PorchDrinking’s own discuss beer.
Six years ago, Brandon Banbury founded Hailstorm Brewing alongside Chris Schiller in Tinley Park on the outskirts of Chicago. During that time, Banbury, who also served as head brewer, helped establish the brewery as a veritable force within the greater Chicago beer scene, gaining acclaim for his work with Hazy IPAs, Barrel-Aged Pastry Stouts, and even traditional-style Lagers.
Oktoberfest started as a wedding celebration in Bavaria in 1810. Two centuries later in 2009, Great Lakes Brewing Company brewmaster Mark Hunger tied the knot and poured his brewery’s Oktoberfest lager at his own autumn wedding reception.
“Picking the beer for the wedding was a no-brainer. From what I can remember, it was a hit,” he says with a laugh. “We went through a keg.”
Even though this summer hasn’t been like any other before due to the pandemic, it is still sad to see this season go. However, as the days change from sunshine to the darkening of leaves, there are some things to get excited about! No, we are not talking about pumpkin spice lattes (even though they are a popular guilty pleasure)–we’re talking about Märzen beers. The dark brown color and rich, malty flavor brings about a notion of nostalgia that no other style of beer can induce. There is just something special about sitting outside on a chilly day next to a campfire with a Märzen in hand. This may sound crazy, but fellow Midwesterners prefer that coziness of fall to a lazy day on the beach–it speaks to the Midwestern soul.
Luckily, breweries across the Midwest have begun releasing a slew of their own incredible takes on this German classic. Some of these beers are widely distributed and some of them are more locally found. If you see any of these magnificent elixirs at your local bottle shop, pick them up before they are gone. So get your folding chair, grab a brat, get the campfire going and enjoy a delicious Märzen.
The tradition of Hofbräu Munchen began on September 27, 1580, when Duke Wilhelm V founded the brewhouse in Munich. A little less three hundred years later on October 12, 1810, at the wedding of the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the “first” Oktoberfest was celebrated. Two years later the Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier was brewed.
In 2003, the Hofbräu concept crossed the Atlantic Ocean opening a mini-brewery and restaurant in the style of the original Hofbräuhaus in Newport, KY, bringing the German beer to America.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is on a mission to fight climate change, one beer at a time. On September 19, Dogfish Head and Indigo Agriculture, a company intent on “harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet,” released an Earth-friendly Re-Gen-Ale to its local beer fans. As explained by Dogfish Head, the beer serves as the first traceably-sourced beer to address climate change through agriculture using Indigo Carbon, a program that provides growers with a financial incentive to store carbon in their soils.” The beer release arrives in time for Climate Week (Sept 21 – 27).
It’s Oktoberfest time! For beer lovers in and around Cincinnati, Ohio, this season is pretty much made for them — the Queen City throws the second largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Munich, and the world’s largest chicken dance.
Sadly, COVID-19 will put a major damper on how Oktoberfest social events are handled this year. However, one of the great things about the season is the glut of Oktoberfest, Märzenbier and Festbier releases. (Check out this primer on what exactly it is we’re drinking when we have an Oktoberfest beer.) While it’s great enjoying these styles at a Cincinnati Oktoberfest celebration with an oompah band playing in the background, they’re also plenty enjoyable to relax with on a patio or porch as the summer heat wanes into crisp autumn evenings.
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.
We made it through another week, ya’ll! As we edge closer to fall and all it’s glory — spiced everything, pumpkins, dark beers, cooler weather, etc. — we should take time to reflect on the days that have passed already. It was only about six months ago that our country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses closing and people being laid off. Now, many businesses are opening for outdoor seating, craft beer is seeing an uptick in brews being delivered to your door (which I hope never goes away!) and we’re seeing lower positive test rates. Our writers are busy covering virtual events and releases, and need some tasty inspiration — here is What We’re Drinking.
“Bring back Pinner.” It’s a sentiment shared by Oskar Blues Brewery’s biggest fans and casual beer drinkers alike. The pro-Pinner cries have spammed many an Oskar Blues’ Facebook and Instagram comment sections since it was discontinued back in summer of 2019. Pinner’s loyal following come from the beer’s ability to deliver vibrant pineapple and berry flavors with a bit of resinous hop bite in an easy-to-approach session IPA. Now, Oskar Blues’ fan-favorite session IPA, first introduced in 2014, is back by popular demand and public support, as part of the new Pack-O-Bliss Mixed Pack. Here’s a look at what Pinner fans can expect from the comeback of the classic, along with what’s new from Oskar Blues that could become cult favorites down the road.
For the past 22 years, on the Monday before the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), one of the country’s most iconic beer bars has helped usher in the event with a celebratory kick-off tapping at 5 p.m.
However this year, on September 21, when Falling Rock Tap House’s GABF countdown timer would normally have ticked down to all zeros, there will be little pomp and circumstance as the festival transitions to a virtual format in response to the pandemic.
The concept of an Oktoberfest style beer conjures up whimsical stories similar to those about the creation of IPA and Saison. Cute stories, but not quite accurate.
After hours of imbibing in the finest German beers and breads of Oktoberfest, a refreshing, fruity treat is ideal way to slow down into the evening.
Rote Grütze, also known as “Red Groats” is a traditional dessert from Northern Germany that is incredibly easy, customizable, and flexible.
The Flanders Red actually provides a lot of the acidity required to cut through all the tannins from the berries. Rodenbach Alexander goes the extra mile with the character from the oak foeders combined with sour cherries.
In a year when longstanding traditions have been upended by the unconventional, a Denver brewery is aiming to preserve one of beer’s most time-honored rituals. Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver, CO, which has been celebrated since its inception for its unwavering dedication to brewing traditional Lagers, is set to release their vaunted Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. This weekend’s release will coincide with the date that the 210-year-old Oktoberfest festival in Munich was originally scheduled to kick-off before being canceled as a result of the pandemic.
As the sunset arrives earlier each day during September, it becomes abundantly clear that autumn is setting in. And, with that seasonal transition comes one the most recognizable fall beer festivals around — Oktoberfest.
While Munich serves as the home …
As someone who was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Oktoberfest is not just a type of beer or a festival in Germany; it’s a state of mind. With the cancellation of many Oktoberfest events, people have to be creative in their celebration. Personally, give me a day where I can justifiably drink beer and eat sausage all day and I’ll be a happy camper.
With a rich history going back 600 years, Hacker Pschorr is truly one of the OGs of German beer. These guys were doing Reinheitsgebot almost 100 years before there WAS a Reinheitsgebot. This Munich-based brewery produces several dozen different beers, only a handful of which—including Münchner Gold—are distributed in the US.
Maine, the northernmost state of the contiguous United States, is known for its bearded lobstermen and lumberjacks, the freshest seafood, wild blueberries and high-quality craft beer–it’s no wonder the state’s nickname is Vacationland. In summer 2020, living in Maine is something to cherish. Although the pandemic canceled most travel plans, living in this secluded state allows for fun and fulfilling “staycations” to shake off those quarantine blues.
The global pandemic has put a damper on our oom-pah-pahs and Zicke, zacke, hoi, hois. Indeed, Oktoberfest 2020 — whether it be in Munich or anywhere else — is not quite the same. Nevertheless, the six official Oktoberfest breweries in Munich have not ceased in creating their beers. The youngest of the six, Paulaner, offers not one, but two versions: the historic Märzen that’s available year-round and the Oktoberfest Lager served in Munich during the festivities. For extra fun, search for the special one-liter can and glass mug set.
Louisville has been at the forefront of the Black Live Matter movement for months due to the death of Breonna Taylor on March 13. So, When the opportunity to participate in the Weathered Souls Brewing Black is Beautiful beer collaboration came up, Louisville breweries didn’t think twice about participating. It was the perfect way to combine two things very important to them: brewing great beer and supporting their community.
New breweries often seem to take a few months to dial in their recipes and make great beers. Not so for 6 and 40 Brewery in Lakewood, Colorado. At their September 11 grand opening, the brewery fired on all cylinders with a wide-ranging tap list designed to satisfy every palate. 6 and 40 is connected to long-standing homebrew store Tom’s Brew Shop.
Owner Tom Schurmann explained that he created 6 and 40’s beer selection for broad appeal. “We want something for everyone,” he explained. “We have 20 selections. We’re gonna have what you like.”