I got a chance to hold court at San Francisco's CITY BEER STORE earlier today for their first annual German Beer Festival - known to many others around the globe as "Oktoberfest". This German Beer Festival featured 4 taps given over to exclusively German beers, as well as numerous bottles being opened and poured by Northern California's Spaten distributor, who was pouring many fine exilers, not just those of his flagship brand. Craig Whaten and the City Beer gang also whipped up a crock pot full of saurkraut & mystery meats (sausage and chicken, I believe) that was out of this world, and complimented that with a heaping helping of Bavarian pretzels, cheeses and meats. It was a cool scene - maybe 50 or so beer lovers congregated in the store's environs, sipping as many 8-oz. glasses as their lips could handle before the clock ran down, all the while ogling the store's incredible selection of ales and lagers from around the globe.
The store actually touts German lagers & pilsners just as heavily as it does the more snobbish Double IPAs and Belgians I happen to love, and that's OK with me. I learned about a few new (to me) German beers this afternoon, and rated them accordingly:
DINKEL ACKER DARK - This dark wheat (or Munich Dunkel Lager) was on tap but had a real lager-ish, gritty taste to me, and didn't quite have me doing cartwheels. I thought it was just OK. 5/10.
STEIGL GAUDI RADLER SHANDY -- The Spaten guy talked me into this one, and I loved it. Almost not even beer - a total lemon bomb, but light enough and simple & crisp enough to enjoy over & over again. I'm sure some will see this as a gimmick or compare it to a wine cooler or somethin', but my rarified palate thought it was fantastic. 9/10.
FRANZISKANER DUNKLE HEFE-WEIZEN - Not bad at all - a dark wheat that's got the same sort of bite their hefeweizen does, just not quite as first-rate. 7/10.
STEIGL WEIZEN GOLD - A very light hefeweizen, somewhat sweeter than most and probably around the middle of the Euro pack. I don't think my 6 ounces were enough to really "judge" it, but now let's go with 6.5/10.
FRANZISKANER HEFE-WEIZEN - Ah - an old friend that I'd had before was my last choice before leaving the premises. As good as I remembered - flavorful, full-bodied, and crisp. A classic European wheat, and one I hope to have many times more in my drinking career. 8/10.
If you live in the area, keep an eye peeled, as City Beer's going to have more themed events such as this in the near future, including holiday beers just around the corner.....