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
Π) present a variety of styles, with attention to the season, and do both classic styles and offbeat beers
GoNoles) In general, bigger beers for bigger games
And we're off...
November 24 - Florida 3:30 p.m. -
FSU-UF. Rivalry week. Hate week. A classic beer for a classic game. Before, during, and after a signature win, let's celebrate in style, with the Celebrator.
Ayinger is one of Germany's classic breweries, with several of their brews setting the standard for their style. Because of the holiday week, the rivalry week, and the need to get drinking now rather than later, I'm keeping it simple. A big beer for a big game. That's all.
The game day brew:
The Celebrator is a dopplebock, a lager beer full of rich malty flavor, with big nutty, toffee, and chocolate flavors from the wheat, caramel, and roasted malts used in the mash. Dopplebock also uses a unique strain of yeast that adds nice fruity character. If you have a friend who loves only American Lagers, this is one of those beers that is good touse as an introduction to higher quality brews; it is almost universally appreciated by beer lovers for the intense, rich flavors. I first got into craft beer and high quality brews several years ago by way of Schneider and Sohn Aventinus, another bock, which I sampled at a brew pub in Manhattan. One sip of this style changed the way I look at beer (as well as the sticker shock I experienced at the pub - you get what you pay for, I decided). A few years later I took one to a party and introduced it to a few people there. One of the partygoers summed the experience up better than I could: "I've been drinking beer for more than a decade and I feel like I'm drinking beer for the first time tonight."
Bocks are a classic German style that range in flavor and intensity, with dopplebock among the more intense (eisbock, a beer traditionally increased in alcoholic strength and flavor by freezing and removing water before bottling, is the granddaddy of them all and sometimes produced from a brewery's dopplebock). These beers tend to be on the malty side of lagers, use a unique yeast strain, and are matured for a long period of time, often in casks, to allow the malt flavors to improve. They were traditionally brewed for winter consumption.
The Celebrator is among the best in class. It is a big beer with lots of flavor. It pours a rich dark brown. It smells like fruit, licorice, and vanilla, and on the palate has a chocolate, dark fruit, and toasty flavor. There is practically no hop character. It is a big, rich beer, but not too big. It comes in a four pack so you can share it with your friends.
Alternate Brews - Dopplebocks: The Paulen Salvator, the Spaten Optimator, the Aventinus, Klosterbraueri's Andechs are classic German variations. American brewers are in on the act as well, including Great Divide's Wolfgang, Bell's Consecrator and many others. If you aren't a huge fan of the style and want to try some other brews from Ayinger, check out their Altbier and their Weisse beers. They are solid examples of their respective styles.
What I'll (probably) Be Drinking Saturday - The Celebrator, Green Flash Le Freak, several Aventinus (from different years), and homebrews.
What about you? What are your thoughts on Dopplebocks and Bocks, and what is your favorite? What will you drink this week?
Previously reviewed brews: