time, so I’ll recommend the breweries below as worth seeking out because they have a solid lineup across the board.
- Denver’s own River North (Meet The Brewer – Y10)
- Lickinghole from Virginia (Mid-Atlantic – A33)
- Sierra Blanca from New Mexico (Southwest – E26)
- Rahr from Texas (Endcap across from E18/E19)
- Holy City from South Carolina (Southeast – M28)
- Taxman from Indiana (Great Lakes – U19)
Tis the season for GABF and even if you weren’t able to score a ticket to directly celebrate the holiday, it’s a great week to get out and visit your favorite craft brewery, taphouse, or brew shop since many places are having GABF-related events and promotions. Just a small sample:
For even more events check out the Great American Beer Fest calendar