Monday, August 11, 2008

Winter on their minds

Say you have some left over beer and you don’t even want to think about it going to waste … what do you do?

You invite some friends over to help you make good cheer of it, right?

That’s what High Point Brewing (Butler) did with a leftover keg of their 2007 Ramstein Winter Wheat, a doppelbock that has a quite a fan base and has earned a measure of critical acclaim.

The open house on Saturday drew a crowd of about 100 or so beerheads armed with their growlers to the brewery, where they snapped up the doppelbock faster than you can say ice bock (or more aptly, eisbock), which is what it became after the brewery staff froze it, drew off the ice, and split it into sixtels, adding another dimension to a beer that's great to start with.

Clocking in around 12% ABV (the strongest offering from the brewery's lineup), the winter wheat/eisbock was definitely rich, deep, dark and inviting – even in the dog days of August, when you'd wonder if it was going to seem like the beer equivalent of a parka in summer.

But it was a really tasty offseason headliner, a pleasant surprise to the loyal Ramsteiners, accompanied, of course, by Ramstein's Classic Blonde and a pilsner and golden lager (which was our take-home beer; the bock ran out before we could think about getting a growler filled. Alas.)

If you missed the winter wheat, be patient. It’s the brewery’s November-release seasonal. It’ll be back around (and maybe the eis, too).

Meanwhile, we got an early taste of the 2008 Ramstein Oktoberfest ...

It’s still a little young and yeasty, with some hop presence that will fade and take its proper place behind the malt flavors by the time it’s ready for September release.

Speaking of debuts, circle Sept. 13 on your calendar. That’s when the brewery kicks off Oktoberfest with an oak barrel tapping.

Bring your growlers that day, too.

High Point will be pouring at the Stoudt’s Microfest Aug. 23 in Adamstown, Pa.

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