The flood gates are open and O-fest and Pumpkin brews are pouring in. Clearly I was not quite ready for this a few weeks ago, but after a week off to enjoy the heat and sun of the last week of August I return eager to embrace my favorite beer season. Really all weather produces a fine environment for beer drinking and I will surely explain why every season. With the sun still high in the sky, but cool nights following I find this time of year a most excellent climate for drinking delicious lagers. It is around now that I start thinking about my wood pile and working outside to build thirst. Oktoberfest lagers are coming in from almost every German and American brewery and there is almost not enough time to try them all before the winter beers replace them on the shelves. I have not totally warmed up to the Pumpkin beer thing but many of them are well made and interesting to try. I know many people who wait all year for these special brews and find the flavor irresistible. I do appreciate the additional character that is added to the beer without the typical dramatic increase in sweetness we find in most fruit beers. I oppose the spicy ones that have been built upon a beer of little substance and attempt to add excellence to an otherwise plain ale with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and clove – it’s not a pie. The best offerings exemplify a pumpkin flavor fused into a real beer that would likely be tasty on its own. The best choice, if you ask me, is Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout. Weyerbacher and Southern Tier have some pretty serious Pumpkin brews as well. I digress… Oktoberfest is where my excitement is. I mentioned some great choices in my last post and there are many more worth a look. Few American companies actually make an ale and try to past it off as Oktoberfest, but this is a farce. I enjoy the smooth, rich flavored yet still thirst quenching aspect of a well made O-fest lager. On a cool evening they just hit the spot.
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