05 October 2011

Gebraut in Amerika

Blumenau -- pic from Wikimedia Commons
We had a visitor from Brazil at the monthly Beoir homebrewers' meeting in the Bull & Castle a couple of weeks ago (hi Tiago!). Though not a brewer himself, he brought us a few bottles of one of his favourites from back home: Eisenbahn Weizenbock. The brewery is based in Blumenau, a little piece of Germany in southern Brazil, and the output is appropriately Teutonic. The weizenbock certainly hits all the dark caramelised banana notes you'd expect from the style, though it lacks the spicy finesse found in top-drawer strong and dark wheat beers like Aventinus. One could get cross that it's another one of those by-the-book South American beers that shows little by way of creative brewing flair, but that would be churlish and ignores how tasty the contents of the glass actually are.

Meanwhile, on the Bull & Castle bar, a rotating tap had been given over to Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest. I had high hopes for this: a brewery as conscientious as Sierra Nevada wouldn't produce one of those awful sticky orange Oktoberfests that all the other American craft breweries do, would they? Sadly, they would: whatever demonic force compels them all to turn out these cloying horrors instead of something resembling clean German-style Oktoberfestbier was at work in the Chico brewhouse. Do people actually manage to get through this by the litre in the US? The thought is stomach-churning.

One nil to Brazil when the whistle went.


  1. Unfortunately, people do manage to get through this by the litre, or multi-pint, or multi-bottle. Seriously, if you slap octoberfest on a label around here people go batshit for it. Haven't had this year's from SN, but I haven't been a fan in the past, even when my preferrences leaned toward the darker and maltier varieties.

  2. I'd be interested in some recommendations for American Oktoberfests, on the outside chance that I see them here. I've yet to taste one that was remotely drinkable.

  3. Anonymous7:49 pm

    I don't really understand the necessity for an American craft brewer to make an Oktoberfest that resembles that of a traditional one. I enjoy drinking the Samuel Adams version, no matter how it might not be a nod to cleaner, traditional versions of the style. Those versions already exist, and they're easy to come by, so I don't see why American craft brewers ought to conform to that guideline. It's as if the beer were called something other than "Oktoberfest" there wouldn't be much fuss about it.

  4. You're quite right, of course. If it were simply called "Style XYZ" I'd be saying "Christ! Why are they all making these disgusting Style XYZs?" instead of "Christ! Why are they all making these disgusting Oktoberfestbiers".

    Careful with the T-word, though. I don't think German Oktoberfestbier as we know it is more than 15 or 20 years old.

  5. Anonymous9:15 pm

    They're a bit paler than they once were, no?