Sort of continuing the theme of that previous post — but focusing more on the beer than the breasts — I sure love it when Oktoberfest rolls around. (I bet the word "breasts" gets me lots of Google hits.) We've sort of reached an era where seasonal brewing is fairly dead — any kind of beer is available any time of the year, with a few exceptions. Nonetheless, I stick to a fairly regimented seasonal drinking calendar just out of preference, and for good reason — certain styles of beer just taste better at the right time of year. Heavy stouts and "winter warmers" are just kind of blechy in the hot summer — especially here in the blast furnace that is a Texas August. I want something clean and crisp. But when it gets cold (or what passes for such down here), I need something that's going to sit in my belly like a lead weight and radiate a glowing alcoholic heat from within.
And when the leaves start to die, I start thinking of German beers. Copper-colored, malty things with names that can't be pronounced without hacking up some phlegm. Toward the end of summer, I start contemplating what lies ahead; after the first cool front comes through, my mouth starts watering in anticipation of them. Here's some of what I've been enjoying lately:
Tonight at work, I've downed a Julius Echter Hefe-Weiss-Dunkel, a bit smooth for my Oktoberfest tastes, but still a well done beer. Didn't hit the bullseye, but got the next ring out. Followed that with dead aim: Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest, an amber märzen with everything that the Echter had, but with a nice load of malt dumped on top. Mmmm. It's like drinking a fall sunset.
My other discovery has been Shiner Dunkelweizen. I'm so glad I learned the difference between dark and light wheats. I've been staying away from dunkelweizens because I knew I didn't like light wheat beers, but I've learned they are very different animals, with the darks tasting much more like marzens and bocks. As with the other Shiner spinoff beers, this is better than either of their flagship beers, Bock and Blonde. I've been pining in previous posts over the fact that last year's Shiner 96 marzen was a limited edition release, but actually, the Dunkelweizen tastes very similar, so I'm not as sad now. I'll be drinking a lot more of this through the fall.
Coming soon: Wurstfest in New Braunfels, always a don't-miss on our calendar! Beer and sausage for the adults, rides for the kids, and polka for all. I look forward to this more than Christmas.