Friday, August 31st, 2018

Son of Fresh Hoptoberfest

Ron Swarner

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Son-of-Fresh-HoptoberfestSon of Fresh Hoptoberfest — Thirty more days of fresh hops and Oktoberfest beers

Last September, Peaks and Pints released The Hunt For Fresh Hoptoberfest on the masses, a month-long autumn beer party marrying up two popular seasonal beers — fresh hops and Oktoberfest. Women dressed in lederhosen. Men got fresh … hop beers. Hop farmers and malters began living together — mass hysteria!

Meet Son of Fresh Hoptoberfest.

That’s right. Peaks and Pints presents a sequel. Son of Fresh Hoptoberfest is not only a worthy successor to the first fresh hop-Oktoberfest mash-up, but even better as we won’t force our guests to listen to tuba music from open to close, screen a pictorial celebration of German culture, 1740-1914, 1950-present nor host a wet-dirndl contest. Nope, from Sept. 1-31, we’ll offer bright, hop-hazy fresh-hop beers, just hours from field to kettle and mere days from the fermenter to your glass AND clean, hearty Oktoberfest-style lagers from Germany and nearby. We’ll wager our pretzel bread sticks you’ll drink both.

You see, fall beer offers far more than nutmeg and allspice. Historically, autumn was an important time for brewers. Before refrigeration and climate control, fermentation in warmer months was unpredictable, and brewing in the summer was more likely to yield an impure beer. In 1553, a Bavarian law was passed that banned summer beer production altogether.

The result? Brewers ramped up in March, brewing a strong, malty lager that could last through the beerless summer months. That style became known as Märzen, from the German word for March. Stored in cool caves and allowed to slowly ferment, the crisp yet robust beer became a perfect transition into the colder fall months, eventually fueling raucous Oktoberfest celebrations around the world.

These days, a true Märzen is hard to find. But plenty of brewers take a crack at similar styles, including festbiers, maibocks and dunkels. Whatever the name, a pint of malty, dark lager is the perfect accompaniment for the changing seasons, and Peaks and Pints will keep them on tap through September.

Fresh hops are another great gift of fall. Most of the year, brewers coax flavor and aroma out of dried and pelleted hops. But in late summer and early fall, when the precious hop cones are plump and fragrant, many brewers experiment with fresh- (or “wet”-) hopped IPAs and pale ales. Straight from the fields, fresh hops lend juicy, earthy notes that are often compared to newly-mown grass.

Unlike Oktoberfest styles, wet-hopped beer should be consumed as quickly as possible after brewing, as all of those delicate nuances dissipate quite quickly. Peaks and Pints will also keep fresh hop beers on tap throughout September.

Peaks and Pints will host daily a “toberfest” featuring fresh hop and Oktoberfest-ish beers through Sept 30, with a different theme daily beginning at 11 a.m.

Das ist frisch!