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The Beer Circle » Bars, J. Gilberts, Tastings » Oktoberfest @ J. Gilbert’s

Oktoberfest @ J. Gilbert’s

Last night, I had the opportunity to be the beer expert at J. Gilbert’s version of Oktoberfest. J. Gilbert’s is a steakhouse located in McLean, Virginia, and puts on various alcohol and food pairings each month. With Oktoberfest starting this weekend, the theme was set. I had never been the emcee of a beer tasting–I’ve more just partaken and occasionally only salivated at the menus–so this was a unique chance to test my knowledge of Germany’s rich beer history.

We started off with a meet and great featuring Hoffbrau’s Oktoberfest, fitting as Hofbrau is one of the breweries lucky enough to send its beer to the famed Oktoberfest tents. The beer was paired with hot pretzels and house-made mustard, and really got the evening off on the right foot. We then moved to the dining room, where Paulaner’s Hefeweizen was paired with knockwurst and my knowledge was first put to the test. The setup was mirrored after the many I had attended in the past, with a twist. I introduced the beer and the brewery that made it and then allowed the patrons to ask any questions they’d like. To get the conversation going, we placed question cards on each table and gave the other guests a chance to answer the stock questions, as many had traveled to Munich in the past.

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With the tasting in full swing, we moved to pork with sauerkraut, paired with Ayinger’s Brau Weisse. As you can see in the some of the pictures above, the food portions at this event were ridiculous! I was getting pretty full by this point, but decided that there was too much delicious German food ahead of me to give up now.

I powered through to Schneider Weisse original, paired with a beautiful sausage and was able to give some history and answer a few more questions in between. We covered a lot of history over the course of the evening, but focused on the basics: Bavarian Purity Law, Chronology of German breweries, styles of beers, ingredients, brewing processes, and, of course, Oktoberfest itself. We also indulged the audience with somewhat of a show, demonstrating how to properly pour a hefeweizen, which, admittedly, I have failed at far more times than I succeeded. Luckily, we had a seasoned pro on hand who was able to complete the task on his first attempt. Here’s a video in case you’re interested in learning as well:

The final beer and food pairing of the evening was the one that had me the most excited: Weihenstephaner Korbinian paired with a hot apple strudel and vanilla ice cream. I could have eaten this for days. The stout-like qualities of the German dopplebock and the sweet apple and ice cream combination was a perfect pairing and many compliments were given to the chef.

Overall the event was a great success. Many thanks to Anne and the rest of the J. Gilbert’s crew for letting me participate! I hope that we’ll be able to do it again soon!

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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