Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fallenbock: An Octoberfest Alternative

A few big decisions have been made over the past few weeks:

1. We need a break from all the penis talk around the office. Things have just gotten ridiculous. The excitement of getting our first project accepted for publishing (see this post and this post if you're out of the loop) has worn off a bit and having your work day filled with penis talk just wears on a man.  Meeting after meeting after meeting, and we literally get dick accomplished. The combination of chode-like decorative gourds in everyone's cubical and Pantless Mondays may go down as the worst attempt at boosting office morale in the history of companies trying to make their employees happy. The medical bills alone nearly shut us down permanently.  So it has been decided - no more gourds.

2. I am going to wear a hat today. That was decided weeks ago and the big day is finally here. 

3. I am not a fan of Octoberfest beers. I've tried a couple over the past few Octobers and none have made want to go back for more. Some have been better than others, but I think my taste preference just wants something else. Perhaps it is all the malty-ness of these beers, or spice profile that is typically found in a lot of them, but I just can't get into it.  I have similar issues with pumpkin beers - I will admit I need try some more of this style before any rash decisions are made - but personally I don't think I'm in a good place to start sampling pumpkin beers after the the things I've seen go down with gourds at the office this past month. To say my palate may be "tainted" is a bit of an understatement.

What is a man that is not a fan of the Octoberfest, or Marzen style, supposed to drink this time of year? Most people say Pumpkin beers are great in the fall.  But like I said, I am currently anti-Pumpkin.  What else is out there? We are getting calls in our office almost everyday asking the same question. We don't have an answer so we just hang up on them. I've heard good things about Sixpoint's Autumnation but haven't had that yet. Any suggestions?

How about a doppelbock?  Just like that stubby gourd, I fell ass backwards into this style. Basically this is a strong German lager. What does that mean? It goes down easy, has some nice flavor, and some sneaky high ABV's. It sounds like a dream - eerily similar to that dream you had as a child where you pee into a wooden barrel that Smurfs made you, only to wake to up to mysteriously, improbably, wet sheets.

A conversation an entire generation of 7 year olds had with their mothers:

"But Mom, I didn't pee the bed, I peed into a barrel that the Smurfs made me."

"It's okay honey, Smurfs are assholes."

Troeg's Troegenator is probably the best known doppelbock around these parts. I haven't had it, yet. I went another direction with it - Erie Brewing's Fallenbock (7.8% ABV).  Their website actually calls this an Octoberfest Lager, but every other bit of half assed research I've done has told me this is a doppelbock.  It doesn't taste much like any Octoberfest I've had.  The beer has some great roasted malt and cocoa flavors but drinks real easy and light for a beer with the darker flavors it has going on. When I poured it into a glass it was almost too light in the middle of the flavor profile - nice flavors and mild aroma up front, then a watery middle, but a nice finish with a pleasant aftertaste.  It went down extremely smooth for a beer with this kind of alcohol content. I drank my second one straight from the bottle to see if would offset the empty middle of this beer. Not a huge difference but enough in my opinion make this a beer I'd rather drink straight from the bottle. The beer isn't gonna blow you away but it has a lot going for it that makes it a great fall crowd pleaser: good seasonal flavor, drinks real easy, tastes great straight from the bottle, and has the ABV to rock your socks. I want to drink 8 more of these and get real strange around a little fire pit in somebody's back yard. Call me.