Oktoberfest may be coming to an end but don’t tell that to that to the month of October. After all, there’s never really a bad time to appreciate good German (or German-style) beer.
But with a seemingly endless selection out there, how does one develop weltanschauung?
The man knows his brews, has strong opinions, and is especially fond of Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei’s Köstritzer Schwarzbier. “This is the beer that taught me to rethink lagers,” Kensrue says. “I used to be your typical beer snob who thought lagers had no place in my beer fridge. But this beer was my paradigm shift…how can German beers (particularly the Oktoberfest/Märzen style) be popular when it’s not an IPA, barrel-aged stout, or sour beer? It’s been fun to watch people start to recognize the beauty of a well-brewed German style. They’re not easy to execute and there’s a reason why many brewers drink pilsner, helles lager, or Oktoberfest in September: The beers are very drinkable, with a depth of flavor.”
So I approached him for some help on the matter of narrowing down some quality pours. And he very generously shared his expertise—with a roster of must-try brews.
“I mainly wanted to focus on variety when I chose my list. I wanted some classics, some new school, some traditional, and some not so traditional,” Kensrue said. “There are beers from New York, the Northeast, the West Coast, and of course Germany.”
“I think there are some fantastic New York breweries making great German beers, but then sometimes you just want to go with the original,” Kensrue continued. “No two Oktoberfest beers are the same. Different brewing practices, different ingredients, and even different approaches to the style bring out subtle differences that are fun to taste. Most of the beers can be easily found at a half-decent beer store, which is important to me as well. Beer isn’t about exclusivity—it’s about inclusivity, especially for Oktoberfest, which is all about raising a glass with your friends and celebrating life.”
“When I first started buying beer for Randolph Beer, and came up to my first Oktoberfest season, I did some research and wanted to find as authentic versions of the style as I could. The good people over at B. United Int. import this beer from Austria and it’s been one my favorites since day one. It has a rich malt character, light hops with a crisp, snappy finish. This beer is why I felt Randolph Beer needed to serve a pretzel. It’s a match made in heaven.”
Check back tomorrow for Number 14