The Seasons Change, The Beer Remains Delicious

oktoberfest 2012Is it fall now? Society as a whole basically says Labor Day denotes when summer ends, if not when fall starts. Particularly in the Northeast where schools mostly start right after Labor Day. Back to school, last summer holiday, now it’s fall? Fall is the best season but I steadfastly remain a ‘September is still summer’ member. I went apple picking in mid-September a few years ago and it was 90 degrees and we all melted and my kid had a fever the whole time that we didn’t realize until we got somewhere cooler. No wonder she was dragging her feet.

We know the beer seasons are all screwed up, tied to distribution and seasonal tap space. I read a story a few years ago that basically explained seasonal creep as the bigger guys like Sam Adams making sure Octoberfest was available when Summer Ale ran out so they didn’t lose the tap handle in bars. So we literally drank the summer away..but fall doesn’t really start until the equinox, which is September 23rd at 7:50 UTC. That’s Monday. If you want to say fall starts at noon Munich time, on Saturday the 21st, I’ll allow it. 

Oktoberfest. I have very fond memories of my time there in 2012, and I’ve been a lover of the style for even longer. I mentioned that bought a case of Sierra Nevada’s for an early August birthday party, and you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s long gone. The remains of summer? I spent a lot of September finishing those off. Now, fall for real. 

The Märzen style, which can vary from gold to light copper in color and flavor, is a delicious one. Deliciously malty. Not a hophead? Try Märzenbier! Biscuity and caramely notes are usually prevalent. This is one of those styles that really nails the ‘liquid bread’ moniker. I’ve had just about every different one I can get my hands on. I make a point around this time of year, last Monday this year, to go into a shop that sells singles and buy every Oktoberfest I’ve never had. It gets harder and harder, but there are always a few. Then I load up on old favorites. 

Something I’ve noticed this year is that two of my favorites, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Brooklyn Oktoberfest, came across a little sweeter than I remember. My palate perhaps is changing more than I’d realized, though I have to admit by the time I got to the second, and third, Brooklyn bottle out of the 6-pack I’d bought, It was just as good as I remembered. I’m not sure there’s any beer more appropriate to drink in volume as an Oktoberfest. 

 

To summarize: 

-It’s not really fall until AT LEAST the opening of Oktoberfest in Munich.

-Don’t be afraid to finish off those summer beers.

-Oktoberfests are delicious and you should consume them en masse, or en Maß, the traditional measurement of for the amount of beer in an Oktoberfest mug. 

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Drinkers Who Geek

One of your friendly Barley Prose bloggers has joined the ranks of Geeks Who Drink quizmasters! I finished my last training quiz last night at WhichCraft Brews in Webster, NY, and I’m hoping to get a regular weekly gig soon.

One of our roles is to write up our quizzes, and you can read last night’s rundown here.

a beer, mixing board and microphone, stack of free beer tokens, and a laptop on a table
A beer, mixing board and microphone, stack of free beer tokens, and a laptop on a table, awaiting the start of my first quiz hosting night.

WhichCraft not only produces their own beers, but has a really fantastic rotating list of local and national favorites both on tap and in cans and bottles. They also have an indoor food truck, which is exceptional. Massive points to Other Half, whose Double Dry Hopped Oh… was tapped yesterday and made for a fantastic quizmaster’s quaff last night.

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Dialing it Back: A Seasonal Tale

I drank a lot of delicious beers this summer.

In that sense, yes, it was a great summer.  You’d think that for all of the delicious IPA’s, stouts, porters, pale ales, lagers, and ales I knocked back, there’d be a greater wealth of posts from this past summer.

I made quite a list in my brain of all of the fantastic posts I had hoped to write:

  • A rumination on the various delicious Saranac beers, served at my hometown minor league park and all celebrated as being “the Official Beer of the Syracuse Mets.”  See this Legacy IPA, at left, as an example
  • A road trip post on the Iron City Light lager, enjoyed on a road trip to Pittsburgh with co-blogger Mr. D’Orso (even tentatively titled “Two Pickets to Titsburgh”).  This post would have maybe highlighted my immediate response, when asked how the beer was, and I enthusiastically commented on how cold it was and how it was paid for
  • A renewal of my “pairs at the Fair” that I wrote in 2018
  • A post race/beer recap from this summer’s Boilermaker 15k, annually the biggest local running race I participate in (17,000 runners) and that includes a fantastic beer and live music fiesta at the culmination, and the complication of wearing a giant birthday-cake shaped hat as I do for this event every year (true story), and how a reporter called me a liar when I pretended that I found said hat in a portajohn (also a true story)
  • More reviews from tasty choices at my two favorite local haunts, Full Boar in North Syracuse, and Buried Acorn in Syracuse

Mostly, what would happen though, is I’d snap a photo, turn a clever phrase or two in my brain, and then fog over into a hazy (often a New England haze) beer induced feeling of complacency and buzz).

Summer, really, is maybe the season best accompanied by beer.  Hot days at the ball park, on patios, with friends, are the perfect time to light into a tall cold one.  It just didn’t translate to a lot of posts or writing.

Fall, on the other hand, well, the fall lagers, the pumpkin beers, the Oktoberfests and so on, well, there are lots of tasty choices on the horizon for autumn.

But not for me, not yet.

I will see you, Oktoberfest beer. But not yet.

September seems like the perfect time for me to take a little hiatus, ease up off the gas pedal.  I don’t really need to knock back so many beers (and hard seltzers and vodka crans and etc etc etc), and there’s less temptation in the fall.  The kids are at school, we are more busy chauffeuring and running around, the baseball season has ended, and a lot of social opportunities to have beers with my buddies (rec league kickball games, weekday lunches on the sneak, etc) have kind of dried up.

And that’s actually OK.

Those fall beers will still all be on the shelf in a few weeks time.  And the summer beers in my fridge will still be plenty drinkable.

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