We made sure that we were one of the first few through the gates at the Fremont Oktoberfest Friday evening. We like to party with the best of them, but we also appreciate low volume crowds so we can really savor our beer while the sun is shining. As the sun goes down, the crowds come and the streets turn into Party Town. It is fun but we find it easier to review beers when it is less crowded and easier to review the party aspect. In this post, we will talk about the beer, the beauties and the bonuses!
We had a strategy for our beer tasting which I promptly disregarded when I saw Georgetown Brewery‘s Lisa’s “The sun is trying to kill me” Chocolate stout. I loved it at the WABL Brewer’s fest in June and I loved it again this sunny September evening. Smooth, chocolately, did I mention smooth?
Oops, Jonathan and Ed are way ahead of me and I have all the tokens! Time to catch up and start tackling the beers at tent 5. We started off sampling the beers at Fremont Brewery. Ed and I had already tried the Universale Pale Ale at their Urban Beer Garden so we opted for their Mystery beer which turned out to be a an unfiltered raspberry lambic. Pale pink and cloudy with bits of raspberry, this beer was delicate with subtle sour raspberry flavors. Jonathan had the Universale Pale Ale and it was a bit too hoppy for his palate. Ed loved and I liked it too, because the hops had a great floral character and was so well balanced.
Next, I tried the Dad Watson Ruby, the second raspberry beer at the festival. This was a gorgeous pink color but the raspberry flavor was too subtle for our tastes. The three of us prefer a bit more boldness.
Silver City Brewing brought two very different beers. The Bavarian Hefeweizen was Ed and Jonathan’s favorite beer of the night. My biggest regret of the night was not getting the opportunity to try this one. According to the guys, this unfiltered wheat beer has clove, vanilla, coriander, orange and banana flavors that were expertly blended. Oktoberfest was a silky smooth Marzen, It showed great balance with a pleasing hop bite on the finish. Because of that bit of a bite, be sure to try the Hefeweizen before the Oktoberfest. The three of us loved the Oktoberfest but I overheard some people saying they thought there was a bit too much malty sweetness to it. for their liking, Just goes to prove the diversity of beers and personal preferences.
Jonathan and I loved the Kolsch from Chuckanut Brewery but Ed tried it after sipping his Pickleweasel Pale Ale from Dad Watson and the Kolsch was overwhelmed. The Pickleweasel had a huge hoppy aroma and a lot of citrus flavors.There is a definite strategy to employ at a beer festival like this one, where there are so many great beers on tap, Save the hop monsters for last and start with the subtle ones first.
Hales Ales Supergoose IPA is a double IPA with tons of grapefruit aroma and flavor. It is a bitter and aromatic beer with a solid malt body. Simcoe, Centennal and Cascade hops are blended to create its aggressive hop profile.
WOW! That is what Ed said when he tasted Hell or High Watermelon Wheat beer from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. This has an INTENSE watermelon flavor but it never forgets that it is a beer, like some fruit beers are wont to do. If we going to give out a prize for the most unique beer at the Oktoberfest, it would definitely win.
One of the longest lines last night was for the Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas. They advertise this as a strong ale and they aren’t kidding. Although the ABV was only 8.7, it felt bigger. Bold hops structure with just enough malt to smooth out the roughest edges, this reddish ale will match the color of your eyeballs if you drink too many of these!
Arrogant Bastard Ale was the other strong ale that we tried. It had more of a bitter hop profile than the Hairy Eyeball, I was surprised that Jonathan liked it because he is well known for bitter hop intolerance. The great malt balance made all the difference to him.
Two sour beers grabbed my attention: New Belgium’s Trip 3 and Trade Route’s Ginger Pale Ale. The New Belgium Trip 3 is brewed at Elysian’s Capital Hill brewery. It is a sour black lager that I immediately fell in love with. Deep, dark and complex. Big sour notes that could overwhelm but doesn’t . I loved this with paired with proscuitto and cheese crepe available at the festival. The Ginger Pale Ale had intense ginger flavor. Spicy with orange peel and a tad sour, this beer was brewed to pair with foods. Suggested food pairings include: sushi, squid and salmon.
We were surprised to see Michelob at Oktoberfest, but Jody from BoldHat productions, explained that they were going to have two microbrew beers on tap during the festival and on Saturday and Sunday they would be doing special brewer talks with samples of even more unique beers. We felt obliged to try the two “microbrew style” beers they had on tap: Shock Top Belgian White Ale and Jack’s Pumpkin Spiced Ale. Unfortunately, both of these brews lacked the character of most microbrews and tasted like big corporate brews. The Pumpkin Spiced Ale was much better than the White Belgian, it was reminiscent of pumpkin and did have some discernable spice. Compared side by side to the Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin ale, it was no contest, the Elysian was the clear winner.
One of the special beers made for Oktoberfest is Lazy Boy Brewing Company’s The Stranger Big Double Trouble IPA. This beer is big and bold with an “in your face” hop profile. Full of flavor and mischief, this beer sells out every year at the Fremont Oktoberfest. Be sure to stop by the Stranger Sampling Tent to grab some off this brew before it is all gone!
The Miss Buxom contest is held every year at the Fremont Oktoberfest. The winner gets over $1,000 in prizes and serves as an Oktoberfest spokesperson for the rest of the weekend. Entrants can be either gender, as long as they are dressed in Oktoberfest gear. Big buxoms are not required but can add to the overall effect. Contestants adopt Bavarian/German themed names for the event and have to convince the audience to vote for them based on their answers to questions and their general style. The event took place in the packed Tap House Grill Buxom beer garden. Tiffany Moore, AKA Heidi Ho was the winner of the 2009 Miss Buxom contest.
The Fremont Oktoberfest is about a lot more than just beer and bosoms.
- Two stages with lots of music and other entertainment like the Texas Chainsaw pumpkin carving contest.
- Public lounges to sit and enjoy your beer in comfort.
- Private cabana lounges available to rent for up to 15 of your closest friend
- Cigar Lounge located at the end of Canal Street
- Homer Simpson will be on hand on Saturday and Sunday to meet and greet the crowd at the Simpson’s 20th Anniversary Stage.
- There will be a kids area set up to entertain the little ones.
- Brew HA-HA 5k race
- Michelob’s Ask a Brewer sessions
- Fremont Studios Oktoberfest Afterhours party
- Dog Day activities all day Sunday
- and so much more!