Friday, September 18, 2009

Beer Of The Week (Vol XXIV)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the clean and articulate people at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who believe that alcohol is the best medicine. That's a health care proposal that I think we can all get behind.

The Who - Substitute Lyrics:

Substitute me for him
Substitute my coke for gin
Substitute you for my mum
At least I'll get my washing done

The role of a substitute is almost never an easy one whether as in the classroom, on a Broadway stage, on the television screen, or in a cup of coffee. You have to live up to the often unrealistic expectations that have developed about the one you're replacing and live with the inevitable comparisons.

Sometimes the substitute proves to be superior to the original as in the case of Mike Nelson replacing Joel Hodgson on MST3K. Sometimes the change proves to be a miserable failure as when Coy and Vance replaced Bo and Luke on The Dukes of Hazzard.

My favorite fall seasonal beer used to be Summit's Dusseldorfer Alt. It was a good example of the unique and relatively uncommon (at least outside of Germany) beer style:

Altbier (often abbreviated to Alt) is the name given to a form of German top-fermenting beer that originated in Westphalia and spread to parts of the Rhineland later.

The name Altbier, which literally means old [style] beer, refers to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top-fermenting yeast like British pale ales. Over time the Alt yeast adjusted to lower temperatures, and the Alt brewers would store or lager the beer after fermentation, leading to a cleaner, crisper beer than is the norm for an ale.

So I was shocked and saddened some years ago when Summit pulled their Alt from the fall lineup and replaced it with an Oktoberfest Marzen. Now, Summit's Oktoberfest (this week's Beer of the Week if you haven't already figured it out) is a perfectly capable fall offering and I happen to find it quite good. But there's a lot of Oktoberfests out there and not so many Alts. So every September, when the beers of fall come around I found myself pining for the original Summit seasonal and wondering what might have been. Sigh.

Anyway, on to the review.

Standard Summit stout brown bottle. Brown Summit label with logo and beer title in classic font set against orange background.

Beer Style: Oktoberfest Marzen

Alcohol by Volume: 7.4%

COLOR (0-2): Very clear, light copper brown. 2

AROMA (0-2): Malt with light caramel. 1

HEAD (0-2): Off white in color. Thick with good lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Malt flavors with more noticeable hops than most Marzens. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Long-lasting, but a little harsh. 1

OVERALL (0-6): A nice, well-rounded Oktoberfest beer. Good, strong flavor that packs a punch. It may not be a perfect replacement for the Dusseldorfer Alt, but as substitutes go this isn't too shabby a one. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 13

By the way, if you get a chance to snag some Summit Kolsch while it's still available in stores, I'd strongly encourage you to do so. Good stuff.

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