Craft Brew of the Week - Week 7, Boston College

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I will be profiling a quality craft brew each week prior to the game, one that fits with the theme for the week, because beer and game day are highly complementary. Please don't ‘rec' this post, as I would like them to roll off the front page each week.

My criteria for this list are:

A) use a combination of foreign and domestic beers that are generally available this time of year
2) only high quality beer
D) beers from a variety of U.S. regions for domestics
Triangle) present a variety of styles, with attention to the season, and do both classic styles and offbeat beers
PopRocks) in general, bigger beers for bigger games

And we're off...

October 13 - Boston College 5:30 p.m. -

The Brewery: Samuel Adams

Selected Beer: Octoberfest

This has been a rough week for FSU fans. I seriously thought about picking a Sour Ale as the brew of choice, because we're all feeling a little, you know... or maybe something really strong, just for the sake of choosing something strong, to drown out that... you know... Let's not talk about it. Let's just move on. We are hosting Boston College, and Boston is a great beer town. So we'll get back to basics, and welcome them with an easy-drinking beer from their hometown.

Is Sam Adams a craft brewery? I mean, they're a huge brewery, how can they be craft? The Boston Beer Company is indeed the largest 'craft' brewery in the U.S., which is sort of what happens when Harvard business school graduates get together and open a brewery focused on large scale production and distribution. Their standard beers are, in general, very accessible to people that are interested in crossing over to craft from American light lagers, but they also brew higher quality, smaller batch series intended for beer drinkers with, um, a more robust palate. They promote homebrewing through brew competitions where winners get their beer produced and distributed as part of craft packs, and they even supplied some of their own hops to other craft breweries during a recent hop shortage. They exemplify the craft brewing ideology even if they may seem more like a mass production brewery given their scale and some of their standards.

As a side note (you should know by now I love to put side notes in these write-ups), you should also check out Harpoon, a very solid brewery out of Boston. They are on the map for their ‘UFO' series (the IPA in this lineup is pretty solid) and their ‘100 Barrel' small batch series. I grabbed a bottle of Harpoon's 100 Barrel Catamount Maple Wheat to go down after the Octoberfest this week.

The game day brew:

Oktoberfest is a name given to beers meant to be consumed seasonally during the month of October, and the style originates in Germany with the Oktoberfest celebration. Surprise, surprise. They are generally not high alcohol (5-6%) and every brewery uses their own recipe, which can vary a bit. They all adhere to a style known as Märzen Lager, which conforms to the Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law. This law basically says beer can only be made with four ingredients - water, malt, yeast, and hops. Oktoberfest beers are generally darker and maltier than beers brewed for summer consumption, like Kolsch, but not as heavy as the darker beers of winter, such as Dopplebock.

Of course, if another country is going to do something, and it is an enjoyable exercise involving beer, Americans are sure to get in on the action. These days there are a number of breweries in the states producing their own version of Märzen Lager, and Samuel Adams is a solid example of the style. Oktoberfest beers were historically brewed during the spring with the best and freshest ingredients available, and consumed in celebration of, well, celebrating... and it being October... and beer. I think that's sort of what Florida State fans will be doing this week with a solid showing over Boston College. Let's celebrate a win, enjoy the October weather, and drink beer.

The Octoberfest is a nice rich amber color. There are some rich malty flavors and subtle spicy hoppiness. It is clean and crisp on mouthfeel, as a lager should be, but with noticeably bigger malt taste than light lagers. This beer is easy to drink and flavorful. Unlike some of my other picks to date, you can put back a few bottles and still be functional enough to enjoy the game.

Alternate Brews - If you want to try a different Oktoberfest, just peruse your local craft store. You will likely find them mixed in with the German beers and may want to give Hacker-Pschorr or Pauliner a go. It's up to you, really; every Oktoberfest is going to be a little different, but they will be very similar. Ditto for Samuel Adams... just peruse your local craft store, or grocer for that matter. I don't have a tremendous amount to recommend, but I do like to delve into some of the seasonal offerings from time to time. I keep looking at their 22s and thinking I should give one a try. Hopefully a Sam Adams fan on this board can chime in with some comments as to which other brews we should all be considering.

What I'll (probably) Be Drinking Saturday - Octoberfest, Catamount Maple Wheat, Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly, and some homebrews.

What about you? What are your thoughts on Oktoberfest beers and what is your favorite? What will you drink on Saturday?

Previously reviewed brews:

Sept 01 - Murray State 6:00 p.m. (click to review this post)- Stone, Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

Sept 08 - Savannah State 6:00 p.m. - Lagunitas, A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale

Sept 15 - Wake Forest 12:00 p.m. - Green Flash, Saison Diego

Sept 22 - Clemson 8:00 p.m. - Southern Tier, Backburner Barleywine

Sept 29 - South Florida 6:00 p.m. - Cigar City Brewing, Oak-Aged Jai Alai India Pale Ale

Oct 6 - N.C. State 8:00 p.m. - Nøgne Ø, Imperial Brown Ale

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