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Beer 101

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 8, 2010
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Märzen (Oktoberfest)

Definition: Märzen is a style of lager beer typically brewed in March and stored until the fall. “Lager” comes from the German word “lagern,” which means “to store.” They are more expensive to make than ales, because they require more equipment and time. They are made with bottom-fermenting strains of yeast and brewed at lower temperatures. Because the yeast collects at the bottom of the tank, it can sometimes be re-used.
Märzen beers originated at the Oktoberfest festival in Munich, probably before the 16th century. The beer was often kept in the cellar until late in the summer, and remaining bottles were served at Oktoberfest. The texture of the beer typically smooths out during storage, and the result is a slightly sweet finish.
Alcohol by volume: 5% to 7%
Characteristics: A full-bodied beer with a rich, toasty flavor. This pleasant floral-and-aromatic beer is copper in color.
Common examples: German-brewed Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest-Märzen and Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen
Shop for it locally: Sam Adams Octoberfest
“Take a leap of faith and step into something more full-bodied, cleaner and less biting with a slightly sweet finish,” says Tuchman. “This style of beer is the perfect gateway for the Budweiser, Miller and Coors drinkers to get into the craft-beer scene.”

Pumpkin Ale

Definition: Pumpkin ales are strictly released as a fall seasonal beer. Ales are defined as a type of beer brewed from malted barley that is top-fermented at a higher temperature than lagers with a strain of brewer’s yeast. Ales include porters, stouts, Belgian specialty beers, India Pale Ales (IPAs), wheat beers, fruit beers and any beer with “ale” in its name.
Origin: The first pumpkin beers date back to the founding of the first colonies in North America, when pumpkins were plentiful and the produce from the harvest was used in as many ways as possible.
Alcohol by volume: 4% to 6%
Characteristics: No two pumpkin beers are alike, and all vary in color, aroma and flavor. Roasted, canned, pureed or hand-cut pumpkins, often spiced with pumpkin-pie spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger, clove and allspice, are often added to the brewing process. Pumpkin beers are typically mild and light-to-medium in body with a low hop bitterness and a malty backbone.
Common examples: Southampton Pumpkin Ale, Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Shop for it locally: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, which is brewed with organic brown sugar, pumpkin and spices.
“You either love it or hate it — there’s no in between,” says Tuchman of pumpkin ale. “But it’s one of my favorite styles of beer.”

Mr. Beery’s

The name pretty much says it all. Owner Mark Tuchman opened his intimate craft-beer haven Jan. 29, in Gulf Gate, after he relocated to Sarasota from Long Island, N.Y. Mr. Beery’s serves a rotating selection of American microbrews and specialty beers. There are always 25 varieties on draft and roughly the same amount in bottles.

“Every beer experience is a different one,” Tuchman says. “I love the education process, storytelling and the simple consumption — sharing a great beer with someone who has never had it before. I get a high out of that.”

Mr. Beery’s will host a fall beer festival Saturday, Oct. 9, at 2645 Mall Drive. The festival will include five Oktoberfest beers and five pumpkin ales. Call 343-2854 for information and price.



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