I was waltzing around the beer aisle the other day, hoping to pick up a nice Spaten Assortment Pack (Optimator, Spaten Lager, Franziskaner) and noticed a very strange and unnerving phenomenon: the place was littered with Oktoberfest brews of seemingly every brewer in existence. What was going on here? It’s the exact middle of August and I’m already being burdened with the task of making my Oktoberfest selections for the fall season? Has the whole world gone mad? Well, let me slow down here a second and better explain myself.
Let’s get the facts out first: For those not in the know, Oktoberfest is a huge, 16 day (sometimes 17 or 18 depending on when the first Sunday in October falls) festival in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a celebration of beer, food, beer, good times, and, did I mention, beer. Over 6 million people visit the great festival every year and a good time is surely had by all (if they can remember).
What that all means for us here in the states is that we get flooded with some fantastic German, and not so German, Oktoberfest brews as we enter the cooler autumn months. And what a fantastic time it is: the leaves are changing color, there is a crisp nip to the air, and lighter beers of summer give way to the heartier, but still crisp and refreshing, beers of Oktoberfest (which then lead us faithfully into the even heartier beers of winter). Fact is, I absolutely love the beers of Oktoberfest, and with so many different brewers that get in on the action there is plenty to choose.
I know, I know, Oktoberfest actually starts in September (September 18 this year I believe). And I know that, much like Christmas decorations start showing up on Halloween, companies (and brewers) like to get their product out into the market stat! But come on man, is nothing sacred? Can we not wait until the 1st of September? Or at least the last week of August? That would still give us all plenty of time to build up a powerful Oktoberfest stockade.
I suppose I could have just accepted the fact that, at least according to beer brewers, you should start imbibing Oktoberfest beers in mid August. And I also suppose I could have stocked up now, put them in the fridge, and just forgot about them until September. But I just couldn’t do it. Aside from a serious space issue (hey, we only have one fridge), the whole idea of Oktoberfest in August is just, as I said earlier, unnerving. And so, with that in mind, I did what any self respecting beer man would do: I purchased my Spaten Assortment Pack and walked quietly out into the humid dew, happy to still be a part of summertime.
Of course, I’ll be back in a few weeks to pick up some Oktoberfest.