Tuesday, October 9, 2012
An Oktoberfestivus for the Rest of Us!
Beer: Creemore Springs Anniversary Altbier
Brewery: Creemore Springs
This brew was created in order to celebrate Creemore's 25th anniversary, and was a collaboration effort with Dusseldorf Altbier brewery Zum Schlussel. Creemore's brewers traveled to Dusseldorf to learn the style in person, and were able to make an arrangement with Schlussel to use some of their specialty house brewing yeast. Over the summer, Creemore put this brew together and made it available on limited release. I picked this can up at the brewery, but it is also available at the LCBO until they sell out. In case you were wondering, Schlussel is German for key, so the key on the label is a nod to their brewing friends in Dusseldorf!
Beer: Great Lakes Oktoberfest
Brewery: Great Lakes (Cleveland OH)
This was a recent pickup across the border, and because of the potential for confusion between this brewery and its counterpart in Toronto, it is unlikely that it will make it our way anytime soon, which is a real shame. Fortunately, if you are stateside, Great Lakes is fairly easy to find (I found several packs of this in a Buffalo Walmart) so you won't have to look too hard for it! Inexpensive as well.
This is one of the better American Oktoberfest brews out there, with a nice malty backbone and a clean herbal-citrus hop finish. Like many of the style, it is quite sweet and bready.
Beer: Les Trois Mousquetaires Serie Signature Oktoberfest
Brewery: Trois Mousquetaires (Brossard, Quebec)
I was recently in the Ottawa region and couldn't resist a trip across the provincial border to pick up some Quebec microbrew goodies from Broue Ha Ha, since I so rarely get the opportunity to do so. It also helps that I don't have to put up with the hassle of crossing an international border - with the lineups and potential duties - to get some brews that I haven't had before. Well, apparently, you can consider me a hardened criminal, for up until the summer of this year, what I was doing was technically illegal! That's right, until the passing of Bill C-311, transporting alcohol across provincial lines was actually against the law, but without any border crossing checkpoints and inspection areas, it is completely unenforceable - indeed, most people didn't even know about it! Fortunately, clearer heads have prevailed and we now can continue buying spirits across provincial lines without fear of imaginary reprisal.
I always make a special point of picking up Trois Mousquetaires stuff, especially their Serie Signature brews (their Baltic Porter is particularly sublime), so this was a no brainer. I have to say, however, that this brew wasn't a knockout for me - especially given the price of the bottle. However, it is still a decent Oktoberfest brew and the larger bottle is certainly useful for sharing or longer drinking sessions (or, if you happen to have a hefty Oktoberfest stein about).
Beer: Mill Street Oktoberfest Beer
Brewery: Mill Street (Toronto)
This one comes in a seasonal sixpack alongside their clevely-named pumpkin ale, "Nightmare on Mill Street", so you get both of your major Oktober festivals taken care of in one box (for those interested, the Nightmare is also quite tasty, and is on the spicy end of the pumpkin ale spectrum. It's label emblazoned with the distinctive checker pattern of the Bavarian flag, this brew certainly has a classic Oktoberfest flavour: grainy, smooth, slightly fruity.
There are some other brews out there that also fall into the Oktoberfest category that shouldn't be too hard to dig up. Again, the emphasis should be on an aged ale or lager that is malty and with just a touch of fruit (though they are present, hops are rarely the defining attribute to these brews), which can be easily consumed in quantity as befits the season. I know that either Ayinger or Paulaner has an Oktoberfest seasonal out our way - if not, their hearty weizenbocks and doppelbocks would certainly not be out of place - and Sam Adams has a perennial Oktoberfest lager in the mix. Whatever direction your Oktoberfest drinking takes you, I wish you all a happy Oktober filled with good cheer and gemuetlichkeit!
Posted by JohnnyBarman at 5:30 PM