Friday, September 30, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Oktoberfest!

           Most people say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but not me.  No, give me a pint of that wonderful concoction developed by Josef Sedlmayr of Franziskaner called Marzen or better known as Oktoberfest beer!  This type of beer is only available during the months of August through October due to the way it is brewed and fermented.  Because of that reason, I buy several different six packs of my favorite breweries Oktoberfest beer and ration them throughout the year.  A little extreme, maybe, but it’s well worth it!

Marzen is a lager which means that the yeast that helps it to ferment does so from the bottom of the vessel and at much colder temperatures than your ale style beers.  According to beer history, the beer was stored in caves until time for it to be drank later in the year.  The caves around Munich held the perfect cooler temperatures that gave the beer its crispness.  The beer itself is characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavor, and a clean dry finish.  The bright copper color comes from the use of toasted Vienna and Munich varieties of malted barley. Vienna and Munich varieties give the beer it’s amber color to the wort, and add a toasty flavor and aroma, soft malt sweetness, palpable mouthfeel and slight spiciness.  The hop rates are just enough to give it a slight bitterness and really accentuates the noble German aroma and flavor.  ABV is usually around 5.5 to 6%. 

The original Oktoberfest celebrated the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. 

All of the residents of Munich were invited to the countryside to join the gala. The festivities last for five days, and ended with a horse race.  The beer served at Oktoberfest was mainly dunkel beer which was the most popular in the area.  However, in 1872 Mr. Sedlmayr made the first batch of Marzen in March of 1872 and it just so happened that the beer supply ran low during that year’s Oktoberfest, so he made it available to the thirsty festers.  From that time on, Marzen was adopted as the official beer of the festival and many Munich breweries started brewing their own. 
          Today, the festival lasts about three weeks and usually ends on the first Sunday in October.  2016 marks the 183rd anniversy of the first Oktoberfest, missing only 24 years when it was canceled due to wars or epidemics.  In recent years, many of the breweries in Germany have started serving lower alcohol Fiestbiers, a lighter beer that they can probably sell more of (in my opinion).  

If you do go to Munich for Oktoberfest, here are some things you should know:

You are allowed to stand on the benches and sing all you want, but dancing on the tables is not allowed!

There are 14 big beer tents or Wooden halls and you can reserve tables through, but they usually sell out months in advance. 

Fackl (n.): A young pig, used to describe a jerk

Fetznrausch (n.): Totally drunk

Bierleichen (n.): Beer Corpse – beyond Fetznrausch

Fingahackln (n.): a Bavarian sport where two people hook their middle fingers and try to pull the opponent over the table.  Very popular at Oktoberfest.

Gamsbart (n.): Traditional Bavarian hat adornment

Gneedl (n.): Dumpling

If you’re not heading to Germany anytime soon, try these local Oktoberfest’s:

De Kalb Texas Oktoberfest - De Kalb, TX - Oct 1 to Oct 1, 2016
Held annually on the first Saturday in October. Kickoff the event with the Firemen’s pancake breakfast. There’s a parade, talent show, beauty pageant, street dance, classic car exhibit, gymnastics demonstration, carnival, Kids Korner, Lollie Moser Memorial Art Show, Quilts Expo and face painting.

Avalon Faire – Kilgore, TX – Oct 1 to Oct 2, 2016
1st Annual Oktoberfest. German and domestic beer, German food, games, contests, entertainment plus a whole lot more! Festivies begin at Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, and resume Sunday at 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Oktoberfest in Downtown Kilgore – October 15, 2016 – World’s Richest Acre

Finally, I have not been to Oktoberfest in Germany yet, but it’s on my bucket list for sure.  Until then, I’ll keep stocking up the Marzen for year round enjoyment.  Prost! 

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