Welcome back Rutgers students! When we last parted ways I had prompted you to do a few things over the summer. One of them was to mentally prepare yourselves for the phenomenon that is fall beer! Oktoberfest beers are starting to hit the shelves and will only be on the shelves until about Thanksgiving (or whenever they sell out). Most Oktoberfest beers are lagers stylized like the original Oktoberfest beers from Munich, Germany. They are also known as Marzen (Mairt-Zen) Lagers because they are brewed in March and are so rich and heavy that they need until fall to ferment properly. Some brewers will go all out for these beers and add minerals to their water to make it as if it was coming straight from a tap in Munich! These lagers are generally stronger than your average Buds and Stellas, ranging from 5.5 percent up to 9 percent alcohol! So enjoy responsibly.
These beers will generally have more of that sweet malt character to them (to somewhat mask the strength thus making them easier to drink in mass amounts). But its ok! No judgement here, for Oktoberfest is a time to eat drink and be merry! Some good O-fests to start with are Sam Adams, Slyfox, Paulaner, and my personal favorite, Hacker Pschorr.
Not everyone follows the traditional guidelines of brewing a solid Oktoberfest. There are other breweries out there who pride themselves on how different and crazy their Fall beer is. These “Autumn Ales” are generally brewed to give you that hearty O-fest taste, but also different flavor profiles that remind you of the Fall! Look for breweries like Weyerbacher, Grittys, and Otter Creek to make these special Autumn Ales.
Not to short Oktoberfest beers, but there is another reason why we enjoy the fall so much as beer nerds. I’m talking about falls greatest offering… PUMPKIN BEER! Now, I know this sounds disgusting to some of you. But just imagine drinking (and getting drunk off of) pumpkin pie! This is what dreams are made of folks.
Most brewers will replace the hops in the beer with pumpkin, others will just add pumpkin to the batch, others go the distance and add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and other great spices to make a pumpkin ale not soon to be forgotten (but soon to be unattainable). These beers go great with dessert, or as dessert; don’t be afraid to rim the glass with a little whipped cream for the full liquid pumpkin pie experience!
The pumpkin beer surge will continue well into the thanksgiving season, leaving you with plenty of time to enjoy these fine offerings. But don’t feel this is a pass to prolong obtaining these beers, the twist in this perfect tale is that most pumpkin beers have long since been consumed before Thanksgiving. So stock up early, because not being involved in the greatness would be a travesty! Look for great pumpkin beers on the shelves from Shipyard, Wolavers, Southern Tier, and new to their fall line… Samuel Adams!
You’ve been given the facts, now its up to you to get out there and go make a great fall beer experience for yourself! Give the ole standby beers the week off and go try some of these excellent and obscure ales and lagers. Before theyre all GONE! Cheers Rutgers!