This time of year, everyone seems to be churning out an Oktoberfest beer, often referred to interchangeably as Marzen. The history and evolution of this style of beer is rather winding and confusing, so what follows is the best effort to summarize its origins as concisely as possible.
The first Oktoberfest Festival was held on the wiesn, or fairground, of Munich in 1810. At that time, the best historical data suggests that the festival beer of choice would’ve been Dunkel, the brownish-black roasty lager that originated in Bavaria. The rich, malty amber lager that we associate with festbier didn’t come to be for another 50 years or so. Anton Dreher brewed the first Vienna lager in the 1860s. Vienna lager gave rise to the best known version of festbier that was first brewed as a stronger version of Vienna lager by Joseph Sadelmayr in the 1870s, specifically for the festival. Thus, this richer and lightly spicy cousin of Vienna lager became known by its own style name, Oktoberfest. The truth, as previously stated, is that the beer of choice at the festival has changed repeatedly throughout the decades. Beginning in the 1990s, oktoberfest beers in Munich have trended toward drier, crisper, lighter and easy drinking golden versions that are usually marketed as wiesn, although the style of festbier that remains most popular in the U.S. is the predecessor of wiesn, known commonly as Oktoberfest or Marzen. The term Marzen refers to the month of March, when brewers would traditionally brew beer for the fall festival before lagering it for the summer months so that it would be ready to serve when the festival rolled around.
Oktoberfest marzens today are largely unchanged from their 19th century forebears. Boasting an alcohol range of approximately 5.5%-6.5% abv, expect a medium to full body with a fair amount of residual sugar. Traditionally, the beer would’ve been made using decoction or step mashing, that heats the mash gradually, thereby enhancing the sugars and malt flavors of the finished beer. Owing to its time consuming nature, decoction mashing is rarely done today though its effects are well worth the time and effort. The overall impression of an oktoberfest marzen is a rich and decadent, yet surprisingly easy to drink amber lager with hints of spice. The beer itself is a showcase for the delicious Vienna and Munich malts that comprise the bulk of the grist.
Due to the area’s large German immigrant population, Cincinnati hosts the world’s second largest Oktoberfest celebration every September. We also have no shortage of fantastic oktoberfests to choose from. Look out for Samuel Adams Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen, Hi-Wire Zirkusfest, Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen, Weihenstephaner FestBier, and Sierra Nevada/Brauhaus Miltenberger. Prost!
With so many wines to choose from in our store, it’s easy to forget there are some amazing wines from the Southern Hemisphere - including Australia and Chile. Check out these remarkable wines:
After a very successful journey to the Willamette Valley, I would like to reflect on some of the better stops along the way. We toured 14 wineries in 5 days in a whirlwind tour of the valley. The trip was divided up by four of the sub AVA’s of the Willamette Valley. Each of the regions grow primarily the same varietals, but terroir gives each its own flair. The Willamette Valley boasts the best Burgundian-style wine outside of France. In fact, Burgundy and the Willamette Valley fall on the 45th parallel. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are the Kings of the Valley, but Chardonnay is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.
took us out in the vineyards for more education. To top it all off, we had an amazing dinner prepared by Mark and paired with vintage offerings of his spectacular wines! It was the perfect ending to an already outstanding day.
Saving the last best for last - although Eola-Amity as a whole was my favorite day - my favorite vineyard was the last one we visited on the trip. Yamhill Carlton was the last AVA we visited and Abbot’s Claim Vineyard was the last vineyard on the tour, where we were graced by the presence of one of the founding father’s of Oregon wine, Ken Wright! Ken gave us a college level lecture about all things Oregon wine while tasting through his award winning single vineyard pinot noirs. As an avowed Wine Geek, this was almost too much. I have always loved Ken Wright’s pinots above almost any other wines, and here he was teaching us at Abbot’s Claim! This is an experience that the group and myself will never forget!
Often overlooked, the wines from Austria and Germany deliver some amazing whites and rosés (and even some great reds, too!) for the choosing. We thought we’d shine a little light their way and show you some of their greatest offerings right now.
This month, our Wine Geeks focus on the always wonderful wines coming out of Tuscany.
Three letters come to mind when we think about summer: B-B-Q.
With smoky, rich, sultry summer flavors on our mind, we set out to create an event that combined all of our favorite elements of these sunny, warmer months: games, drinks, friends and family, and, of course, delicious BBQ. With that, our first ever BBQ & Grilling Festival was born, and we couldn’t have had more fun if we tried!
We want to thank each and every one of you for coming out, checking out great vendors from inside the store and throughout Southwest Ohio, and enjoying delicious craft beer from our friends at Municipal Brew Works with us. We hope you enjoyed all of the awesome BBQ, music, and games as much as we did!
Check out some photos from the day, as well as a little video recap of the afternoon’s festivities - just don’t watch on an empty stomach!
Catch the rest of the photos on Events at the Jungle on Facebook!
A 10-year Anniversary is a big deal, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate 10 years of our International Wine Festival with you. Filled with wine from all over the world, bite size delicacies, charcuterie and more, our 2017 festival will be an intimate, elegant, and exciting two night event.
Lively and vibrant, our International Wine Festival brings education and leisure together as we welcome those new to wine and connoisseurs alike to the Oscar Event Center. After all, we’re pouring and enjoying over 400 wines from more than 90 wineries, and we want everyone to sip, savor and experience these incredible creations in the best way possible.
As with our previous wine festivals, we’re offering two ticketing options, either of which promise an exceptionally entertaining evening. We want you to pick your own wine adventure, and let us be the guides.
For those looking for a simple, but no less lavish experience, our Grand Tasting option will make for something truly memorable. Enjoy Food Pairings by Country, wine samples from all of the wineries in the Grand Hall, as well as a commemorative 2017 Wine Festival glass and Tasting Guide.
Our Connoisseur ticket is your gateway to a night of wine and revelry, blending elements of our Grand Tasting ticket with so much more. A special Dinner By The Bite prepared by our talented in-house Chef at the Oscar Kitchen awaits, as well as exclusive wine samples and access to our Oscar Bar. Take home a commemorative 2017 Wine Festival glass, as well as our indispensable Tasting Guide.
And don’t worry, there’s a Non-Drinker option, as well, for those who simply want to enjoy the company of family and friends. Enjoy the charcuterie and snacks available, as well as water, coffee, and soda.
For those who attend and are a part of our Wine Passport e-newsletter program, we’re proud to offer our Buyer’s Club, which you you can use to order the wines you like most, then pick them up from either Jungle Jim’s location to keep the good times rolling at home. Think of it as your very own, year ‘round Wine Festival. And it all starts here.
Much like a bottle of wine, our International Wine Festival is best shared with friends and family. There’s a story to every bottle, and a smile for every sip. Let’s raise a glass together, and toast 10 years of fine wine and even finer company. Salud!
It’s already time to think about summer winding down as the colorful and cool days of fall arrive.
Dave Schmerr’s wine tastings had a breakout favorite with Wine and Small Bites. It was so well received that we now offer two different dates and two different menus for you to enjoy this fall. Our students raved about the delicious small bites of food with wines paired specifically to them. Look for these classes with The Tasting Room logo.
We are pleased to offer a Beer and Food class with Daniel Schmerr of Sonder Brewing in Mason. Daniel is certified as a Sommelier and has completed the first level of Cicerone Certification for beer professionals. Daniel and I have put together a pairing menu that is sure to please any beer lover!
The Fall brochure always features our holiday classes and this year is no exception. For those of you who make the cookie, gifts from the kitchen and hor’s d'oeuvres classes an annual event, you will not be disappointed. We are thankful to be a part of your holiday plans and hope the recipes from our classes will make your holiday menus bright and tasty.
Take a look at just some of our classes coming up next month - there’s sure to be something to pique your interest and get you excited to step into the kitchen with us. Just click the name of the class you’re interested in to purchase tickets!
Hands-On Class: Hands - On Salmon on the Grill
Thursday, September 21 | 6:00 - 8:30pm
With Ellen Mueller
Conquer your fear of grilling fish! Join Ellen on our indoor patio for a lesson in grilling salmon. This delectable menu is a perfect introduction to grilling fish and enjoying a dinner highlighting its goodness.
The Tasting Room - European Wine and Small Bites
Saturday, September 23 | 1:00 - 3:00pm
With Dave Schmerr and Leigh Barnhart Ochs
Our Winter small bites class received rave reviews, so Dave and Leigh have created another new tasting menu that pairs five of Leigh’s appetizers along with ten of Dave’s European wine picks. A great way to learn about and enjoy food and wine pairings.
A Tour of Asia
Tuesday, September 26 | 6:00 - 8:30pm
With Rob Seideman
Take a culinary tour of Asia with Rob! Fragrant and vibrant, the flavors of Asia are a treat to the palate. Rob’s many fans have come to expect an evening of information, entertainment and delicious food. You won’t want to miss it!
Hands-On Class: Hands-On Grilled Beef Tenderloin Satay
Thursday, September 28 | 6:00 - 8:30pm
With Ellen Mueller
Journey to far away places for a flavor extravaganza! A bright and tasty menu features a colorful and healthy plate that will impress guests and family alike. Only the freshest ingredients will do!
The Tasting Room - Napa Valley Cabernets
Saturday, September 30 | 1:00 - 3:00pm
With Dave Schmerr
Napa Valley has been on a hot streak lately and today we will try 10 reds from all over this spectacular wine district. 2013 through 2015 will be highlighted.
For a full list of upcoming classes, be sure to check out our calendar of classes on the Cooking School website. We hope to see you soon!
Leigh Barnhart Ochs
Cooking School Director