Roll Out the Barrels

If you can’t find a beer you like at Octoberfest, you’re not looking hard enough

Like its German cousin, Appleton’s Octoberfest is a bacchanalian celebration of beer and the 2015 event promises not to disappoint even the most ardent beer connoisseur.

According to Tricia Schwartz, marketing manager for Wisconsin Distributors, “Octoberfest will feature nine different craft beers embracing a wide variety of beer styles from a Belgian unfiltered wheat, and an amber ale to traditional Oktoberfest marzens, as well IPAs and porters.”

Craft beer central for Octoberfest will be the specialty bar at Oneida Street, where all of the featured beers will be available. In addition, Spaten Oktoberfest will be available at all beer stands along College Avenue.

Spaten Oktoberfest was the first beer served at Munich’s Oktoberfest in 1872, according to Schwartz, and since 1950 has been the first beer tapped as part of ceremonial keg tapping by the mayor of Munich to kick off Germany’s Oktoberfest celebrations. 

“This year, Appleton’s Octoberfest will emulate the tradition,” Schwartz said “as Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna will tap a keg of Spaten Oktoberfest to initiate the festivities.”

Last year’s featured beer, Wisconsin Brewing Company’s Magic Marzeniac, will be back for a return engagement under a new name – Patron Saint.

“Last year Wisconsin Brewing Company brewed Magic Marzeniac,” Schwartz said “an Oktoberfest style marzen, specifically for Appleton’s Octoberfest event. The beer was only available in Appleton and was so well received that the brewery decided to introduce the brand under a new moniker in 2015 as part of their In & Out series.”

Wisconsin Brewing Company Brewmaster Kirby Nelson notes that “the Appleton response to Magic Marzeniac was so encouraging that we felt we had to make it one of our In & Out brands.”

Other beer palate pleasers will also be back.

“Belgian-style unfiltered wheat Shock Top and New Belgium Brewing Company’s Fat Tire Amber Ale,” Schwartz said “and Pumpkick are not new to the event, but have always been crowd favorites. Redhook Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter was available last year and features a combination of pumpkin puree, nutmeg, ginger and maple syrup.”

As always, Wisconsin Distributors, the exclusive beverage distributor for Octoberfest, aims to bring new varieties for beer lovers to sample.

“New this year will be Pipeline Porter from Kona Brewery in Hawaii,” Schwartz says.  “This beer highlights a marriage of a blend of premium barely malts and a Kona coffee.  This is the first year we are offering two different porter styles both with very unique flavor profiles.”

While beers from afar are always a highlight of the Octoberfest menu, the event also features plenty of brews from Wisconsin’s own rich brewing tradition.

Beers that are indigenous to Wisconsin will be Patron Saint Oktoberfest, Yankee Buzzard IPA and Inaugural Red Lager – all brewed by Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona.

“Inaugural Red has an especially intriguing back story,” Schwartz said “blending elements of old-world brewing tradition and a healthy dose of science. It was a collaborative effort between Wisconsin Brewing Company and the University of Wisconsin Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. UW students participated in a combination of lab-based studies and real-world brewing experience, including developing recipes and sourcing ingredients in addition to brewing and the actual beer.”

It’s not uncommon for individual craft breweries to team up and create a collaboration beer.

“But the unique partnership between Wisconsin Brewing Company and UW,” Schwartz said “makes this beer something special and it’s really exciting for us to be able to offer it at Octoberfest.”

As always, there will be a formidable assortment of ales, porters, IPAs, lagers and other amber nectars on tap at Octoberfest, so beer aficionados only need to belly up to the bar to quench their thirst and feed their passion.

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