Fall Brews – From East to West

All good beer drinkers (Euro and Yank alike) know, with the crispness of fall comes the excitement of both classic and innovative autumnal beer.

The tradition is the classic pale lager, originating in Munich, Germany.  Pale Lager is a lean, stable beer and is most widely drank as what people consider “regular” beer around the world today.  They tend to be dry, lean, and like Autumn itself, crisp.  Traditionally, during Germany’s biggest fall festival, Oktoberfest, a type of Pale Lager dubbed “Märzen” is the drink of preference and has been since 1818.  Oktoberfestbier is supplied heavily in Germany by what is known as “The Big Six” breweries.  (Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner-BräuHofbräuhaus München, Paulaner, and Hacker-Pschorr. (All conveniently located in Germany’s southern half and beer haven, Bayern)  If you’re looking for your typical, traditional Autumnal beer, look no further.  Each of these breweries offers their own specific versions of Oktoberfestbier and many offer international ordering and shipping.

To step up from the pale lager, Fall beers also often come in the form of a Bokbier, or “Bock.”  Bock beers are dark, sweet, lightly hopped, malty ales traditionally associated with holidays and festivals.  In areas like Austria, Bokbier is drank particularly around Christmas time, but places like the Netherlands and Belgium like to get things started off in Fall with strictly seasonal Autumn Bock Beers. Brouwerij ‘t IJ, a brewery in Amsterdam, Netherlands, brews a specialty fall beer called “eco-beer biobok.”  The IJ Bok is, “Dark and Robust, but not too sweet.”  It is available every year from September through November.

Finally, and most typically American, we have the specialty Autumn “flavored” beer.  These beers are generally ales brewed to include typical Fall tastes, such as pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and other thanksgiving-style flavors.  Quite generally, these beers are sweet and full flavor.  In fact, as this next beer exemplifies, they can be a bit of a dessert beer, so to say.  A typical and delicious fall beer brewed in the States is The Bruery’s “Autumn Maple.”  Brewed in Orange County, California, this belgian-style brown ale is reminiscent of the sweetness of Halloween and Thanksgiving combined.  It is a bold and spicy blend of  traditional Belgian yeast strains, sweet potatos, maple syrup, allspice, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and not only smells, but also tastes uncannily like a pumpkin pie.

“Sturm” time in Austria

Picture by: oesterreich.pbworks

“Sturm” time is very popular in Austria during the fall.  Sturm is also know as “Suser, Sauser, Neuer Süßer, or Junger Wein (young wine) in Southwest Germany, Switzerland and South Tyrol.” Others may know it as Federweißer.

Sturm is a popular alcoholic beverage and marks the beginning of autumn and the harvest season for many locals.

The drink usually has a low alcohol content of 4%, but some areas make the drink much stronger where it can be up to 10% of alcohol by volume. It all depends on what region it’s from.  Sturm is made of grapes that are fermented into alcohol. Fermentation is a process that can take up to a month until the liquid refreshment is perfected.  After it reaches the alcohol content you want, it can then be sold.

Picture: BilderBox

Picture: handwerk-magazin

This time is very popular for individuals because the wine must be consumed quickly, since it is only on sale for a few weeks in the fall.  The drink cannot be preserved, and if you buy a bottle of it, it comes without a cork because it is still fermenting.  Usually people attend festivals or restaurants where the drink can be bought and celebrated.

Sturm comes in white or red, and because of the high sugar content and carbonation, some may not be able to taste the alcohol in the beverage.  This time can be compared to Oktoberfest in Germany, because Sturm time is just as popular in Austria.

Here is also a blog, where a writer writes about her experience with Sturm.