Posts Tagged ‘Lager’

Märzen (aka Oktoberfest)







Welcome to the last installment of our beer school series! We’re wrapping up our six-week course with a lesson featuring a lager style we can’t wait to drink each year, Märzen. You may know the style by the more popular name “Oktoberfest,” so we’ll use the two titles interchangeably throughout.

A “distinctly German” lager, a good Oktoberfest is all about the malt, according to About.com. The “base malt should be a good two row Pilsner, with up to 20% Vienna or Munich.” Hopping should be light, resulting in a brew that BeerAdvocate.com describes as “full-bodied, rich and toasty” and “typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.” It’s a versatile beer and pairs well with poultry, seafood, game and meaty Bavarian dishes.

The traditional name “Märzen” comes from “March,” the month in which the lager is brewed. The first Märzen was concocted in 1872 by a brewer pining for the popular Vienna-style beer served at Oktoberfest in years prior. The brewer’s recipe was so well-liked, Märzen became the unofficial beer style of Oktoberfest, even adopting the popular two-week festival’s name!

Just can’t find the time or money to get to Germany for the yearly festivities? Worry not. Cities all around the world host their own versions of the famous festival every year. Head to Galveston this October 26-27 for the island’s celebration, featuring a hefty German dinner and lots of libations. If you can’t wait that long to get your hands on Märzen, we suggest trying one of our favorites – Widmer Okto Festival Ale, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest or Rahr & Sons Oktoberfest – at your local watering hole.

There’s no homework this week (after all, it is the last day of school) except to enjoy the weekend with the craft brew of your choice.  If you didn’t already have a preferred style, we trust that during the previous six weeks, you’ve had the opportunity to read about and try your share of different varieties, and have since found a few new favorites!

Visit the blog next Tuesday when we’ll post our September 20 tasting information. You won’t wanna miss this one; it doubles as a graduation party, complete with Pint Jockeys pint glasses for completing our beer school course!

Have a great weekend and as always, cheers, Pint Jockeys!

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Amber vs. Amber (Ale vs. Lager)








With only one day left in the week (TGI Thursday), it’s time for another beer school lesson. Did you already forget what we studied the past two weeks? As a reminder, we started by going over the general differences between ales and lagers, and last week we dug a little deeper with our study of pale ales versus pale lagers. So, it’s only appropriate that today we take class one step further by comparing amber ales and amber lagers.

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program (with a name like that, who wouldn’t consider them a trusted source?), amber ale is, fittingly, “amber to coppery brown in color” and usually clear, “although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.” The malts may be sweet, often with a caramel flavor, and yet maintain a nice balance with the hops. Interestingly, BJCP says, this style of beer is known as “Red Ale” in other parts of the country, especially on the west coast, where the brew was first concocted. Some of our favorite amber ales include Fat Tire Amber Ale, Saint Arnold Amber Ale, Rogue American Amber Ale and Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale.

Amber lagers, BJCP says, are “a vaguely defined style of lager much favored by US lager brewers. They are darker in color, anywhere from amber to copper hued, and generally more fully flavored than a standard pale lager.” With more caramel malt flavor than in amber ales, amber lagers “are frequently hoppier than the true Vienna lager styles on which they are loosely based.” You’re surely familiar with one of our favorite amber lagers, ZiegenBock Amber (we’ve featured it on the blog before). Some other favorites include Rahr & Sons Texas Red, Magic Hat Spring Vinyl and Negra Modelo.

Another difference between amber lagers and ales? The Alcohol by Volume. The ABV in amber lagers is less (at 4% – 5%) than that in amber ales (4.5% – 6%). While there’s only a slight difference in ABV between the two, grab an ale if you’re looking for a little more kick.

Now, it’s time for a pop quiz! If you’ve been to a beer tasting before (one of Pint Jockeys’, perhaps?) or read any of our past blog posts, you’ve undoubtedly heard the terms “hoppy” and “malty.” Can you tell us what each of those flavors mean? *Cue Jeopardy music…* Don’t know? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you. Beers with a lot of malts have bready, sweet, floury, chocolate and coffee flavors. Hoppy beers are more bitter, often containing hints of grapefruit, resin and pine. And now you know.

Your homework assignment this week, should you choose to accept (and why wouldn’t you?): Grab a buddy and taste test each type of beer. Afterward, leave a brief description of what you taste in the comments below. Describe the color, aroma and flavor differences in an amber lager and amber ale, and share with us your overall impressions of each. For extra credit, let us know which brand you tried (and where).

Cheers, Pint Jockeys!

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This week: Ales vs. Lagers






With August in full swing, we’re starting to hear a lot of chatter about “back to school” season, and it’s inspired us to share a few of our very own lessons with you.  While we recognize that official school days are a thing of the past for many of you, we’ve decided to introduce a different kind of school. One that’s sure to turn you into the most well-educated guy or gal at the pub. Without further ado, welcome to Beer School, Pint Jockeys!

That’s right, for the next few weeks, Beer School is in session. On the blackboard this week? Understanding the difference between ales and lagers. This may seem elementary to most, but sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

According to Tastings.com, “the simple difference between a lager and an ale is that the yeast employed for fermentation of a lager works at a cooler temperature and sinks to the bottom of the fermentation vessel, while ale yeasts work at higher temperatures and rise to the top of the vessel. Hence lagers are ‘bottom fermented’ beers.” Additionally, lagers often take several months to brew, while ales can be brewed in as little as seven days. And, given its yeast content, lagers should be served at a much cooler temperature than ales.

There are many different types of lagers, many with which you’re probably familiar. Common lagers include amber lager (popular in the U.S.); bock; dark lager (or dunkel); doppelbock; esibock; “light” and reduced calorie lager; Munich helles; malt liquor; pale lager (“the standard in international beer”); pilsner; and Vienna-style lager. Among our favorite pale and Helles lagers are Rahr and Sons Blonde, Kona Longboard, and Rogue Irish Lager.

Although ales have been around for centuries, many consider it an “experimental” beer. Because of its shorter brewing cycle, brewers tend to throw in additional ingredients (called adjuncts) to their recipes. Ales also contain a higher count of hops, malt and roasted malts than lagers, giving the ale “a more prominent malty taste and bitterness,” according to BeerTutor.com. A few of our favorites? Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Magic Hat Elder Betty, and, just in time for fall, Shock Top’s Pumpkin Wheat (be sure to check back Friday when we’ll have a great recipe for you which may or may not include cooking with Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat).

Which brings us to your homework. Go out and sample both types of beer, making note of the differences. Come back here and let us know which you prefer – lager or ale — in the comments below. Doing homework has never been so fun!

‘Til Friday, class dismissed, Pint Jockeys!

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Green Olive Chili Beer Dip!

What’s better than a Friday? TWO Fridays! And because Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday this year, that’s exactly what most of us had! Since you probably spent your holiday chowing down on something delicious from the grill, and you’ve only had two days to recover from your patriotic food coma, we thought we’d change it up today and offer you an unexpected, refreshing grill-free recipe. Worry not, Pint Jockeys, this will be just as (if not even more so) satisfying, as it contains our favorite ingredient – BEER!

So buy yourself a few cases and invite a few friends over; today we’re making a delicious Green Olive Chili Beer Dip!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bottle (12 oz) pale Lager Beer (we suggest  New Belgium Shift Pale Lager)
  • 1 Serrano chili pepper
  • 3 TBLS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jar (16 oz) large pitted stuffed olives, drained
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1½ TBLS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 2 TBLS unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

What You’ll Do:

  • Make slit in one side of Serrano chili; place in small saucepan over medium heat. Add Shift’s Pale Lager; bring to boil. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep 1 hour to make Chili Beer.
  • In large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil; add onion and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes; add olives and sauté 2 minutes longer. Add Chili Beer (and chili pepper); boil 10 minutes, until most of the beer has cooked away. Cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer olive mixture to food processor; add tahini, lemon juice, honey, coriander, cumin and pepper. Process mixture until dip is smooth, with some pieces of olive still visible. Stir in cilantro. Spread mixture on plate or in shallow soup bowl, cover and refrigerate 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

For an impressive presentation, place the dip on a platter and garnish with tomatoes and pistachios. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Serve with warm, sliced bread or pita chips.

Since you prepared the dip, ask your buds to bring the main dish. For an all-out Greek affair, might we suggest making gyros or maybe some roasted lamb ? (That’s right, give them the tough job!)

No matter what you serve with the dip, it goes without saying (though we’ve said it twice) that the best part of this meal can be found sitting in that 16 ounce can next to you. And, since the recipe only calls for 12 ounces of beer, you’ll have three full brews and four precious ounces leftover to enjoy at your leisure.

Raise your glass and cheers to the weekend, Pint Jockeys!

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