If you've been paying attention, you know that this is Oktoberfest season. If you need a refresher, check out Joe Sixpack's (Don Russell's) column today. Marzens, especially at this wonderful Indian Summer time of the year, are my favorites. I've talked about Dave Hoffman's superb rendering of the style, I've paid homage to Jim Koch and his Octoberfest, and I anxiously await tomorrow's Central Jersey BeerFest, where I expect to sample some of Augie Lightfoot's (JJ Bittings) Bad Boy and Mike Sella's (Uno's) Oktoberfest.
But a mandatory trip to Costco recently caused me to stumble upon a real treasure: Spaten Ur-Marzen (Oktoberfest). What's more, it was selling for $23.99 a case—a buck a bottle! For my money, it is still the champion of German Marzens, and for THAT money, it's crazy not to buy ten cases and start your own Oktoberfest celebration right in your neighborhood.
I'm not alone in that assessment of Spaten either. Dave "Ein Prosit" Hoffman and his father Kurt "Gemutlichkeit" Hoffman both contend that Spaten stands in a class by itself among the Marzens of Die Faderland. Coincidentally, Joe Sixpack himself featured Spaten as his beer of the week today.
Now I don't get a penny from Spaten for saying this, but don't let late September or October go by without trying this baby. As you might expect, it goes great with brats of any kind and complements chicken exceptionally well. I like it with Sauerbraten and Weinerschnitzel, too. I like it alone. A lot.
If you want to see what an authentic Oktoberfest tastes like, pick up some Spaten Ur-Marzen. At Costco, you'll save big bucks, and you might even see the new line of Kirkland Beers—a hefe, an amber, a pale and a German lager—brewed by The New York Brewery in Utica, NY. (That usually indicates a contract brew by F.X. Matt.) A case of Kirkland is just $18.99.
I was going to try some. Really. But there was no room in my cart with all the Spaten. And the missus insisted that we actually purchase some food.
I'll try it next time—maybe. Because while the Kirkland will probably always be available, the Spaten may not.
Ein Prosit Der Gemutlichkeit!