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Friday, September 3, 2010

St. Arnold's Oktoberfest

St. Arnold Brewing Company is Texas' oldest microbrewery. Their first beer was shipped on June 9, 1994 and their small crew of 17 continue to brew, filter, keg, bottle, and ship to cities in Texas. They offer 10 beers, 5 of which are seasonal, and I picked up a six-pack of their fall seasonal last week.

First, a brief history of St. Arnold- obtained from the previous link from the brewery website.

St. Arnold was born in 580 AD to a prominent Austrian family in France. He became bishop of Metz, France in 612 AD and spent his life warning peasants against drinking water. He encouraged all to drink beer instead, which was safer. In 627, he retired to a monastery where he died in 640. The next year, citizens of Metz exhumed the body under request to move him to the Church of the Holy Apostles. During the trip, tired porters and other followers stopped to quench their thirst but there was only a single glass of beer to share in the town of Champignuelles. Alas, the single mug never ran dry and all were able to satisfy their thirst! A miracle indeed!

St. Arnold Oktoberfest pours a deep copper color with slight head that leaves slight lacing down the glass. The aroma is full malt sweetness and slight refreshing German hops. The initial taste certainly refreshes, traces of caramel sweetness and a full body makes this an easy brew to imbibe. The hops are subdued and hard to detect and the beer is up-forward with malty sweetness, but balanced just enough for a great taste. The alcohol content is above average for this style - 6% ABV - but meets with my tastes. However, you may want to avoid drinking all 6 in a row! Also interesting, St. Arnolds originally tested this beer with both lager and ale yeasts and the ale fermented version beat the lager in taste tests. So now they brew this as an ale yearly. Scroll down on this page to read more about blind taste tests, a mislabeled batch, and slapping people!

St. Arnold brewery's year-round releases are Amber Ale, Brown Ale, Texas Wheat, Fancy Lawnmower, and Elissa IPA. I have yet to try the Elissa or the Texas Wheat. Look for their Winter release, Christmas Ale, around the end of October. Until then, drink Oktoberfest or any of their year-round brews. Or buy me a six-pack of Elissa, I won't be offended!

The Bottom Line: Texas' oldest microbrewery continues to make quality beer year-round. I like trying seasonal releases and their Oktoberfest was no exception. If you enjoy tasty, refreshing, malty brews this is one to pick up. Try it with a meal and you'll see what I mean by "refreshing." Support Texas microbrewers!

Release Date August 15th
ABV 6%
OG 1.061 (15.5° Plato)
IBU 24

From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world - St. Arnold, Patron Saint of Brewers

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