In Germany, Oktoberfest came to a close one clinking liter of beer at a time back on the first weekend of October.
Some German breweries still doggedly hold tight to a 500-year-old beer “purity law” that has many critics, stirs up much controversy, and creates endless debates.
In a nutshell, the original law stated that German beer may only be made with three ingredients: barley; water; and hops. When Louis Pasteur discovered and understood the role of yeast later in the 1800s, the Germans added yeast as the fourth allowed ingredient in beer.
Across the pond, U.S-based brewers are much less likely to adhere to such restrictions. As a result, American brewers of the past 10-20 years are being recognized as creative geniuses in their ability to meld together flavors from these four ingredients as well as a cornucopia of flavors and aromas from dozens of other ingredients.
This was no more evident late last month as McKenzie Brew House in Malvern, Pa. presented a Anti-Reinheitsgebot dinner theme as part of its four day long Oktoberfest Weekend celebration.
The weekend was billed as having “…everything you would expect from an Oktoberfest event— special festival beers, music, and authentic German fare—all with a unique McKenzie spin. Kicking off the weekend is an Anti-Reinheitsgebot Beer Dinner on Thurs., Sept. 30, at 7 pm at our Malvern location’s outdoor deck and patio. The dinner will feature several courses of Oktoberfest fare, each complemented by a German-influenced beer made with non-traditional ingredients….”
The dinner and beer pairings certainly lived up to their non-traditional labels.
Black pepper in an Oktoberfest? Was ist das?
Candied sugar in a “strong lager”? Nein!
And, a barrel-aged beer and a “pumpkinfest” beer at a German Oktoberfest celebration? Ach wo!
Not so fast. Read the title of this dinner again: ‘Anti-Reinheitsgebot’.
Approximately 25 hungry beer lovers were greeted with a complimentary glass of the Saison Vautour which recently took home its third gold medal in four years at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Co.
After a bit of socializing, the group gathered around two large tables to start with a plate full of cheese (a German blue cheese, a Bavarian brie, and a cheddar) paired with Krugebier, a nicely balanced German ale of firm maltiness and snappy German hops.
In the second course, the pepperiness in the Oktoberfest really came to life when paired with the red cabbage, walnuts, and mandarin oranges salad.
Two meat courses, one veal and one sea bass, were paired respectively with a French red wine barrel-aged beer called Hauptspeise and the dark strong lager brewed with candied sugar and called La Faute. Strong flavors both in the glass and on the plate went nicely together in both of these courses.
No beer dinner is complete without dessert and this one did not disappoint. Black forest ice cream with a pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice beer fit the bill as the perfect topper to an ‘Anti-Reinheitsgebot’ dinner.
‘Mad’ King Ludwig is likely rolling in his Royal Vault.
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