Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ramstein in France

If you know anything about High Point Brewing, it's that a thread of Old World Europe runs through the Butler brewery's signature beers.

Owner Greg Zaccardi trained to be a pro brewer in southern Germany, and his Ramstein brand is all about wheat beers and lagers made in that Old World tradition, a taste of Europe made in America.

This weekend, High Point will come practically full circle with its Classic and Blonde wheat beers being served to Europeans in Strasbourg, France, at the three-day Mondial de la Biere, the widely known world beer festival that's held annually in Montreal, and now has a continental reach.

At the Oct 16-18 event, Greg will give a presentation, The History and Evolution of American Microbreweries, and participate in a panel discussion on the what the future holds for brewers. (The junket is an invitation-only affair, and Greg's trip was coordinated through the Ale Street News.)

American brewers, Greg says, dedicate themselves to making beers that weren't available to US consumers a quarter century ago. And though if you play your cards right, you can make a living as a brewer, but it's passion for the product and putting it in the hands of a receptive public that drives the US craft brewer.

"People can taste the difference and are willing to spend for the difference," he says.

With regard to the to roundtable topic, Greg says the brewing industry has become quite automated, with computer-controlled processes from mash tun to fermenter to packaging. "In a large-scale production brewery, the role of brewer will be played by the IT guy."

And while we're on the topic of High Point, it's worth noting that the brewery's 2009 Oktoberfest beer was rated tops on Beeradvocate. That's the good news; the bad news is the beer is nearly all gone. You might find it at some of High Point's draft accounts, but folks armed with growlers hoping to get them filled with the märzen at the brewery will be disappointed.

And speaking of Oktoberfest, PubScout Kurt Epps has a wrap-up and photos from Pizzeria Uno's celebration held on Monday. And on Sunday, Long Valley weighs in with its annual Oktoberfest.

But hang on, there's one more event: Iron Hill's got the gourd. At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 15), they'll be tapping a pumpkin filled with this year's rendition of pumpkin ale to hail the release of that beer.

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