Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/27/2013 11:48 AM

Local brewers put own stamp on Oktoberfest beer

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The Lucky Monk's Oktoberfest beer is meant to be paired with German food at the South Barrington eatery.

       The Lucky Monk's Oktoberfest beer is meant to be paired with German food at the South Barrington eatery.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • In a nod to the beer's origins, the Oktoberfest at The Lucky Monk in South Barrington is brewed with malt from Munich.

       In a nod to the beer's origins, the Oktoberfest at The Lucky Monk in South Barrington is brewed with malt from Munich.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • The Lucky Monk's Oktoberfest offerings include in-house brewed Oktoberfest lager, wurste, a sweet pretzel and German pizza.

       The Lucky Monk's Oktoberfest offerings include in-house brewed Oktoberfest lager, wurste, a sweet pretzel and German pizza.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • In a nod to the beer's origins, the Oktoberfest at The Lucky Monk in South Barrington is brewed with malt from Munich.

       In a nod to the beer's origins, the Oktoberfest at The Lucky Monk in South Barrington is brewed with malt from Munich.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
By Samantha Nelson
Daily Herald Correspondent

Oktoberfest started with a wedding -- and grew into something much more.

In 1810, the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the wedding of the crown prince of Bavaria. The citywide celebration turned into a tradition that spread from Germany throughout the world. Running for 16 days from late September through early October, Oktoberfest marks the start of fall with parades, music, traditional food and, most importantly, Oktoberfest beer.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Local breweries are just starting to tap their versions of the traditional beer, and they all have different views on what makes the drink great.

"A good Oktoberfest beer has to be heavy and keep you warm on a brisk fall day," said Ryan Gathman, service manager of Emmett's Brewing Company in West Dundee. He described Emmett's version as malty with a toasted bread flavor, hints of caramel and a balancing bitterness topped by a dense, cream-colored head.

Brewers at The Lucky Monk in South Barrington stress the connection to Germany by brewing theirs with malt imported from Munich, creating a sweet brew with minimal hop flavor. The brewery is also serving bottles of Spaten, Leinenkugel and Stevens Point's Oktoberfest beers.

"All Oktoberfest beers are a lager," said Jori Geanconteri, marketing and events coordinator. "They're clean and crisp, yet you get the fall feeling with it."

Justin Kipp, assistant manager of Rock Bottom Brewery in Lombard, said Oktoberfest beers should be well-balanced and that the Rocktoberfest is a traditional version that blends a toasted malt flavor with a subtle hop finish.

At Ram Restaurant & Brewery in Rosemont, you'll find an amber-colored Oktoberfest that's a bit more on the malty side, with enough hops to keep that flavor from being overpowering.

"Every Oktoberfest beer follows a base recipe, but it's all about the one or two differences that you put in that makes a beer different," said bar manager Mike Zajac. "We just do a little bit more on the sweeter side."

At Emmett's the head chef and head brewmaster got together to plan a menu of classic German fare that brings out the taste of the Oktoberfest beer. Throughout October, they're running specials including Wiener schnitzel, a lightly breaded veal cutlet topped with lemon butter and served with beer-braised sauerkraut, and Oktoberfest-poached salmon fillet served with maple-pecan butter.

"(Oktoberfest beer has) got to pair well with some nice German food," Gathman said. "It's got to be able to wash down sauerkraut and Wiener schnitzel."

Geanconteri agreed that "what's really important about Oktoberfest beer is how it pairs with food." Through Sept. 29, The Lucky Monk is serving a special menu including potato pancakes, jagerschnitzel and German pizza made with rosemary potatoes and sausage.

"You've got certain German spices that are used, and the beer doesn't overwhelm them," she said. "With the Oktoberfest beer, you sip that, you get all that sweet malt flavor, and it just complements it really well and gets you ready for the next bite."

Rock Bottom is also serving an Oktoberfest menu including baby bratwurst, a sausage platter with braised red cabbage and apple cinnamon strudel. Along with being traditional, Kipp said German food is also great for fall.

"It's comfort food," he said.

If you're not a fan of sausage or schnitzel, you still have plenty of pairing options. Zajac recommends having a glass with jambalaya, baby back ribs or a barbecue meatloaf sandwich, and Geanconteri said Oktoberfest also pairs with burgers and pizzas. Whatever you're eating, Geanconterri said the tapping of Oktoberfest beers gives friends a chance to gather together after their busy summers.

"It gets you ready for fall," she said. "It gets you ready for the cooler weather."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.