Best Anniversary Ever

Thursday, September 02, 2010

How awesome would life be if a 16-day festival was held in honor of your marriage, and subsequently your anniversary, creating a tradition that has lasted now for 200 years?

Thanks to the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810, we have a 2-week, 6-million person beer fest of most epic proportions. Now, I had a really fun wedding to a wonderful beer-loving, hockey-watching football fan named Mrs. Smitty. But our anniversary this year? I think we went out for dinner together or something. I can tell you this much: it wasn't celebrated along with 6 million drunks from across the world. Just two.

Another fine tradition of Oktoberfest, as if a beer tent that looks like the picture below isn't enough, is that a special beer was created just for the celebration, named, aptly, Oktoberfest! This Marzen-style beer, so named because it was brewed in March (Marzen), was stored throughout the summer (lagered), and busted-out in late summer. What remains is consumed at Oktoberfest!

A solid Oktoberfest is a beer I like to return to every September or so. It's one of my football beers. Knowing me so well, beer-buddy Greg, back from adventures in far-ranging Pittsburg, brought back a lovely Oktoberfest from Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin. The name, simply, is Fest.

Comfort poured forth from the bottle; bright, sunny copper with the slight haze you find on September evenings when the air cools a bit from the sweltering August heat. A puffy, bubbling cloud of eggshell-white formed on the top of the beer, bursting with aroma, yet dissipating as if in an early-Fall wind. Perfect weather for my own little festival.

Full, traditionally Bavarian beer aromas rise from the beer, carrying memories of a thousand brewmeisters. Nutty, roasted grains mingle with that most magical German Noble hop; sweet earth meets pungent earth yielding that characteristic Teutonic beer aroma famous the world over. Malty caramel provides a sweetener, ending on a gentle nutty aroma.

This beer is what I really like in an Oktoberfest. Gorgeous grains up front, husky, are balanced by Noble hops behind. Melt-in-your-mouth caramel is doesn't compete with that earthy, spicy blend of Hallertauer and Saaz hops; rather, they compliment one another. The result is a fine example of what our Germanic neighbors love to quaff about this time every year.

The beer has a few small flaws; it's just a tad watery and thin, and the malt, while sweet, is monotone. But this beer is more than drinkable; it'll be a regular addition to my beer fridge every Fall and at half the price of Spaten (which is imported all the way from the Fatherland), I am willing to deal with its minor flaws. I daresay they go unnoticed unless you look for them anyway. Fest differs from Sammy A's Oktoberfest, which is syrupy in its sweetness. This is much more of a throwback to the proud heritage of a crown prince's wedding anniversary.

Clean. Crisp. And best of all, traditional flavor.


Bob 7:23 AM  

Had me some Oktoberfest this weekend. It is the best part of the fall.

Mrs. Smitty 2:02 PM  

We celebrated our anniversary this year with a few hundred Lansing-ites on Mackinac Island (a work-related conference, not as cool as it sounds). Definitely not the same, although there were a lot of drunks.

Next year - Smittyfest =)

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