With Oktoberfest wrapping up this weekend, I’ll be down in Orlando celebrating in my preferred fashion; going upside down really fast on theme park rides. But before I take my leave, I thought I’d make sure there’s something nice waiting for you.
We’re hosting a Pint Night tomorrow, October 1 at both of our Hopjacks locations. We’ll be featuring The Panhandle’s only kegs of Ayinger Maibock. Wait. Maibock? That’s a spring beer! We’re 1.015 seasons too late… aren’t we?
A representative of the company that imports Ayinger over from Germany approached me a little while back. While there would be their Celebrator Dopplebock available, there wouldn’t be any Oktoberfest Märzen. However, they did have Maibock. Now, I could’ve just tapped the kegs as soon as they came in, but I did some thinking.
Both Märzen and Maibock are laid down to ferment for extended periods of time. Both are also part of the Lager beer family and the name literally means “to cellar, or store” in German; traditionally these beers are stored for two to four months already. Granted, fresh beer is almost always better, but I thought we’d hold off the tapping and see what a couple of bonus months aging would do to it.
It’s a gamble, but a partially-educated one. I’m banking on the malt bill to temper any oxidation of the hop oils. Even if that occurs, Ayinger uses Noble Hallertau hops which are grassy, spicy and have notes of hay and fruit. I’ve found that beer that doesn’t work past its prime usually employs hops that are more citrus, pine and tropical fruit.
There’s been an occasion or five where I’ve found bottles of German beer whose drink-by date was suspect at best, at the worst was a Dopplebock that was only a little metallic due to the slightly-rusted bottlecap.
Let’s see if the gamble paid off. It’s time to tap these kegs and end Oktoberfest with a little something different. Oh, and be sure to get in early. We have a free half-liter “Willi Becher” glass to go with your first Ayinger purchase, $1.00 off all Ayinger re-fills and whoever finishes the Maibock keg at both locations gets a special hand-made Ayinger ceramic stein!
Now, to the beer. Fingers crossed… Straw-gold; massive, fluffy head… So far, so good! Honeyed malt greets the nose with hints of grass and fresh biscuit. All of the flavors are right where they need to be as well. I’m picking up a swirl of banana, honey, hay, fresh dough and a hint of white pepper. If any change happened with the hop oil, it went from grassy to slightly earthy.
We’ll be hollering “O Zapft is!” at 5 pm at Hopjacks 9-Mile Road, 7 pm downtown. It means “the keg is tapped.” Come and see what we’ve cellared. Fans of German beer won’t be disappointed.