Men are from MÄRZEN, Women are from PUMPKIN BEERS

While your grocer, fast food, or coffee joint may be saying “PUT PUMPKIN SPICE IN ALL THE THINGS”, I personally don’t care for pumpkin flavored anything. This time of year, I reach for a nice crisp Märzen style beer, ripe for Oktoberfest, which fuels my inner desire to do the chicken dance with sweaty old people with silly hats.

The Chicken Dance song is proof that German mind control techniques still work! Within seconds of hearing that festively annoying song, my hands pop up making two chicken beaks, then my wings spread, only to shake my ass like I’m in Sir Mix-a-Lot video. Oh, my, God, Becky. After a few fest biers, I switch from clapping my hands to slappin’ drunk Oktoberfest ass! Protip: It’s a great way to wipe the bratwurst juice off your hands…don’t judge! I rock Oktoberfest proper.

Kevin Kidney Designed.

Label art by local artist Kevin Kidney, inpspired by a recent trip to Munich.

For review, I have a fresh Anaheim Brewery Oktoberfest Lager poured from the bottle into an Anaheim Brewery pint glass. Its rosy copper hue is topped with a lasting Alpen snowcap of head that lasts all Winter. Although not as malty sweet as Bavarian-brewed versions, this beer is crisp with a medium body at 6.5% ABV. Hints of Munich malt tingle the nose ever so slightly like a mountain climber stuck in a cave, yodeling until being eaten by the abominable snowman. This snowman loves beer though, and continues on a mad beer-hunt to wash down his epic climber meal. This beer’s flavor is simple, clean and delicious! Notes of blackberry bread are quickly washed away by a very dry finish. It’s such an easy drinking beer, I manage to down it halfway through this paragraph. Damn. I wish I had two, with a pretzel and mustard. Yodelay-he-hoo!

The story behind the beer is equally refreshing. From a Brewery rich with history, so is the beer’s recipe. From Anaheim Brewery’s blog:

We learned our Oktoberfest recipe from Greg’s first boss, Chris, who trained at the Paulaner Brewery, in Munich.  As an apprentice, Chris had to keep a journal and write an entry every work day.  One day, Chris was exploring the tunnels and basements of the Hacker brewery, which Paulaner owned.  He came across a room full of very old wooden beer barrels.  On top of one barrel was a dusty leather notebook full of hand-written recipes.  Chris took the book to the brewery historian, who pronounced the notebook “about 100 years old.”  Chris copied out the recipe for Oktoberfest Märzen from the leather notebook as his journal entry.

Anaheim’s Oktoberfest is a modern brewery adaptation of that 100 year old recipe! Brewed with their super clean house Lager yeast, Owners/Brewers Greg and Barbara Gerovak know it well. This proprietary yeast is used with their recent Pilsner release as well as their flagship 1888 California Common. The Pilsner can still be found at nearby Anaheim Gypsy Den, whereas 1888 is available in the brewery and many accounts around Orange County.

Anaheim Brewery will celebrate their 2nd Oktoberfest in their biergarten located at the brewery on 10/13. Look for details soon!

CHICKEN DANCE SONG!

1st Anaheim Brewery Oktoberfest and Chicken Dance

Every now and then the puzzle pieces of life seem to fit perfectly. When I saw the flyer for Anaheim Brewery’s Oktoberfest it was simply too perfect to pass up. For starters, it is stumbling distance from my house! I was also pretty jazzed that the proceeds of the event go towards the Anaheim Historical Society. As a previous member of AHS, events like this make me want to re-join! When I say jazzed, I was literally doing jazz hands like the West Side Story or something.

Digging into historic Anaheim and its beer culture I found something interesting. If you’ve ever been to Stone Brewery and World Bistro in Escondido, you’ll know what I’m talking about. An early proprietor of Anaheim Brewery in 1888 purchased 10 acres of land on Broadway in West Anaheim. On the west side of the brewery, there was a park, with trees, tables and benches, and a central pavilion. They named the park Tivoli Gardens and later changed it to Columbia Gardens. You could buy beer at the brewery and chill in the park with a picnic. I’m pretty sure people did some fun stuff in the bushes, thinking back to one of my blood relatives from the late 1800’s you’ll see why.

You just got eye fucked by my old relative, George Hanson.  Cool hair bro.

That’s all fine and good, how the hell was the Oktoberfest? Short answer? Good! Long answer, sit down on uncle Beer Blog’s lap and let me tell you a story.

The weather was perfect; Sunny and 75 outside. I spotted a big white puffy cloud that looked like two wiener dogs making sweet love on a sailboat with a pirate flag. I chuckled at precisely the same moment Devon Reeves of the Downtown Anaheim Association walked by. Great! Now she’s thinks I’m batshit insane. Wait! She might read this. Yipes. Clearly I have no idea how to delete words that I’ve typed. Fuck! She’s pretty cute with her lush head of red hair. MMM, red hair. Damnit! Back on topic!

Bradley Daniels of Peace Brewing and lovely wife Daira playing the tap handles!

Center Street Promenade is host to many events and is the perfect spot to host the Fest. Historically, this location is where saloons and breweries were located in Anaheim! Upon spotting the tent, I pitched my own. The blue and white striped tent housed a stage with a HUGE 17 person lederhosen clad band and twenty or so tables to drink at. The band smelled like a BenGay truck slammed into a suede leather factory! There were some serious old dudes on the horns taking oom-pah-pah to the next level. I wish there was a German Oktoberfest Rock Band video game!. Think of the possibilities…Lederhosen and Dirndl’s included! It would be fun for ze whole fam!

Outside the tent were several food vendors serving up tacos, brats, ice cream, etc. I was impressed with a live blacksmith on site. I commented that some of his wares look like medieval sex toys and torture devices in which the blacksmith said, “what?”. Nothing dude. Nice stuff.

Filled with yummy oktobery goodness

Two taps gushed Anaheim Brewery’s delicious fest bier. I filled my German made stoneware Anaheim Brewery stein with the stuff and quickly gulped it down. My only complaint about drinking from a ceramic stein is I can’t see my beer. I like to eyeball it and mumble “say hi to my urinary tract” before taking a sip…don’t judge! The beer has a bready aroma with some fruity esters and is easy drinking. The recipe is a modernized version of a 100 year old Oktoberfest recipe found in the basement of Paulaner brewery in Munich, Germany. I wonder if Pee-Wee’s bike was in there as well.

Barbara and Greg of Anaheim Brewery learning the proper polka!

Anaheim Mayor, Tom Tait tapped the ceremonial Keg as the band played Ein Prosit. Gemütlichkeit was had! I sucked down half of an overdone bratwurst and a couple beers while watching a polka instructor show the locals how to dance.

I certainly look forward to this being a yearly event. Stop into Anaheim Brewery for a pint or growler fill of the Oktoberfest beer before it’s gone! Check their site or facebook for details.

The Good:

  • Barbara and Greg in Dirndl and lederhosen!
  • The polka dance instructor was awesome.
  • The beer!
  • Small town neighborly atmosphere
  • Stein is super high quality and well done.
  • Price was spot on if you stayed a while.
  • Always fun to see the mayor tap a keg!

The Minor Gripes:

  • 17 person band was way too much sound and space. It was hard to have a conversation.
  • Smoke from a nearby food vendor was overbearing the tent. I smelled like was at a campfire when I got home.
  • Flyer had misinformation: 21 and over, yet there were kids. It also said $25 for the stein, but it was $15…sometimes typos are good!
  • Games at Oktoberfest are always fun; Beer drinking contest, Brat eating contest, etc. I had to leave early and I’m not sure if they did games; but that would be great for next time!

Youtube video from friends at Squeeze My Orange:

Cismontane Oktoberfest Beer Release and Chicken Dance

I’m a huge fan of new beer releases. Especially when they’re seasonal, interesting and born from a brewery I’ve never been to. Cismontane brewery down in Rancho Santa Margarita has the goods! I stopped in with my Phoenix Club Oktoberfest Stein ($2 for the first fill) and unterhosen to see what was cooking in South County.

Cultivation on the outside, inebriation on the inside!

Cismontane Brewing is situated in an outdoor shopping plaza near the 241 toll road and RSM Parkway. I found the landmark KFC, followed the steeping barley smell, and looked for the live hops plants growing up the building. Colonel Sanders would lick your fingers for a taste of some good local beers for sure…”Finger lickin’ good”! Being a packed joint I joined a booth with none other than Jessica Rice from beerandbaking.com and her crew. Dave, the dude with the stache, Michael, the dude with the shutter snappin’. I love randomly meeting people in my Untappd friends list. I’ve long admired Miss Rice and her extensive  list of rare beers she imbibes. Unfortunately I didn’t realize it was her until they all left. Oh well. I’m sure our paths will cross again.

Locals wetting their whistles. Einz, Zwei, Gsuffah!

Midway through my stein, I must say, is a thoroughly enjoyable Oktoberfest beer. It’s dry, deep copper, wild honeysuckle on a biscuit native Southern California lager. Sitting down with head brewer Evan Weinberg on a brewday of all days is a hoot. I caught him Mid-boil pre-hops pitch, sweat dripping on his black rubber boots.  He’s holding a 1 liter dimpled traditional Oktoberfest Stein filled halfway, shaking it buzzingly side to side as we chat. Evan fills me in on the specifics of this brew. The beer is a collab with Newport Beach Brewing Co. Derek Bougie made with locally sourced wild Buckwheat from the area. This is the first in a series utilizing local natural ingredients. Taps’ Victor Novak provided the proprietary yeast to eat the sugars on this seasonal brew. It doesn’t necessarily have the tell tale noble hop style of an Oktoberfest, but it does have the crisp yet lingering after-finish of the German counterpart. Sometimes when drinking an Oktoberest beer such as a de facto Spaten Oktoberfest, the beer sets up shop in your mouth well after drinking. Subsequent beerless swallows continue to engulf your pallet with sugary malty flavors. Your saliva thickens and pallet aches for German food…a Wurst, a potato pancake, sauerkraut or a pretzel act as an agent to reset your mouth’s atmosphere to zero.

Next I ordered a flight of the other four beers offered: Hafer Weizen (Maybe Nelson hopped wheat beer), The Citizen (California Common/Steam), Casked Oktoberfest (same as above, but dry hopped in cask), and Blacks Dawn (Imperial Stout). All of them were spectacular! I’m a huge fan of hopped wheat beers and the Hafer doesn’t disappoint.  The Citizen had some nice roasted sweet malts that turn nutty/coffee bitter as it warmed up. The casked Oktoberfest was earthier than the keg but had a slight dank hoppy aroma. Blacks Dawn is big time coffee, chocolate, molasses; it’s smooth and very enjoyable. I picked up a growler of The Citizen to enjoy at a BBQ the following day.

On Deck – What to look forward to before years end: 

Future plans: Expansion!

  • CUP: RSM city council approved a conditional use permit to expand into the unit next door. They still need the plans to be approved, but more space for tanks and more space for tasting = good!
  • Bottles, although limited, will be available soonish!

Food: Rancho A Go Go Truck served up brats while I was there. I ordered in German! It’s funny how much German I recall from High School German class over twenty years ago. The Oktoberfest beer worked well drawing some sweetness from the sausage. A couple doors down is a Thai restaurant, and there’s also nasty ass KFC if you want to feel like a greasy shitball.

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

Overall I think Cismontane’s creativity will keep people interested. The quality is high, the beer is fresh, and the crew running the place bring a chill perverted surfer type vibe. Being a photographer and art hobbyist I love that they showcase artists in the tasting room. There’s also books, magazines, games to mess with if you get bored. Me, being the socialite (haha) shared my table with three groups during my stay and met some interesting and diverse people. Aside from the beerandbanking.com gal above, I met a dude that puts shoes on horses with his gal that tends bar at PF Changs at night and works for lawyers during the day. A dirt bike rider gal with a Kawasaki shirt and her dude, then there was an older lesbian couple, then a phone zombie. Seriously, this dude didn’t stop looking at his phone the entire time. Crazy.

Video of the buckwheat harvest, o’tay?:

Tasting room is open Thur-Sun, check their website for details! www.cismontanebrewing.com