Saturday, September 01, 2012

Beer of the Month (September)

   It is September, that magical time of year when football season takes over our weekends!  As everyone knows, football and tailgating go together like a horse and carriage, and tailgating and beer go together like a carriage and axle.  Because you can't have a successful carriage if your axle is broken.  I'm sure you got that analogy without the explanation, but just in case you're a few beers in while reading this, i thought i'd explain it.
   Now, some beer drinkers will insist on knocking back lighter beers like PBR or MGD, but real tailgaters know that you don't get that defensive tackle physique by guzzling low-calorie beers!  NO!  You have to drink the dark stuff!  Also, i didn't want to write about macrobrews today.  So the beer of this month is...

The Festive Dopplebock

   The festive bit is a reference to the history of the dopplebock, also known as the lenten-bier.  The first drinking buddies to brew dopplebocks were the Minim monks at Paulaner, who needed the high sugar content of the beer to substitute for solid food during their periods of holy fasting (hence the expression liquid bread).  Later, this lead to dopplebocks being typically served as holiday drinks along with spiced and heated wassails.  Though wassail literally means "be thou hale" it soon became synonymous with the beverage used to make the toast.  While we're at etymology, the expression "to toast" came from the same time period, where various flies and other insects would attempt to drink from the glasses of the revelers.  This lead to the use of a piece of crisped bread being placed on top of the mug whenever the drink was not being consumed.
   Since we're talking about the Paulaner brewery, let's introduce their beer first.

Paulaner Salvator Dopple Bock
ABV: 7.9%

The Salvator, being the first dopple bock, set the precedent of all dopple bocks' names ending in -ator.  The name translates to "savior", which seems appropriate for a beer originally brewed by men of god.  The flavor profile is complex and carries the mild estery banana flavor typical of German ales.  Unlike a hefeweizen however, the malts are dark and reminiscent of caramel or spiced rum.  At almost 8% alcohol by volume, this is definitely a sipping beer.

Spaten Optimator
ABV: 7.6%

This is a beer that tends to divide beer enthusiasts.  Some people just can't sing the praises of the Optimator loudly enough, while others tend to find it a bit of a disappointment.  Though there's nothing wrong with the dominant malt characteristic and subtle fig notes, i tend to find the Optimator a bit empty for a dopple bock.  It drinks more like a bock, which for some might come as a bonus.  Like the Salvator, the Optimator enjoys quite widespread distribution in the US, so these should be easy to compare in a home "test".  Do it for science!

Ayinger Celebrator
ABV: 6.7%

If i had to make an all time, desert island, top 5 list of my favorite beers, the Celebrator would be right up there near the top.  This lager really dials up the intensity while maintaining a perfect balance of flavors.  Dark caramel malts and cinnamon blend with roast coffee and a wonderful creamy texture.  Unfortunately, the Celebrator is quite difficult to find sometimes.  If you see it on a beer list, make sure you try this one.

That's it for this month, remember to leave your suggestions for next month's Beer of the Month style in the comments.

1 comment:

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