As the days get shorter and the weather cools down, it’s time to grab a sweater and a beer stein and head out to Oktoberfest. Kojo explores the seasonal beers on tap in our region, from pie-in-a-bottle pumpkin beer to the crisp, refreshing flavors of Oktoberfest-style beer.

Guests

  • Max Eggerl Owner, Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden
  • Greg Engert Beer Director, Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Transcript

  • 13:26:18

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt began as a wedding celebration in October of 1810 when the crown prince of Bavaria got married and invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities. They had so much they decided to celebrate every fall. 200 years later, the festival called Oktoberfest is still going strong, not only in Germany but here in the Washington region as well. and that means it's time to talk about fall beers, those made especially for Oktoberfest and those made with seasonal ingredients.

  • 13:26:49

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFall beers come in several styles, from pumpkin beer that almost tastes like a pie in a bottle to harvest ales made with hops so fresh they don't have time to dry. With Oktoberfest kicking off across the area we'll explore the flavors and textures of fall beers and the places that you can go to sample them. joining us in studio is Greg Engert, he is beer director with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which owns some well known beer centric restaurants like Church Key and Rustico. Greg Engert, good to see you again.

  • 13:27:19

    MR. GREG ENGERTAlways a pleasure.

  • 13:27:20

    NNAMDIAlso in studio with us is Max Eggerl. He is owner of Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden in Jessup, Md. Max, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:27:29

    MR. MAX EGGERLThanks, Kojo. Good to see you again.

  • 13:27:31

    NNAMDIIf you want to talk beer, call us at 800-433-8850. What's your favorite seasonal beer? You can send email to kojo@wamu.org. Greg, seasonal fall beer goes back to the days before refrigeration when you couldn't brew beer year around because, well, it wouldn't stay fresh. Talk about the early brewing season and why it made people eager for autumn ales.

  • 13:27:55

    ENGERTWell, it really goes back to the fact that, you know, beginning in the Middle Ages under the feudal period they started to restrict when you could brew. If you brew in the summertime and you are naturally kind of leaving your beer out to cool after the boil, you're leaving it out for a lot of possible infection. And so a lot of the early, kind of, beer coercion laws to kind of restrict when you could brew left you brewing in the fall through the early spring and you couldn't brew in the summer.

  • 13:28:22

    ENGERTSo a number of communities would lay down beer in underground caves with ice picked from the rivers in the previous winter so that they insured to have some beer available throughout the summer. I mean, you know, this is a time before water was potable so they relied on beer and grain communities for hydration. And so that's where the Oktoberfest or Mariten style falls in.

  • 13:28:44

    ENGERTBeers brewed in March or März, in German, laid down in these caves to be consumed throughout the summer when brewing was really not going to happen as much. And then typically when you got to the fall people would start brewing fresh beer, which everyone would want to drink because no matter how well kept, by fall these beers would start to get really sour and unpalatable.

  • 13:29:06

    ENGERTAnd so it's not unlikely to think that they would kind of dump the remaining beers for these various harvest parties and we think that that's where the Oktoberfest kind of, beer connection began.

  • 13:29:17

    NNAMDIMax Eggerl, you're the third generation in your family to own and operate Blob's Park in Jessup and Blob's Park claims to have held the first Oktoberfest in the United States. Tell us about it.

  • 13:29:29

    EGGERLWell, in 1947 and this has been authenticated by the Smithsonian, my Uncle Max "Blob" was operating the facility then and a German immigrant who came over to do ornamental stonework on the Jefferson Memorial evidentially decided to have an Oktoberfest. He was a member of the Washington Sängerbund, which is like a German social club. And he contacted my Uncle Max and had the first Oktoberfest in America in, at Blob's Park at the Forum and Beer Hall in Jessup, Md.

  • 13:30:06

    NNAMDIAnd the rest, as they say...

  • 13:30:08

    EGGERLThe rest is history.

  • 13:30:09

    NNAMDI...is history. You import a lot of German beers for Oktoberfest. What are some of your favorites and what do you like about them?

  • 13:30:16

    EGGERLWell, I was telling Greg earlier my favorite beer that I've come across a few years ago is a Schniederwiesen, a Hopfen Weizen. The brewer, head brewer from the Brooklyn Brewery, I guess about five years ago went to Bavaria and collaborated with the Schnieder people who make a wonderful wheat beer and he infused hops into their wheat beer and they market it as a Hopfen Weizen. It's a big beer, it's an 8.2 percent and it has, runs the whole gamut in flavors.

  • 13:30:51

    EGGERLYou get the banana fruits and the wheat beer and then you get the hops and every sip is a delight. I've turned probably hundred people onto that beer in the last couple of years and I haven't had one complaint yet.

  • 13:31:03

    NNAMDIAnd you know if Max turns you on, it's got to be good because Blob's Park has 90 German beers year around, is that correct?

  • 13:31:11

    EGGERLWell, we have 90 beers, they're not all German, but the majority of them are and it's the place to go to sample some fine beers.

  • 13:31:21

    NNAMDI800-433-8850, what's your favorite spot to enjoy Oktoberfest? You can also go to our website, kojoshow.org, and join the conversation there. until recently or relatively recently, German law said beer could only be made with water, hops and malt. What are the rules now and how do German beers differ from those in other parts of the world, Greg?

  • 13:31:46

    ENGERTWell, I think, you know, back, Reinheitsgebot is the law that's probably the most famous of the regulatory beer laws to occur back in the old days. But there's one of many that happened. Back then they did declare in Bavaria that beer could only be made with hops, water and barley of course, yeast hadn't been discovered yet. So they weren't sure about that but now that was added in. So in Germany this purity law has persisted and it's certainly what German beer is known primarily, although things are beginning to change.

  • 13:32:21

    ENGERTThe rest of the world has not been, you know, privy to those laws so we have a lot more experimentation particularly in the American brewing scene.

  • 13:32:29

    NNAMDI800-433-8850, Greg you said there are three styles of autumn beers. Let's start with what people refer to as Oktoberfest beers. How are they made and how do they taste?

  • 13:32:43

    ENGERTSo Oktoberfest beers are, today, they are typically slightly stronger, lagers, so crisp and refreshing. They tend to have a good bit of an amber malt quality to them. Vienna malt that gives it a little bit of a melonadion quality, a toasty note, typically around six percent or so. Now, when you go to Munich, if you go to the real Oktoberfest that occurs in Munich yearly, those beers tend to be a little bit paler.

  • 13:33:08

    ENGERTThe only six beers available at Oktoberfest are of the six breweries within the city limits of Munich. They tend to be a little bit more blond in color, a little bit more refreshing and crisp. But, you know, we kind of think that, you know, American craft brewers have revived a somewhat more classic style that's a little bit mulchier , a little bit toastier.

  • 13:33:26

    ENGERTBut truth be told, if you go back to the early 19th century when Oktoberfest styles were kind of being dumped on these party goers in the fall from the previous March brewed beer, they probably were brown in color slightly smoky because the grains employed to make the beer have been malted or dried over open fires and by the time you drank in the fall they probably would've been sour. So in many ways what we drink today is uber contemporary compared to the traditional.

  • 13:33:52

    NNAMDIIf you have a favorite beer for crisp September and October afternoons, give us a call, 800-433-8850. Are you a fan of German brews? What sets a German beer from a lager or seasonal beer brewed here in the U.S.A.? What sets the German beer apart? You might want to share your view, 800-433-8850. Do you have a favorite beer yourself, Greg, for crisp September or October afternoons?

  • 13:34:17

    ENGERTThat's a question, unsurprisingly, I get asked a lot. I don't have a particular favorite, although another one of the three that we talked about, that we're going to talk about, these kind of tumble beers are the truly most seasonal. These harvest ales, these wet or fresh hop beers, I really love those and those are starting to coming out now. So something that's crisp, delicately floral and fragrant and quite hoppy, made with fresh hops.

  • 13:34:42

    NNAMDIWhat's separates a wet hops beer versus a dry hop beer?

  • 13:34:48

    ENGERTWell, that's interesting. They're completely different. Wet hops is referring to hops that are cultivated in August and early September, straight directly off of the hop vine. And before they're dried, within 24 hours, they are so moist they are added to the beer. Now, if you waited past 24 hours the hops would begin to rot so typically hops are dried and then, you know, packaged and stored and shipped out and things like that.

  • 13:35:14

    ENGERTSo wet hops come right off the vine and go directly into the brew and the more wet a hop, the more fresh and delicately bitter it is. So it gives this wonderful seasonally fresh quality. Now, fresh hop ales are similar to that except that they are dried and then they get about a week before they go into the brew.

  • 13:35:31

    ENGERTThey're still very fresh and floral and delicate whereas dry hopping is actually, refers to a method by which you add hops to a beer after the beer's done fermenting. And this is just to give you aromas and that can be done with wet hops, with fresh hops or with hops that have been dried throughout the season.

  • 13:35:48

    NNAMDIWe're talking with Greg Engert. He is beer director with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group that owns some of the better known beer centric restaurants in this area like Church Key and Rustico. And Max Eggerl is owner of Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden in Jessup, Md. They both join us in studio. You too can join the conversation by calling 800-433-8850. here is George in Washington D.C. George, you're on the air, go ahead please.

  • 13:36:18

    GEORGEHi, Kojo. I was recently in Pittsburgh and went to a German beer hall put together by Hofbrau House and I noticed that they also have facilities in Las Vegas and several other places and I was wondering if your guests might want to comment on that sort of movement happening in the United States?

  • 13:36:41

    NNAMDIThe German Beer Hall, are you familiar with this, Greg?

  • 13:36:45

    ENGERTYes, I mean, there's -- I mean, obviously Bob's Park is a great example of beer halls and then...

  • 13:36:50

    NNAMDII was about to get to Max.

  • 13:36:50

    ENGERTYeah, they've been big everywhere, but I think what the caller is probably referring to more specifically is the fact that Hofbrau, out of Munich, one of the six original, one of the six purveyors of beers at Oktoberfest annually, has this presence in America with kind of themed, you know, beer halls. Which is really cool, it's very interesting. But it's something that's going on across the industry. We actually, there's a Belgian brewery called St. Bernardis that recently opened its own Belgian Beer Bar in Tokyo of all places and has actually brewed a beer to honor that. It's called Tokyo by St. Bernardis. So I think it's something you're seeing for some of the larger, well known, international breweries.

  • 13:37:36

    NNAMDIYes, but Max, we're thinking of this as a very hip thing that a lot of young people are getting into now. Your family has been doing this for three generations. Tell us about how it's been changing?

  • 13:37:46

    EGGERLWell, yes, it started in 1933. Back to the caller, I've been at the Hofbrau House in Vegas and they do a pretty authentic job of replicating the Hofbrau House in Munich. They bring bands over from Germany for six or eight week periods and so they have authentic entertainment and Hofbrau is a very good brew and as a sidebar to that, Hofbrau's never been available, at least to my knowledge and my history, hasn't been available in Maryland, but it's two to four weeks away from becoming available and we're signed up to be one of the first purveyors of Hofbrau as soon as it hits the...

  • 13:38:30

    NNAMDIYou'll be able to get it at Blob's Park Bavarian Beer. On now to Nancy, in Silver Spring, Md. Nancy, you're on the air, go ahead, please.

  • 13:38:40

    NANCYHello, Kojo, I wanted to congratulate you first on really getting the right word on Oktoberfest in the Washington area. My husband and I, Frank Pearce, wrote a history of the Washington Saengerbund and that story is in it and I've waltzed many waltzes and I've polka out at Blob's, but aside from that, (word?) and Old Max did get together and they did start the first Oktoberfest and that's all I wanted to comment that it even makes your show more authentic to me. I listen to it every day.

  • 13:39:17

    NNAMDIThe Uncle Max Story. Thank you very much for...

  • 13:39:20

    NANCYThank you very, very much.

  • 13:39:21

    NNAMDIThank you very...

  • 13:39:22

    NANCYAnd that was (word?) with him. I'm sure that was the name, yeah.

  • 13:39:24

    EGGERLThat's correct.

  • 13:39:25

    NANCYOkay, thank you very much.

  • 13:39:29

    NNAMDIYou're more than welcome. Greg, pumpkin beer is popular at this time of year. Talk about its early American origins.

  • 13:39:35

    ENGERTSo when, you know, when settlers first started coming over to America what they encountered was terrain that really wasn't great for grain growing and there wasn't a tradition of grain growing going on there. And so if they wanted to produce beer, you know, as they did, because again water was potable, they would have to rely on beer shipped from overseas from England or get malts from overseas which would be heavily taxed.

  • 13:40:02

    ENGERTSo naturally they turned to other forms of fermentables and so, you know, this is why they were brewing with corn and making cider from apples but also utilizing gourds of any kind, squashes and yams and then pumpkins as well. So it was a big thing back in the day. It was utilized to make cocktails with rum. It was thought to be a sort of healthful tonic, and even back then in the 17th century and in beginning into the 18th, they were utilizing spices to kind of -- in fact, I think more to overwhelm the flavor of the pumpkin. That wasn't actually that sought after.

  • 13:40:36

    ENGERTSo that's really kind of how it started. In the 19th century, things waned. Moving westward, malt and grain were more available, and it -- pumpkin ale started to be kind of quaint and rustic. So it definitely fell off in the 19th century, but of course now it's back with a vengeance.

  • 13:40:53

    NNAMDIDoes it really have fresh pumpkin in it? Do you have to like sweet beer to enjoy it?

  • 13:40:58

    ENGERTWell, on the fresh pumpkin front, I would say that almost every pumpkin ale does not have fresh pumpkin in it, and that's particularly notable when you're talking about the fact that they come out in July and August now. So most pumpkins are still in the ground or just coming out. Some brewers are moving towards fresh pumpkin ale -- or fresh pumpkins in their ale. But when you consider the fact that the spices are such a huge component, the allspice, the nutmeg, the cinnamon, the clove, the freshness of the pumpkin isn't as important really when you're utilizing it just for a sugar source for the yeast to get the alcohol up.

  • 13:41:31

    ENGERTAnd while many pumpkin ales are somewhat sweet, I would say that they're more spiced in that they do in fact taste more like pumpkin pie than like pumpkins.

  • 13:41:40

    NNAMDIAnd what is this that you've brought for me that has the name Imperial PumKing, K-I-N-G?

  • 13:41:46

    ENGERTYeah. Well, that's an annual favorite of many people. It's called PumKing and it's from Southern Tier Brewing Company in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, and the definitely a very kind of American craft brewed version of the pumpkin style, because American craft brewers do still love to go big. And so, you know, it's over eight percent alcohol, and what I love about that beer is while yes, it does have the pumpkin pie flavors to it, it's super complex. It's like the ultimate dessert beer.

  • 13:42:13

    ENGERTYou get whiffs of whipped cream and sugar cookie, and even like a graham cracker crust. To me it's perhaps the most complete, you know, iteration of this pumpkin pie in a glass.

  • 13:42:24

    NNAMDIMax Eggerl, Blob's Park carries on the tradition of serving German food to go with the German beer. Talk about pairing food with beer.

  • 13:42:33

    EGGERLWell, we have -- we have four types of German sausages. We have the bratwurst, the knockwurst, a baronwurst, which is a farmer's sausage. It's a smoked beef sausage. And the third one, the knockwurst, is a beef sausage as well, with a little bit of garlic flavoring in it.

  • 13:42:56

    NNAMDIRed cabbage potato salad?

  • 13:42:57

    EGGERLRed cabbage potato salad, sauerkraut, yeah. I have to tell you, the potato salad that we make at Blob's Park is still made every Wednesday among by my 90-year-old aunt Anna who comes in at 6:30 in the morning faithfully, and we work together a half a day doing the dumplings and potato salad, and it's what keeps her alive. She's an amazing, amazing woman.

  • 13:43:24

    NNAMDIShe's in her tenth decade.

  • 13:43:25

    EGGERLAbsolutely.

  • 13:43:26

    NNAMDIAnd still working.

  • 13:43:27

    EGGERLYes, she is. Yes, she is.

  • 13:43:28

    NNAMDIThat is amazing. Talk about how this food pairs with beer, Greg, because we've taking foods with a lot of acids in them.

  • 13:43:35

    ENGERTNo. Yeah. Exactly. And that's actually a key point. Now, one of the biggest Achilles heel for beer pairing is bitterness, and it's funny because most people love IPA is and pale ales, and those really hoppy craft beers, but they're not great for food pairing, because bitterness with overwhelm a lot of things on your palate, unless they're really, really rich in protein like aged cheeses or really hefty meats and things like that.

  • 13:43:57

    ENGERTBut also, bitterness and acid do not mix. So that's one of the beautiful things about Oktoberfest styles. They are crisp and refreshing. They can watch away intense flavors. They can open up the food to insist that the beer gets tasted in congress with the dish, but also they have that great toasted sweetness, so they're going to go with any method of grilling, any method of caramelization, and the sweetness is going to play a nice thing against the acidity you'd find in the red cabbage or the potato salad or things like that.

  • 13:44:24

    NNAMDIGot to take a short break. When we come back, we will continue this Oktoberfest and seasonal beer conversation. If you have already called, stay on the line. Looks like all the lines are tied up. You might want to send us an email to kojo@wamu.org or send us a tweet @kojoshow, or if you try the number again you might get through. 800-433-8850. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:46:37

    NNAMDIWelcome back. Oktoberfest is on us, so we're talk being seasonal beers with Greg Engert, beer director with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, and Max Eggerl, owner of Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden in Jessup, Md. We'll go directly to the phones and Will in Vienna, Va. Will, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:46:56

    WILLWell, thank you Kojo, and thanks for taking my call. I've listened -- it keeps me -- your station, the interest that it generates keeps me -- I'm on the road a lot, and it's quite a companion. But getting down to the business of Oktoberfest, I've been going to Blob's Park in Jessup -- I'm 61 years old, and I can remember going with my parents when I was eight, nine, or ten years old. And so over the years I've been in and out, you know, you get around.

  • 13:47:24

    WILLThe last few years, Max has really made a difference down there. For a while it got a little sleepy, but he's really revived the place. It's vibrant. If you like to even try your step at dancing, there's always somebody there that will help you. There's no rowdiness, it's a good time.

  • 13:47:40

    NNAMDIWell, I've got some news for you, Will, because Max can tell you who will be there tonight for you to dance to. Max?

  • 13:47:48

    EGGERLYeah, Will. We've got a German -- a group of German musicians that have been touring the east coast for a week or two, and last weekend, they were in Philadelphia. They were in the (word?) parade, and they played the opening ceremonies at the stadium for the Philadelphia Phillies, and tonight they're going to be at Blob's Park at six o'clock. They're coming in and they're going to perform down there. So we're going to be open on a Wednesday night which is a little unusual for us, but we're hoping to get a good crowd out there to experience these great music these fellows are going to perform.

  • 13:48:24

    NNAMDIAs you say, Will, Max has been spicing it up. Any more comments, Will?

  • 13:48:28

    WILLYeah. And it's plenty of parking, you know. If you're used to this area, parking's always a problem. They can probably park 500 cars there.

  • 13:48:36

    NNAMDIOkay.

  • 13:48:36

    WILLSo that's not an issue. One more thing.

  • 13:48:38

    NNAMDISure.

  • 13:48:38

    WILLI got to Max this personally. Do you have (word?) on tap or in the box?

  • 13:48:46

    EGGERLNo. We're not going to have it on tap, but I was talking earlier with Kojo and Greg, Hofbrau, which has not been available in Maryland, is coming out in two or three weeks, and it's going to be distributed in Maryland, and we're going to be one of the first places to have it on tap as soon as it comes out.

  • 13:49:02

    NNAMDIWhy was it not available?

  • 13:49:04

    EGGERLNo distributor picked it up. I don't know what held it up, but I'm really looking forward to getting it on tap out there.

  • 13:49:12

    NNAMDIAnd Will, thank you very much for your call. We move on to Clay in Washington DC. Clay, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:49:20

    CLAYThanks Kojo, and thanks for taking my call. I've been hosting Oktoberfest for over 20 years now in Washington. Started back in '91 at my row house on Capitol Hill, and was taught by a friend of mine who was from Milwaukee sort of how to put the event together. I've ordered a (word?) sausage from Milwaukee. They'll ship it overnight to you packed in dry ice. I'm up to about 60 pounds of that now. I go to the Heidelberg Bakery over in Arlington and get the potato salad, the sauerkraut, pretzels, and they have a delicious black forest cake over there, and set up a beer garden in my backyard, and invite about 200 people over to have a good time.

  • 13:49:55

    CLAYI'm wondering if your guests have any suggestions about how I can improve it, if there's anybody that knows of maybe a good oompa band in the area, and I'll take my call - take the answer off the air.

  • 13:50:04

    NNAMDIWait a minute. You can't take your answer off the air. I want to put you on hold and get your home address so I can drop by for your -- Max is holding up the same thing. He wants your address. Any suggestions at all that you could have?

  • 13:50:16

    ENGERTI mean, I'm not sure actually. I think -- Max do you know any good musicians you could recommend?

  • 13:50:22

    EGGERLYeah. Call me -- call me at the Park, and I'll give him a couple of names. It's really -- I get several calls a week this time of the year, people looking for German bands or, you know, someone to entertain at small parties. It's tough because this is their busiest time of the year as well. But if you give me a call, I'll hook you up with a couple of names you could reach out to, and hopefully they could get somebody for you.

  • 13:50:48

    NNAMDIClay, call Max Eggerl at Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden in Jessup and he might be able to help you. Thank you very much for your call. I have to ask you, Greg Engert, you have brought me something here called Original Hochzeitsbier, and it says Von 1810. Was this being drunk at the wedding celebration in 1810 for the Crown Prince of Bavaria?

  • 13:51:10

    ENGERTWell, that is the -- that's kind of what they're getting at on the label.

  • 13:51:14

    NNAMDIThat's the lore here, yes.

  • 13:51:15

    ENGERTYeah. That's from an Austrian brewery called Hoffstetner, and it's Hochzeitsbier, or wedding beer of 1810, which was the original wedding celebration that lead to Oktoberfest. But in fact research indicates that no beer was served, and really that the original Oktoberfest as we call it today was more of a -- just a folk festival, a celebration of the nuptials with lots of horse racing of all things, and it wasn't until 1814 that we know for sure that there was definitely a lot of beer being served, and being served actually in those half-liter kind of pewter-lidded steins that you see around today to keep the flies out.

  • 13:51:52

    ENGERTThey would have the lids on the steins. And then of course those dimpled glass mugs that -- half-liter mugs that we associate with German beer today, those didn't even come in until the end of the 19th century.

  • 13:52:02

    NNAMDIThank you. And here is Bobby in Washington D.C. Bobby, your turn.

  • 13:52:08

    BOBBYYes. Good day, Kojo. How's it -- show all the time. I haven't been a really heavy beer drinker, but as of late, I just wanted to tell my favorite German beer, Weyerbacher Heresy. It's a particular stout that has chocolate and coffee notes. I discovered at Brauhaus on South Street in Philadelphia around the time of Oktoberfest about two years ago. Sadly, they don't sell it anymore, but it is better than Guinness Stout.

  • 13:52:36

    NNAMDIOkay.

  • 13:52:37

    BOBBYAnd it terms of German beer, the only other beer that I tend to drink is Blue Moon, but I just wanted to say, you know, if there's gonna be beers like that at the garden, like Weyerbacher Heresy, or do you know of any place in the area that sells that because ever since they stopped carrying it, they said it wasn't selling much, it's kind of hard to find.

  • 13:52:56

    ENGERTWell, I would say that, well, I mean, first off, that is -- it's an American craft beer brew actually from Pennsylvania, Weyerbacher, but it is of German heritage. Dan Weirback's brewery is called Weyerbacher, and while Heresy might not be available around as much anymore, it's a wonderful beer, and there's plenty of imperial stouts. Obviously (unintelligible) , we stock lots of those different imperial stouts for any season actually, because they're not just released today.

  • 13:53:22

    ENGERTAnd if you're looking for something kind of akin to that with some great roasted chocolaty notes, there is a pumpkin ale of sorts brewed by Epic Brewing Company from Utah with DC Brau, and it's a -- it's called Fermentation Without Representation Ale. It is an imperial pumpkin porter. So it's kind of a spice porter, and great for this fall season as well.

  • 13:53:42

    NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Bobby. Max, what are some of your bigger sellers, the two or three biggest sellers at Blob's Park?

  • 13:53:51

    EGGERLOur biggest draft beer sellers are probably the Spaten Pils. It's a light, easy-to-drink beer, and then of course, this time of the year, people naturally tend to go to the Oktoberfests, and I have the Spaten Oktoberfest on draft. Spaten actually does export the Oktoberfest-style beer all year long, but the flavors really heat up this year and everybody jumps on the bandwagon to try the Oktoberfest.

  • 13:54:21

    NNAMDIAnn in Potomac, Md. Ann, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:54:25

    ANNHi, Kojo. I love your show. I've recently been diagnosed as celiac, which really puts a dent into the beer drinking. There are some beers that are made with sorghum and other ingredients. I wonder if your guests have tried any of these out and have any recommendations.

  • 13:54:45

    NNAMDII guess the yeast in beer is what aggravates people with celiac, right?

  • 13:54:49

    ENGERTWell, no. It's more the -- it's the gluten content that you find in barley and wheat and things like that. So what's cool now is the scene is blowing up. There's lot more gluten-free, or largely gluten-free beers. Some of the better ones are called greens, and they're actual Belgian. Those are excellent. Widmer just came out with their Omission Pale Ale and Omission Lager which are pretty good as well. But also, I always advocate, you know, we carry lots of these at our restaurants, but I also carry huge cider lists because ciders are amazing this time of year, and they also are gluten free.

  • 13:55:23

    ANNThank you.

  • 13:55:24

    NNAMDIAnn, thank you very much for your call. Onto Raphael in Silver Spring, Md. Raphael, you're on the air. Go ahead please.

  • 13:55:32

    RAPHAELHi, Kojo. Hey, thanks for putting me on the air, and I love your show by the way.

  • 13:55:35

    NNAMDIThank you.

  • 13:55:35

    RAPHAELHey, quick thing I want to talk about. I guess it's more of a comment, and I also have a question too. I notice, I guess in the past five, 10 years, the American like microbrewing industry has really exploded a lot, and it seems to be taking away some competition from like the big three companies that are out there. Now, I guess in regards to your panelists, or your guests, do they see the American microbrew like -- I guess brewing companies or whatever, see a surge in that still? Like will there be -- do you think the government's going to do any kind of regulation on allowing people to brew beer and maybe sell beer and all that good stuff?

  • 13:56:13

    NNAMDIGreg?

  • 13:56:14

    ENGERTI definitely hope there won't be any regulation on the expanse of this. We're -- craft beer is growing exponentially at this point, and taking market share away from the macro brewers. I continue to think this is going to continue for a very long time. You know, we have over 2,000 breweries in the U.S. now, the most since 1889, I think and also, you know, Neighborhood Restaurant Group, my group, is going to be jumping into the mix with Blue Jacket as a brewery restaurant and bar that we're opening down by the National Stadium in the spring of next year. So hopefully no regulation will get in the way of that.

  • 13:56:49

    NNAMDIAnd we got another email from someone who says, "Please ask your guest to comment on the quality of the new brewer starting up here in the DC area like Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Auburn, Va." Know anything about that?

  • 13:57:02

    ENGERTSo Lost Rhino makes phenomenal beers. You know, these are guys who brewed for a long time at Dominion Brewing Company before it closed and was relocated. So Lost Rhino makes great beers. Port City makes great beers. DC Brau makes great beers. We've got Three Stars Brewing Company just opening making great beers, and what's cool is that Lost Rhino and Port City both have Oktoberfest styles that are hyper fresh, and beers like this should be local and they should be fresh and refreshing and crisp, and so both those beers are wonderful.

  • 13:57:30

    NNAMDIRaphael, thank you very much for your call. A lot of local communities and area restaurants have Oktoberfest celebrations going on for the next couple of weeks. Of course, we've been talking to Max Eggerl for about what's happening at Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden, but in the 20 seconds or so we have left for people who are heading out to partake, what should they be sure not to miss?

  • 13:57:51

    ENGERTWell, I'd have to be a Homer on this one, but we have a giant beer festival coming to Yards Park near Navy Yard Metro. It's called Snallygaster. It's our Neighborhood Restaurant Group beer festival on October 13 beginning at noon and 1:00 p.m. going to 5:00 p.m. We're going to have over 150 different beers on hand. So definitely going to be great.

  • 13:58:10

    NNAMDIGreg Engert. He's beer director with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group which owns some well-known beercentric restaurants like Church Key and Rustico. Max Eggerl is owner of Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden in Jessup, Md. Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us, and thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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