Wednesday, August 31, 2011


September marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It’s time to say “goodbye” to warm beach days and bathing suits, and say “hello” to colorful foliage, delicious pumpkin beers, and Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each September-October in Munich, Germany. It is the world’s largest fair, and features copious amounts of German beer and traditional German fare. The festival began in 1810 as a way of honoring the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. German immigrants then brought the tradition with them to the United States, where we have continued the celebration throughout the years. Celebrations are held across the US and vary in duration from two days to six weeks.

In conjunction with Oktoberfest, many companies offer special promotions and hold contests. This year, Yuengling is offering a trip to experience Oktoberfest in Pennsylvania. The winner will receive hotel accommodations for two nights, VIP access to Yuengling Musikfest Café, two all-access passes to the festival events, a private meet and greet for the VIP concert event, and a $250 gift card! For information on how to enter this contest, visit Yuengling’s web site.

Some of our favorite fall beers at GAP include: Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Wachusett Octoberfest, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, and Shipyard Pumpkinhead. Pumpkin beers truly capture the spirit of the fall season; they are typically released in early September and tend to be available through the holiday season. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson are all said to have brewed beer from pumpkins. This was merely out of necessity for our Founding Fathers, as barley and other ingredients used to make liquor were scarce in America at that time. Ingredients such as parsnips, squash, corn, molasses and apples were also used. Despite its long history, pumpkin beer was not popular until the 20th century, when craft brewers began using these ingredients.

Pureed, canned, fresh, raw, and roasted pumpkins are all used to give pumpkin beer its unmistakable flavor. Brewers often add spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves to these beers for added flavor. Pairing pumpkin beer with a pumpkin pie is delicious, and pumpkin beer can even be used as a substitute for the liquid in pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin and Oktoberfest style beers aren’t around for long, so don’t miss your opportunity to celebrate this autumn with the perfect seasonal beverages.

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