There are so many reasons a Best Beer post hit the top of my brainstorming list for September: it's football season, it's the end of summery white wine time and the beginning of heartier cravings, it's the perfect weather for a juicy burger paired with a frothy beer, and Oktoberfest is upon us!
Despite the name, Oktoberfest kicks off in September. The mother of all Oktoberfests - in Munich, Germany - runs from September 22 to October 7 this year. Fresh out of college in 1991, I moved to Munich at the end of September. I wrote this about my new home:
"I arrived at a time when Munich's stiffness temporarily dissolves: during the world's premier Oktoberfest. My new digs, at U-Bahn stop Theresienwiese, sat right across the street from the vast pulsing beer tents and gyrating carnival rides. The building was situated in a pleasant street, slightly removed from the herds of backpackers and drunkards - some of them fast asleep standing up, like cows - dotted around the outskirts of the fairgrounds."
I was not embellishing.
A beer tent at Munich's Oktoberfest, pictured in a promotion on the Muenchen.de city website.
I'd tolerated fraternity party keg beer at school, but I didn't develop an appreciation for beer until I imbibed a stein or two in those giant tents in Bavaria, with some yummy brezn on the side. So in honor of the country that has always brewed great beer and celebrated it with gusto:
1. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen Paulaner has been brewing beer since 1634. Yep, that's before the U.S. even existed, let alone American microbreweries. Watch the video in this link featuring brewmaster and beer sommelier Martin Zuber demonstrating how to pour a Paulaner WeiÃŸbier correctly and revealing the secret behind its unique taste.2. Odell India Pale Ale (IPA)Although this bold and flavorful beer is brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado, it was not on tap at frat parties in Boulder when I was in school - or I may have enjoyed beer more! It's a fave of my brother, Tod ("JJ") Johnson, who won Steamboat's Best Bartender several years running and was taste tasting beer in Colorado back when the drinking age was still 18. So... like a long time ago. (Check out his Fiery Margarita Recipe if you are in the mood for something stronger.)
India Pale Ale from Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado
Enjoy a beer while social grilling at your Angara grill table.
4. Saint Archer White Ale It's hard to argue with iBBQ's Daniel Pyke about the best beer to pick for your party. He and his wife chose this San Diego brewed beauty for the most important fete of their lives: their wedding! (Read why here and find out the iBBQ team's Favorite Wines.)
5. Spiked Seltzer Beer not your thing? Going gluten free? This light alternative was developed in Westport, CT (home of this Barbie Q blogger), and has sparked a spirited seltzer frenzy. It's low carb, gluten free, and comes in four refreshing flavors. Read about how this trendsetting brand was born in Nick Shields' garage: Refresher Course. (The company has since been acquired by Anheuser Busch.)
Spiked Seltzer's sleek cans pack a refreshing, great tasting, low-carb alternative to beer.