Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More fests, g'suffa

Oktoberfest has ended in Munich; the 16-day bash in Bavaria wrapped up last Sunday.

Not so on our side of the Atlantic.

Fest beer will be with us for a little longer, and so will the conviviality that’s a hallmark of the celebration. With that in mind, here’s what’s coming up ...

RH has been hitting some high marks with new beer styles it added to its lineup just this year (think Belgian white and a cherry-finessed imperial amber). So by way of advice, RH’s event could be your last chance to grab some Dunkel Fester, a draft-only autumn seasonal that proved to be a huge hit soon after its release a few weeks back. (Co-owner Chris Walsh told us at the Sept. 20th Woodbridge festival that Fester was almost gone, but the brewery was holding some back for this weekend.)

In the Valley
Last year, the legions of Oktoberfest fans put away six barrels of Long Valley brewmaster Joe Saia’s copper-hued fest beer. That’s 186 gallons served up at last year’s annual pig roast in the side parking lot of the pub, housed in a scenic, two-century-old, stonewalled barn located in the Morris County community founded by Saxon immigrants in the 1700s.

Now in its 12th year, the event draws anywhere from 800 to 1,500 people, but there’s plenty of room to accommodate 2,000. If you go, expect a German menu served along with the pork, four other beers to choose from, including a cask-conditioned pale ale, and of course live music. (Parent alert: There’s also activities for kids.)

Joe’s Oktoberfest is actually fermented with an ale yeast, but done at a lower temperature to produce a beer that’s closer to the crispness of lager, with the signatures of the German malts and balanced bitterness of Tettnang and Saaz hops coming through. (FYI: Joe’s got five beers, including his Lazy Jake Porter, in competition at the Great American Beer Festival, which starts tomorrow in Denver. Lazy Jake took home a gold medal three years ago.)

Märzen by the sea
In Atlantic City, Tun Tavern brewer Tim Kelly describes his 2008 Oktoberfest beer, Tunfest Lager, as a slightly smoky brew, with a hearty 6.3% ABV. So what do you pair with a full-bodied beer like that? Try a buffet, a band and a live, remote broadcast by WAYV radio station.

Here’s the Tun’s Oktoberfest menu:
  • Cucumber salad with sour cream
  • German potato salad
  • Sliced weisswurst over red cabbage
  • Chicken with potato dumplings
  • Meatballs in a mushroom cream sauce with spätzel
  • Beer-basted bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard
  • Apple strüdel/cobbler with whipped cream

Check with the Tun for pricing and if reservations are required.

And toast the season.

Bis später.

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