By Len Panaggio, President, Newport Harbor Corporation
Sadly, summer is fast ending and with it comes the annual roll-out of Oktoberfest beers, which are traditionally lagers. Most craft brewers tend to produce ales – largely for economic reasons. “Lager” means to store – the beer needs time before it can be released. Ales, once brewed, are ready for market. So, most of what we see in the marketplace is ale.
Now, we’re starting to see craft brewers make lagers. They possess flavor and body, they are crisp and clean, and they pair so well with food. Of note are Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest, which is their seasonal brew and Harpoon’s Limited Edition Bohemian Pilsner, which is also a seasonal. While these selections are ending their life for the summer, we are rolling into Oktoberfest beers -most made in the Marzen style-which is the word for March, when the last beers were brewed in Germany because it was too warm to brew in the summer.
Today, Oktoberfest brews abound! Consumers are looking for different styles and the market has responded greatly over the years. As we roll into the season, make sure that your staff knows the basic differences between a lager and an ale. Oktoberfest beers are lagers and consumers should understand that they are delicious pairings with the foods of fall. Think German!
And, as consumers do like new things, keep an eye out for this trend of craft brewers putting forth more and more lagers. After all, Sam Adams flagship beer is a lager, which started their road to fame.
Enjoy the turning leaves, heavier foods and lagers of the season! Prost!