Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Thinking Ahead - Harvest Time at Paradocx

It's Harvest Time

We often ask the question: "What is your favorite time of year?" My kids give me different answers. My oldest loves Thanksgiving time. The twins love summer and Fourth of July. For me it's Autumn or as we like to call it here at the vineyard, "Harvest" time. 

I am a sucker for obvious reasons. The smells, the leaves, the cool air, the action at the vineyard, and Oktoberfest.

Why am I writing about this early September?   We have to plan ahead. The winemaker, getting ready for the harvest, the event planner, planning some of our biggest events of the year, and me, the cicerone, (fancy word for beer guy), needs to tap the fall harvest beers on time. 

Don't just blame us, look at the stores, you will probably see Halloween costumes already. I think I will be The Doctor, though I hear The Doctor will be a woman, oh well, we'll work it out somehow.

So what does that mean "Fall Harvest" beers? It can mean many things, specialty beers found mainly during the Autumn season. This could be a marzen style, which is sometimes referred to as Oktoberfest beer. It could be a pumpkin beer. It could also be just an excuse for a new seasonal offering. 

I start to see more Bocks and Dunkles this time of year too. Expect less bitterness and a bit more malt. Expect light caramel and biscuit like flavors. You may find wet hopped beers; this is a beer with more hop flavor but less bitterness. You may see beers laced with maple and spices, some with pecans, others with yams. Sounds like Thanksgiving huh? Can I get some stuffing with my beer?

If you are going to switch from burgers to German sausage or from macaroni salad to sauerkraut, then you might as well switch from lighter summer offerings to sweeter ales and toastier lagers.

I'm putting my feelers out and seeking a Pumpkin Ale and, or an Oktoberfest style beer to represent the harvest season here at the Vineyard and The Market at Liberty Place. So stay tuned.

But what is an Oktoberfest beer and how did it originate? First, let me tell you where I have yet to visit and where the term Oktoberfest originated.

On October 12th, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildurghausen. This was kind of a big deal because the entire town of Munich attended the festivities. It concluded with a feast and horse racing. Only 100 people attended my wedding and no horses..... The fields have been named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields") in honor of the Crown Princess ever since.

 Leave it to us lazy people to abbreviate it to "Wies'n". The following year they added an Agricultural fair and continued the horse racing. This was the birth of what we know as Oktoberfest. Now over 6 million sausage hungry and beer thirsty visitors flock to Munich for a 16 day fest. Food, singers, dancers, and all the rides a kiddie needs.

Ok Already, What is an Oktoberfest Beer?

The origin of Marzen style beers dates pre-16th century. Germany has always been very strict with brewing practices and beer ingredients. One such rule is that beer may only be brewed between the months of September and April. The Marzen is brewed in March hence the name Marz meaning March.

The beer was meant to last during the warmer months and the remainder drunk during Oktoberfest. Marzen was orginally a dark, full bodied, bitter beer, but now ranges from pale (Helles Märzen) to dark brown Dunkles Märzen. Expect medium to full bodied with a malty profile, and a clean dry finish.

One Final Thought

 Did you know lost & found collects around 5,000 items each year during Oktoberfest?

“Honey, I Lost my kid” This apparently occurs often because they have a lost and found children's station.

At the winery we occasionally find the missing phone or coat, but at the Oktoberfest in Munich, crazy visitors lose the strangest things, such as wheelchairs, baby carriages, crutches, dentals, at least one a year, a segway, a Weiner dog, a wedding ring, a garden gnome, a fishing rod,  a court order, a pet grasshopper, and a signed playboy magazine, and I hear they are still holding onto a guitar, a drum, and $50,000 in cash. Did I just say a court order? Probably the same thief that stole the garden gnome and my dog. Finders keepers I guess.

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