Hoptober Fest – Brew Review by Joel Hays

| September 13, 2009 | 1 Comment

I am busy tying a few flies for the trip to South Texas this week, and working on the Airstream now that things have cooled off a bit and the rain has set in. So, Joel stepped up to deliver a review on New Belgium’s Hoptober. You’ll realize pretty quickly that Joel takes his beers seriously – very seriously. Thanks for the review Joel. It’s not an ESPN2 pilot episode, but it does make the best of a rainy North Texas weekend.

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New Belgium Hoptoberfest

We don’t get many “signs” of fall in North Texas. Summer just slowly burns itself out through September, it rains most of October, and then you wake up one morning in early November with frost on the ground. The majority of our trees don’t even give us a good autumn show – the post oaks and blackjacks just go from green to brown.
So, we have to find our passages where we can. Green Chili Festivals at Chuy’s, high school and college football – the slow, painful death of good, predictable fishing, etc. One such harbinger of fall is the annual release of Ocktoberfest beer from a multitude of brewers. According to beeradvocate.com,
“The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies’n (the location at which Munich celebrates its Oktoberfest) contains roughly 5.0-6.0% alcohol by volume, is dark/copper in color, has a mild hop profile and is typically labeled as a Bavarian Märzenbier in style.”

(“Marzen” being German for March – when these beers were traditionally brewed and put up. “Oktoberfest” is no more than a celebration when the beer is ready!)
That pretty much describes all Oktoberfest beer – a little higher in alcohol, very little hops and a lot “malty-ness.”
If you are a fan of New Belgium, you know that they love setting tradition aside and brew nothing in the German style (hence the name). They have done it again with their fall special release – Hoptober!
I have to say this is one of the best beers I’ve had in some time. I have a hard time classifying this beer except to call it an “anti-Oktoberfest” (they call it a Golden Ale). Unlike most IPA’s or other “hoppy” beer, this one doesn’t blow your head off with hop bitterness. New Belgium uses five different hop varieties to layer in spice and extend the finish of the beer. Just when you’re expecting the bitterness to kick you in the taste buds you get “sweet”, not burn. They do this with a mix of wheat, rye and oats. Out of the tap (I had it at Banter – just off the Square in Denton, TX) and in a proper glass, it has a creamy mouth feel that you would not associate with a beer weighing in at 40 IBU (that’s International Bitterness Units – most “hoppy” beers score at 40 or above).
So, if you’re looking for a change of pace at this change of seasons – find some Hoptober and some spare time to sit and enjoy it. I’ll even go out on a limb and give you a pairing:
Grilled blue cheese and shallot stuffed bone-in pork chop
Sweet potato pomme frites
Chard and beet salad with an apricot/balsamic reduction dressing
Candied fig and persimmon turnover

— by Joel Hays www.dfwflyfishing.com

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Category: Eating and Drinking

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (1)

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  1. shannon says:

    This is an interesting brew. You’ll have to try it to find out what we’re talking about here. Meanwhile, thanks to CB for the bottle of Rogue Imperial Stout. That stuff rocks!

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