Home | Contact Us | IAAF World Championships | U.S. Track & Field | Community News, Features & Profiles | Links | About Steve
COMMUNITY NEWS
Art Association and Art Discovery Workshops
Oktoberfest road run and triathlon
Always giving: Westbrooks lend hand whenever needed
Sign of the times: Poor economy brings challenges to service providers
Heritage preservation: Mount Angel historical society proposed
Sharing resources: JFK students join in SHS career and tech programs
3/50 Project: Chamber sharpens the focus on the benefits of shopping locally with February contest
FEATURES
Meet the Monarchs: Home opener in Silverton April 30
Mt. Angel's Holley DeShaw, LMT, helps Olympic hopefuls
History of beer: Three ingredient law dates back to 1516 in Germany
PROFILES
Mannion family thankful for Silverton's support on and off field
Josh Jones: On a spiritual path close to home
Keenan Foraker: Coal miner's son has a passion for classic cars
Mosher and Fisher: SHS grads return as the school's volleyball coaches
Alex Morrissey: Making a difference at school and in the community
History of beer: Three ingredient law dates back to 1516 in Germany
By Steve Ritchie - OurTownLive.com - Posted in Arts, Culture & History
September 2009

Steve Ritchie

MT. ANGEL - The Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, like its older and larger namesake in Munich, is all about celebrating the fruits of the harvest, as well as the wonderful Bavarian heritage we claim as ours.

On a trip to Germany in August, I was reminded of how strong their traditions remain even today, especially in the smaller cities and towns. Some of the proudest traditions in Germany and Bavaria, especially, are those related to the national drink, beer.

Many German towns have breweries, which have often been in existence for centuries, carefully following a brewing recipe that has been handed down for generations.

One place I visited was Bamberg, a city of 80,000 people in the upper Franconian region of northern Bavaria. I had several reasons for wanting to visit Bamberg. A UNESCO world heritage site, it was one of the few medieval towns that was not destroyed or heavily damaged by bombs during World War II.

Bamberg's old town center, built on and around the Regnitz River, certainly rivals any in Germany with its beauty. And the Cathedral in Bamberg boasts one of the most famous statues in Germany, the Bamberger Rider.

But, to be honest, the main reason I wanted to visit Bamberg was to taste its famous "smoked beer," or Rauchbier in German. Without question, the perfect place to drink it was in Schlenkerla, the historic brewery tavern where the smoked beer has been brewed for more than 300 years.

I was not disappointed. My German friends and I had a delicious lunch and enjoyed the delicious, dark brown Aecht Shlenkerla Rauchbier (Original Schlenkerla Smoked Beer).

The convivial atmosphere in the old half-timbered building was perfect. Guests sit at long, wooden tables which turns strangers into friends rather quickly. The low ceiling is filled with huge, dark beams that were historically painted with ox blood for protection.

Schlenkerla is a difficult word to translate. It has its origins in the old German word, Schlenkern, which referred to someone who walked with a crooked gait.

The legend has it that one of the former brewers of centuries past was partially crippled by an accident with a beer barrel and earned the nickname of Schlenkerla with his wobbly style of walking. Eventually, the brewery and the beer became known by the same name.

Over lunch, my friend Peter Hauck from Wurzburg told me the story of the Bayerische Reinheitsgebot - the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516.

The law dictated that only three ingredients - water, hops and malt - could be used in Bavarian beer. While the law may have been adopted as much as a means of additional taxation as it was for regulating quality, it still had the effect of creating a standard of purity for German beer that has lasted for nearly five centuries.

The Bavarian law became a law for beeer brewing for all of Germany in 1906.

The Schlenkerla Smoked Beer has the same three ingredients, of course, but the difference is in the malting process. The malt, which is germinated barley, is dried and smoked by burning special beechwood logs underneath a wire netting. The smoke from the fire gives the beer its unique flavor. In contrast, regular malt is dried by heat but not smoked.

While you won't find any Rauchbier at the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest - it is hard but not impossible to come by outside of Germany - you will find plenty of other great German beers, including beers from Munich breweries like Spaten, Paulaner and Franziskaner.

I asked Dave Marliave, master brewer with Oregon Trail Brewery in Corvallis, to recommend a few of the German beers being served at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest for sampling.

He suggested trying the Spaten Optimator - "a really nice doppel bock with a rich, carmelly flavor . . . it is representative of the physical brewing process used in Germany which creates a unique flavor and texture of beer."

Marliave was also very enthusiastic about the Franziskaner Weissbier - "a very cool wheat beer - it's creamy, light and refreshing with a banana-clove aroma."

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest will also offer Widmer Hefeweizen and Okto in the Biergarten and Weingarten, as well as "selected microbrews" in the Alpinegarten.

If they wish, beer lovers can do a taste comparison of the more traditional German brews along with the innovative microbrews from the U.S.

Marliave says he loves the meticulous, traditional brewing process used in Germany because it gives these beers such a distinctive flavor, texture and color.

But he also believes the incredible variety and character of the microbrews now being produced also has tremendous value, and is even influencing the younger generation brewers in more traditional places like Germany to begin experimenting more.

"We have taken hops (in the brewing process) to an absolutely insane new level . . . we have an ability to copy everyone else and then bastardize it and make it great. Honestly, we've taken a lot of styles and done what traditionalists would consider ruining those beers. But out of that we've had these just really outrageous styles emerge. I mean Americans more than anything have defined outrageous beers . . . aging beers in wood for years, (making) Belgian-style or German-style beers hopped like IPAs . . . just our ability to incorporate, adapt and make old styles (into something) originally American."

Maybe that ability to "incorporate, adapt and make old styles new" is really what makes the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest so outrageously fun, as well. Traditional Bavarian, but with a little in-your-face Americana added to it.

Enjoy!

OurTownLive.com
 
 

Featured archived articles:
Nick Symmonds Takes 6th Place in Berlin 800 Final

Nick Symmonds was in perfect position with 100 meters to go in Sunday's 800 meter final at the World Track & Field Championships... (more)

Mt. Angel Woman Helps Keep Olympic Hopefuls On Track in Eugene

What does it take to be an
Olympic athlete? For most
athletes who reach that elite
level, it takes years ...
(more)

More Women Running - Going the Distance

No one participating in or
cheering on runners at the
Homer's Classic 8K on August
8, will be surprised that there are women running in the ...
(more)

Ian Dobson Races to Third Place at Trials and Makes U.S. Olympic Team

Pacific University Library Director Marita Kunkel was in the stands
at Hayward Field in Eugene last Monday night... (more)

Nick Symmonds Advances to 800 Final at World Championships

A major deluge hit Olympic Stadium in Berlin an hour before Nick Symmonds was scheduled to run his semi-fina... (more)


©2017 • All Rights Reserved • No part of this site may be reproduced without express written permission. Web design by IrishLemons.com

create counter