As the weather begins to get cooler, and leaves change colour and fall to the ground, so to do our choices in beer change. It’s that perfect moment in time, between hefeweizen and barley wine season to enjoy a nice glass of some seasonal beer offering. Autumn represents the harvest and transformation. The fruits and vegetables are picked and transformed into something great, and the trees begin to change in preparation for winter. The beers that our breweries release are also changing. This is the time of the year when Oktoberfest beers are released from the great and historic brewers of Munich, Marzens from Europe and North America, and Pumpkin ale, an American classic and favorite of craft brewers. The next couple of months are the only opportunity (until next year) to sample these beers, so please make the most of them while they are in season!

Oktoberfest originated in 1810 in Munich, as a way to celebrate the marriage of the prince. It has since become the most famous beer festival in the world. There are strict regulations in Germany and in the European Union ,to which beers are permitted to use the Oktoberfest designation. Those breweries that are permitted to do so are Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, and Augustinerbrau, all of which lie inside the Munich city limits. No other beers in Europe are permitted to use the term Oktoberfest for their beers, although North American brewers have ignored this tradition and termed their autumn seasonals, Oktoberfest (or Octoberfest). True Oktoberfest brews in recent years have been golden coloured, slightly sweet, malty brews. They also tend to be on the mild side, making them easy drinking beers. The North American counterpart also seems to be a fairly mild, easy drinking beer.

Marzen is a German beer style that also has its origins in Munich’s Oktoberfest. This lager was introduced by Spaten in 1841. It is very similar to Oktoberfest beer in that it is malty and mild on the bitter end. Today it is brewed to a golden amber colour, although historically they were much darker, almost brown. North American micro-breweries tend to favour the fuller historic style marzen. Some North American brewers also stray from tradition and brew marzen as an ale, rather than a lager. Whats with Americans always doing whatever they want?

What is a better feeling than biting into a slice of sweet and spicy pumpkin pie, after an ample Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? And really whats better than beer? Put those two warm fuzzies together and you have got pumpkin ale! Pumpkin ale is not a new concept. It was actually invented in the 1700’s, by British colonists in America, as pumpkin is not native to Europe. The method in which these pumpkin ales are brewed is varied but all contain pumpkin in some way, shape or form and most contain warm autumn, “pumpkin pie” spices. Some brewers use raw pumpkin, some roast it, others use puree or just the juice. As the method of production varies tremendously so do the flavours, which range from heavily spiced malty ales to lighter ales with light pumpkin and spice notes. A pumpkin ales is a great way to end a holiday feast or to simply enjoy on its own while avoiding trick-or-treaters, with your lights off, hiding in the basement.

The point being, this is a great time of the year to go out there and pour something different into your beer glass. Keep warm, drink some beer, cheers!


One Response to “THE BEERS OF FALL”

  1. carlos bala Says:

    great article! made me thirsty reading it

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