Monday, August 24, 2015

Unseasonal Delight

One of my constant bugbears is the unseasonal availability of seasonal beers. I remember a few years ago when my first sighting of the magnificent Samuel Adams Alpine Spring (and how much I miss that beer, simply wonderful drop it was) was on Boxing Day (that's December 26th for my non-British/Commonwealth readers), and now it seems the shops are groaning under the weight of Oktoberfest lagers and pumpkins ales.

I am not a fan of pumpkin ales whatsoever, they all taste like soggy, months out of date, digestive biscuits to me, but I do like a good Oktoberfest lager, though I try not to buy any until Oktoberfest is about a week away - this year's starts on September 19th. Well, I broke that rule this weekend, but on the grounds that I needed a malty lager to make my latest batch of chilli chutney, and purchased a six pack of Trader Joe's Oktoberfest, as it seemed it would fit the bill.

With half a litre of the beer bubbling away in the pan, alongside 8 red bell peppers, 6 jalapenos, 2 habaneros, and the other stuff necessary for the chutney, I poured three of the remaining 4 bottles into my 1 litre Oktoberfest glass....

One thing that immediately caught my eye, on the label at least, was the ingredient list (something I heartily approve of). It listed just dark Munich malt and Hallertau hops, which almost caused my heart to skip a beat of delight. I am not a fan of using caramel malts in Oktoberfest lagers, I find they tend toward sickliness and a slick mouthfeel that just feels wrong to me, but with dark Munich you get a lovely sweetness and still that firm cracker charateristic of good German beers, not to mention that beautiful orange glow. The hops are clearly present, with a definite, though unobtrusive, bitter snap right at the end of the finish, and traces of lemongrass in the nose.

Whilst not a session beer, being 5.3% abv, it is a wonderfully drinkable beer and it will be a regular in the fridge this autumn, especially at $6.49 a six pack. You really can't argue with that, well made, tasty beer at a price point which won't break the bank. I look forward to many refills of the tuplák in the weeks to come.


  1. And, interestingly enough, there is a very well known brewer in the United States who dislikes the use of Munich malts in Pale Ales, "where only pale and caramel/crystal should do."


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