Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest: Say it, don’t spray it

Next up, Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest:

hacker-pschorrIn one of my first beerbecue posts, I delved into the historical roots of Oktoberfest (more or less accurately). You can check out the early beerbecue hilarity here. This is relevant because Hacker-Pschorr is one of only 6 beer companies that provide beer for THE Oktoberfest in Munich, and it’s been that way for years…sort of.

Hacker-Pschorr didn’t actually merge until 1972. Even then, they continued to sell beer under separate labels for some time thereafter. But Hacker and Pschorr have been under various states of incestuous ownership from as far back as the late 1700s. And while Pschorr violates one of my life rules (Never trust anyone with a consonant to vowel ratio greater than 5:1), I thought it would be good to review a classic, proper Oktoberfest/Märzen.*

Of course, one of the hallmarks of an Oktoberfest beer is drinkability. That’s good, too, because at Oktoberfest they serve beer by the liter (that’s 33.8 US fluid ounces for you metricphobes). You don’t want your beer too heavy…I mean, you need room for such delectable Bavarian gastronomical treats as mackerel-on-a-stick and liver cheese. And the last thing you want to do while wearing knee-high socks and getting down to Oom-Pah music is to cry mercy because you can’t finish your beer.

Yes. THAT would make you look silly.

Yes. THAT would make you look silly.

So, blow the dust off your lederhosen, tell your Frau to fetch you another beer, and let’s get to it. It pours a crystal clear copper-brown, with a nice off-white head that leaves some lace. It smells like beer and faint caramel. It tastes like beer with some caramel, bread, and earthiness going on. No real hop character to speak of, other than just the right amount of bitterness to balance off the malt sweetness. It starts out drier than it finishes, but the finish strikes a nice balance between creamy and crisp. It’s a good Oktoberfest, and it makes me want to go jump in a pile of freshly raked leaves (my only true litmus test for an Oktoberfest beer).

The Haybag: What’s up with all these “drinkable” beers lately? Go fetch me an Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail, beer mench.

*I don’t think this is the Märzen that Hacker-Pschorr pours at Oktoberfest.

Beer…er…Cider Review: Crispin Lansdowne Artisanal Reserve

I had a request from a reader to review something gluten-free. Beerbecue aims to please. So, since I would rather share a needle with Keith Richards than drink a sorghum beer, hard apple cider it is.

Crispin’s Lansdowne Artisanal Reserve hard apple cider has a touch of organic molasses and is fermented with Irish stout yeast.  Crispin’s CEO is a huge rugby fan, and apparently, this cider is an homage to Irish rugby and the now-torn-down Lansdowne Road stadium.  And nothing says “heaving pile of large, sweaty men in Larry Bird-length shorts” like a nice apple wine.

They are just looking for something crisp, tart, and refreshing, with a tantalizingly flighty sweetness.

Actually, I asked a friend who plays rugby in the UK whether rugby players drink cider. He replied, “We drink everything.” Fair enough.

I also agree with whatever this guy says.

I don’t know how to pour this stuff, but mine was a mostly clear and auburn, with big bubbles.  The Haybag got the sludge and hers looked a little like the Potomac river after two days of rain.  It smells like apples, caramel, and something like apple butter.  And it tastes about the same, with some tartness thrown-in, and a dry finish.  It is way more full-bodied, and much less tart, than I expected. But it wasn’t too sweet, it had a little pleasant tartness, and there was very little aftertaste.

I actually liked it.  I may try something more tart next time, or maybe Crispin’s The Saint (with maple syrup and Belgian Trappist yeast).  Until then….beer.

The Haybag: I like it. I taste butterscotch, too. More importantly, I can’t believe you are scared of a French guy named Sebastien.  This blog has an image to maintain!