As American craft beer continues its march to fulfill its manifest destiny of acquiring the entire world's hop supply for production of One Last IPA to Rule Them All*, we here at the Independent could use a short break from the hops, and a little bit of time to enjoy beers that focus on malt, clean flavors, and precision engineering. In short, after a hoppy summer draft list, we need some German beers (you know, the type actually brewed in Germany) in our life. As such, we bring you the first annual Independent "Oktoberfest" starting next Tuesday, September 19 and running through Saturday, September 30th (or whenever we run out of beer).
Oktoberfest isn't really a German thing; it's a Bavarian thing that has become somewhat of a worldwide thing. A number of local breweries and restaurants do Bavarian-styled Oktoberfests well, complete with oompah bands, lederhosen, and beer tents. We love those celebrations, and you'll likely see us at many of them (wearing lederhosen commando of course). But that's not what we're going for at the IBC. In fact, other than the name, we're going to drop most of the German stereotypes and focus on the beer and the food.
That means taking a brief departure from our "all-local beer" concept, and importing to Pittsburgh (in several cases for the first time ever) the best eight German beers that we could get our hands on. To wit:
1809 Berliner: a tough-to-find, traditional, dual-culture Berliner weisse brewed by legendary Bavarian brewmeister Dr. Fritz Breim at Weihenstephaner brewery
Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock: a traditional Maibock brewed in the original home of bock beer
Uerige Doppelsticke: a stronger take on the classic Dusseldorf altbier
Schlenkerla Märzen: a big, bad smoked märzen from Bamburg that transports you immediately to a campfire on a crisp autumn evening
Weihenstephaner Krystalweiss: very similar to Weihenstephaner's acclaimed Hefeweizen, but filtered for startling clarity
Schneider Weisse: a unique, amber-hued hefeweizen that lends caramel from its middle malts to add to the traditional clove and banana tastes and aromas from the yeast. (We purchased this one at the special request of Roundabout owner/brewer Steve Sloan, who brews a beautiful take on this beer called "Ferdl Weiss").
- Ayinger Oktoberfest: a perfectly-executed traditional Märzen
- Reissdorf Kölsch: the gold standard of Kölsch, the cold-fermented ale that defines a night out in Cologne
Far from being a tap list of all Munich lagers, this list features a diverse array of beer, featuring a diverse array of styles brewed in geographically disparate parts of Germany.
Fan of hops and local beer?** Fear not, friends. We're going to devote the rest of our taps to hop-forward local offerings, so you won't be left out in the metaphorical cold of a Bavarian Höhle packed with Eisblöcke cut out of the Isar-Fluss in mid-März!***
On the food side, our kitchen team has been working on a fall menu that will include some updated German classics with an eye towards being a bit more contemporary than the caricature of Oktoberfest (e.g. currywurst and seitan currywurst, pork schnitzel sandwiches with apple-bacon chutney, shaved brussels sprouts and red-cabbage salad). And, Max has been working to overhaul the wine list to bring you some great (and diverse) examples of German Riesling and pinot noir.
Alright folks, that's all for now. In the meantime, we're going to be working hard this week and weekend to draw down our inventory to make room for these kegs of ... um ... "bier." Check out our Instagram (@independentpgh) for specials and remember to hit our happy hour ($2 off all draft beers until 6 p.m. every day) to help out the cause.
See you at the Independent,
* It'll be canned, with a white label with a gold ring that simply says "Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul." $50/four pack. Limit two per customer. Bring a lawn chair, because line space is ... [wait for it] ... preeeeccccciouussss
** Oh that's great! We should talk!