Friday, November 7, 2008

It’s Time To Stop Celebrating and Start Hibernating

Oktoberfest is over. You know how I know? I went to Granite City last night and they said so. Despite the rather large table-top advertisement imploring me to purchase a mug of their finest fall seasonal, the server told me "No, sir. I'm sorry we just ran out last week. Oktoberfest is over." Damn. So close. "But," she continued, "you should try our bock, it's similar to our Oktoberfest." It's schadenfreude and kismet rolled into one; I've been railing about this confusion, calling things "bock" that are, clearly, not bocks. And, while Granite City's Brother's Benedict Bock is probably not within the alcohol range typical of German bocks, its profile is close enough to give them a pass on the "bockery" of calling things "bock" that are not.

But, if your bock is similar to your Oktoberfest? Something is wrong. OK. They are both lagers. And maybe I'm picking nits. But this type of verbal confusery is irritating to those of us trying to raise the bar in beery discourse. But, really, if someone ordered a champagne and you said "I'm sorry. We're out of the champagne, but you should try to our chardonnay, it's similar to our champagne," you would think the server is cracked. It not only speaks ill of the education of the server, but it speaks ill of the establishment that would tolerate such lack of education. Especially if said establishment were known for its wine! A fortiori, a server at a brewpub should know better than to say "our Oktoberfest is similar to our bock." Our burger "is similar to" our steak. Our salmon "is similar to" our tuna. Our Sprite "is similar to" our champagne. We could go on with the SAT lessons, but I think you get my drift. Substitute != Similar. No. Your Oktoberfest is not similar to your bock; the bock is a substitute for the Oktoberfest. And, if they are similar Granite City should reevaluate its brewing. Or, at the very least, it should reevaluate its nomenclature.

Sorry. I didn't even want to talk about Granite City. It's just one of those stupid pet peeves of mine that probably no one else on the planet shares. While we're on this diversion though, I've been told that this is beer snobbery. But I don't think it is. I demand precision in language in every aspect – not just beer. So, maybe it's general snobbery, but it is certainly not exclusive to beer.


So. How about that weather, huh? Blue skies, pleasant sun, nice breeze, seventy degrees. Earlier in the week. Today: blustery, chilly, rainy, leafy. It's enough to make you want to stay inside, turn on a good movie, order some pizza in, make some popcorn and sip a fine oatmeal stout. Good thing I was smart and bought a growler of Delafield Brewhaus' Oats and Barley Stout.

Delafield Brewhaus Oats and Barley Stout

Appearance: Pitch black with a thin tan head
Aroma: deeply roasted and malty sweet; a slight earthy backbone
Flavor: should be served at warmer temps (low 50s minimum) as refrigerator temperatures result in a harshly roasted, thin-tasting, thick bodied beer; as it warms up the sharp tininess decreases considerably, revealing a soft roasty and chocolatey beer; the roastiness carries through on the finish as the flavors just kind of trail off
Body: soft, thick and heavy, but not syrupy
Drinkability: great for a late night of reading (weapon of choice these days: Rabbit is Rich) and watching movies; it's flavors are unique and welcome, but its sessionability is fairly low
Summary: a note: growlers don't have an infinite time period for freshness; this is especially true of beer that is on nitrogen – it loses any carbonation it might have had very quickly; So, I do not recommend getting growlers filled of nitrogen beers unless you know you will drink it quickly.

1 comment:

  1. Not really beer snobbery, but to a new untrained beer drinker's palate an Oktoberfest could seem very similar to some German bocks since the malt would be much more dominant than a typical American pils.

    Now if they had said our coffee stout is similar to our IPA...that would be a problem....

    By the way, anybody know if the rumor that the Great Dane is purchasing the Hereford & Hops brewpub in Wausau is true?


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