AboutLoren White, Author at PorchDrinking.com
For many German beer fans, late September doesn’t just mark the onset of autumn or the beginning of a new school year. It’s the only time of year for eating too many brats, listening to polka music of questionable quality and drinking delicious beer. It’s Oktoberfest! During any other year, many would be dusting off their lederhosen and making pretzel necklaces, while visions of frothy overflowing beer steins danced in their heads.
Yet, even though COVID-19 is, sadly, torpedoing our hopes of having in-person Oktoberfest events this year, never fear. There’s still plenty of first-rate Oktoberfest beers to be had. Here in the Washington, D.C., Beltway area, those mourning the cancellation of this year’s festivities are finding solace in Port City Brewing’s exceptional take on the classic Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. Despite only being distributed in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and some select areas of New York and North Carolina, this beer has gained international renown. It took home the gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Championships, silver at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival and is currently ranked the 27th best Oktoberfest/Märzen style beer in the world by reviewers on Beer Advocate.
With what seems like a never-ending supply of new exciting beers coming out these days, it’s not uncommon to see a beer that was a whale just six or seven years ago now sitting on the shelf collecting dust. So when you come across a beer that has been able to generate the same high level of enthusiasm from ever-fickle craft beer fans AND sells out immediately year after year, you know you have discovered something truly exceptional. The Bruery’s Black Tuesday Imperial Stout is such a beer.
First released over a decade ago, in 2009, Black Tuesday continues to enjoy a near cult-like following in many craft beer circles. It is currently ranked 17th on Beer Advocate’s list of best American Imperial Stouts and 62nd for all around best beer.
The Brewers Association recently published the results from their third COVID-19 impact survey, aimed at gauging the state of the craft brewing industry. While things are far from rosy, as states begin to loosen restrictions, many craft brewers are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
The previous survey in April found that nearly 60% of breweries surveyed expected to be out of business in three months or less if conditions did not change. Fast forward seven weeks and this most recent survey finds that nearly 82% of breweries in the survey are either very or somewhat confident in their ability to remain open through 2020.
With so many breweries closed or offering limited service, it is a serious challenge to find a steady supply of great beer. Luckily, there are a few notable breweries that are offering shipping to states with a more liberal policy on out-of-state beer shipping (thank you VA, DC and AK!). Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery is one such notable example.
The good people at Jackie O’s are not just selling their more commonly found offerings, but have also opened up their cellars and are selling early examples in their sought-after Polycephaly series, including Polycephaly IV.
German Beer Day, April 23, celebrates the enacting of the Bavarian Beer Purity Order, or Reinheitsgebot, which officially restricted beer ingredients to water, hops, and malt (the existence of yeast was not understood in 1516 but was later added). While it is impossible to say where German beer would be today without the Reinheitsgebot, it has helped make German beer synonymous with high quality and consistency across the five centuries since it was signed.
In honor of German Beer Day, we’ve put together a roundup of some of America’s best German-style breweries, who focus primarily on producing and preserving these historic German-styles.
With the obscene number of Hazy IPAs being released each month, often by lesser-known producers, it can be tricky trying to figure out which beers to buy and which ones to avoid. Unless you like selecting your IPAs based solely on the quality of the artwork on the can, or the cleverness of the pun in the beer name, it’s critical to have go to brewers who’s product you know you can trust. Brewers whose beer you know to buy up every time, sight unseen, because they’re certain to be delicious. Veil Brewing Co. in Richmond, Virginia, is that brewery for me.
So when I was out picking up supplies (read: stockpiling beer) for the mandatory COVID-19 hibernation period and came across Veil’s new Hazy IPA release, Broz Day Off3, I bought all the cans they’d sell me…and true to form, they did not disappoint.
Pale Lagers have a complicated history in the US. In the wake of prohibition they were the preferred style of the emerging “macro” brewers. Using cheaper grains and industrializing the brewing process, they were able create low-cost Lager beers that allowed them consolidate their share of the beer market and squeeze out smaller brewers who couldn’t compete. Fast forward to 1978 and a once thriving and diverse US beer market had atrophied to only 44 breweries, most of which were producing the homogeneous, low quality, watered down beers that would come to be known as American Adjunct Lagers.
It’s that time of year again. The Brewers Association’s 13th annual craft beer and food pairing event, Savor, will be making its return to Washington, D.C. on May 5th. Tickets for this don’t miss event go on sale February 18th for Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members, and February 19th for all non-members. Three different ticket tiers will be available for purchase: general admissions ($139), premium ($179) and VIP ($249). Be sure to mark the date down in your calendars to get your tickets!
With the inferior American adjunct Lager varieties produced by the industrial brewers and the explosion of craft brewing, lager-style beers have largely fallen out of fashion in the United States. Yet, while IPAs may be all the rage in the U.S., in Germany, Lagers still reign supreme and no one is producing better examples of these beers there than Private Landbrauerei Schönram.
Around this time every year, as the temperature starts to dip and the days shorten, it’s all too common to hear people complaining about the winter. Alas, these poor misguided souls must not be craft beer fans. You won’t hear any grumblings about it being winter around my house. When winter hits that means it’s Hardywood Gingerbread Stout (aka GBS) season! It’ll make you reminiscent of the holiday season.