For our second installment of “What’s Hoppening,” we are going to talk about Oktoberfest. But wait, it’s only February/March. Oktoberfest doesn’t happen until, well, almost October. While the festival doesn’t happen until the Fall, March is the time when the breweries start brewing the Festbier or Marzen. Marzen bier or “March beer,” as it can be translated, was brewed in the month of March. This was the last month beer was brewed; because after this, it is generally too warm for the yeast to work without producing a lot of off flavors. Also, after March, most of the brewers, who were also farmers, needed to be in the fields tending to their crops. The Marzen-filled barrels were stored in the cellar to keep it cool during the Summer months. When Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria married Princess Theresa of Sachsen-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, they decided to make it a public event. Free food and beer flowed for all the people of Munich. It’s this “March beer” or Marzen that was served. So when hoisting your stein at the next Aleppo Oktoberfest (September 30, 2022), just remember the beer was made in March and has been aging all this time.
The Brew Club has been very busy lately. Our January meeting was held at Hopothecary Ales in North Reading. We met for dinner and then enjoyed an evening of socializing and sampling the products of the brewery. After dinner, Hopothecary Brewmaster Kevin McComiskey talked to us about the brewery and how they got their start. We also got to see the brewery itself (which was actually right behind the bar). Keep updated on future meeting locations by visiting the Aleppo Brew Club Facebook page.
On Friday, January 28th, some of the members got together to brew some beer. We brewed a total of 15 gallons in three separate batches. I was joined by brewers Cliff Critch, Tim Cantin, and John Whipple. The first batch we brewed was a Kolsch which is a style from the region of Cologne, Germany. However, in our adaptation, we used American hops instead of the traditional German ones. This should give the Kolsch a bit more citrusy flavor. We will be serving this at the Aleppo Smoker. The second type was a double batch of a German Pilsner.
If you are interested in the Brew Club or brewing beer, but can’t make a session, just let me know. With some of our new equipment, we can brew just about anytime. Also, the Brew Club is looking for fundraising ideas. Making good beer is fun, but it’s not cheap. If you have any ideas, please let us know. Until next time,
Aleppo Brew Club President