Palestine Magazine October 2018 - Page 28

DRINK AND BE MERRY Seasonal Brew J im was a wine steward for a large grocery store in Houston. I vis- ited him twice a week, representing a local craft beer distributor. This was one of my big stores, and it sold a lot of beer. My job was to make sure much of it came from our warehouse. “The Optimator’s a given,” Jim said, “but Pumpkin Head? Is this stuff any good?” He already made a hefty order to fill the shelves. We had 17 pal- lets of Pumpkin Head, however, and two weeks to get it out of our warehouse. I wasn’t leaving the store without selling one of those pal- lets to Jim. “It’s pumpkin beer, Jim,” I said. “People who don’t even drink beer buy the stuff. They get it as gifts for parties or family, or for decoration.” “Is Charlotte OK with a pallet of beer in her department?” Jim asked. Charlotte was the produce manager. “I already spoke to her,” I said, wav- ing at her as she stocked apples. She smiled and gave a thumbs up. “It’ll be here in the morning.” Done. Sixteen more to go. Of all the seasonal beers I’ve had to sell (and brew) over the years, pumpkin beers Story by were my least favorite. It’s stays relevant CHRIS KELLER for such a short time. For breweries Photos courtesy of WikiMedia Common to have them ready for this window, they must start brewing long before pumpkins are in season. So, alas, they must be brewed with canned pumpkin. If you’ve ever had a beer brewed with fresh pumpkin, you are either a home brewer or you know one. Most seasonal beers are rooted in history. There was a time, before refrigeration, when brewing had its own season – generally October through April, depending on the climate and access to ice. Beer needs to be cool to ferment. Seasonal beers also developed from tradition and climate. When it’s cold and wet, a thick, hearty, strong beer will fill you up and keep you warm. When it’s hot and dry, you get thirsty and need something lighter to quench your thirst and cool off. Let’s check out some beers by season: FALL It’s cooling, and malty, caramel, chocolatey beers abound. Amber ales and brown ales are great fall beers and taste great after raking leaves on a fine afternoon. You’ll find them brewed with pecans, maple syrup, honey, and spices. Pumpkin ales tend to be brown . You’ll find Belgian “dubbel” goes well with a cardigan sweater and cigar. “Oktoberfest” beers are in abundance during the fall. Traditionally, Oktoberfest is a märzen lager. The märzen is a clean, smooth, amber- colored beer with an alcohol content of five to six percent. It has a caramel sweetness, balanced by a herbal bitterness from German hops. Märzen, which means “of March,” was traditionally brewed in March, with a higher alcohol content and more hops to keep it fresh in summer, when brewing was banned (April 23 to Sept. 29). Of course, that was the beer served at the Oktoberfest fall festival, hence the name. The festival also became an excellent way to cel- ebrate the start of the brewing season by depleting the beer stores, making room for fresh beer. Oktoberfest beer tents in recent years Chris Keller has worked in beer sales for a distributor, as a brewer for Saint Arnold Brew- ing Co. in Houston, and is the owner of Pint and Barrel Drafthouse in Palestine, Texas. Restorative & Implant Dentistry Jay S. Herrington, DDS, PLLC Junior Hernandez, DDS 100 Medical Drive • Palestine Come by and register for the “Hotel Stay Giveaway”! 903-729-7286