Germania Park in Rockaway, NJ had its annual Oktoberfest celebration on September 20 – 21. It’s the first time I’ve been to this event, but locals tell me they’ve been coming for traditional German dishes, beer and music for years. The cash-only event will set you back $5 for adults plus food and drinks. Wine and spirits are available for purchases in addition to beer, but who celebrates Oktoberfest with wine? Not this girl. Hofbrau, Ramstein and Yuengling were available on tap for $5 and food ranged from about $4-$10.
Tip: This event uses $1 tickets as currency to speed up wait time for beers and brats. I didn’t see an ATM on site, so I recommend bringing cash and getting in the ticket line ASAP because it got a bit long at times. Note: If you have left over tickets at the end of the night, you can sell your tickets back.
Hofbräu Oktoberfest (6.3% ABV): This Marzen/Oktoberfest brewed by Hofbräu München in Munich pours a clear cinnamon brown with a thick, two-finger white head. The malty aroma has notes of bread, caramel and floral hops. Hofbräu Oktoberfest starts off with bitter hoppiness followed by rich, bready, caramel and a bit of sweetness. The flavors commingle to create a clean finish that will have you reaching for another beer all night. This is a traditional representation of the style that I look forward to every September.
Ramstein Oktoberfest (6% ABV): This Marzen/Oktoberfest, only available on draft for a limited time (September 1 – October 31), is brewed by High Point Brewing Company in Butler, NJ. It pours cloudy amber brown with a thin, light brown head. Ramstein Oktoberfest has a nice nose of cinnamon, nutmeg and malt with a bit of orange zest underneath. The flavor profile is all bready malt and sweet caramel with a bit of subtle bitterness to balance the flavor that finishes dry. This brew was a bit heavy compared to other beers in this style, but will appeal to those who like a slightly sweeter marzen.
Saucony Hop Suplex Ale (10% alcohol): This spring seasonal Imperial IPA from Saucony Brewing Company in Kutztown, Pennsylvania pours a cloudy russet brown with an off-white head that doesn’t last, but leaves decent lacing. The aroma is distinctively floral hops with notes of citrus and sweet melon along with malt undertones. The six hop varieties that Hop Suplex is brewed with lend themselves to the overall flavor; bitter hoppiness cleanses the palate and paves the way for sweet honey citrus finished with malt flavors. The depth and complexity of the flavors are worth trying. Plus, the label is cute 🙂
Epic Sour Apple Saison (8.1% alcohol): This beer from Epic Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah pours a translucent, light yellow – almost the color of straw – with a white head that dissipates quickly. Tart apple can be picked up by the nose immediately, but I also noticed a bit of earthy spiciness, most noticeably clove? Sour Apple Saison definitely lives up to its name. This beer is brewed with Weyermann pilsner malt, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and other spices. As for flavor, the overall sourness dominates. However, I really enjoyed this brew. It was quite different than some of the other saisons I’ve had in the past as well as the sour beers I’ve tried (all on draft). Most of the sour beers I’ve tried are too sour. Epic Brewing did a fantastic job of balancing out the sourness as well as masking the high alcohol content of this beer. I would have guessed it had an ABV of 5%, but I was clearly wrong when I discovered it had more than 8% ABV. There are different batches of this beer, and some of them have 8.4% ABV, so take a look at which batch you are buying. Overall, I enjoyed this beer and would purchase it again. I found the sourness a bit overpowering after the first glass, so I would definitely recommend buying this to share! Cheers
Magic Hat Elder Betty (5.5% alcohol): This weiss-style ale from Magic Hat Brewing Company, based in South Burlington, Vermont, pours a hazy, golden-orange with a small, off-white head that dissipates quickly. Although this brew is hazy, it is not quite as cloudy as traditional hefeweizens. Elder Betty has a refreshing aroma of sweet and tangy elderberries and a bit of wheat. However, it smells much sweeter than it tastes. The elderberry is noticeable at first sip, but breadiness and a bit of bitterness comes through at the end to balance out the overall flavor. Elder Betty is a good, flavorful beer, yet light and refreshing at the same time. I purchased this brew on the clearance rack of my local liquor store for $1. This is not my favorite beer, but honestly, I was a bit disappointed I didn’t buy more. Plus, I really like the graphics on the label! Recommendation – Try it!
I didn’t know really know what an elderberry was besides the fact that is was a berry, so if you want to know more, click here!