Philly Oktoberfest.

The first Philly Oktoberfest yesterday clearly did not draw the crowd–not nearly the crowd–that the organizers had hoped it would. A lot of that, I suspect, had to do with starting late and then holding it on a weekend when there were considerable beer events of various sorts already scheduled. I hope they don’t get discouraged because I like the concept and the venue.

I arrived at the 23rd St. Armory right before noon, when the doors opened for the VIP session and found most of the Usual Suspects gathered by the Monk’s table where four rare German beers from the Shelton Brothers were being poured.

These were supposed to be a special treat at the event and I carefully wrote down the names of each and every one and now cannot read my own notes (George Hummel’s plan was to find them on the Shelton Brothers website…well, good luck with that). None of the four were particularly impressive, actually,  and the first, a Red/Blonde Lager was kinda nasty. There was a Klosterbier (cloister beer, one produced originally in a monastery or convent), a Keller Lager (best of the bunch) and a Helles Landbier (country beer).

I only stayed a couple of hours, leaving around 2pm to catch the train back home and watch the Phillies wrap up the National league East pennant in a real nail-biter of a game on the tube (switching back and forth to watch my alma mater upset #1 Richmond in a game at Villanova), and, I’ve already said, my notes are pretty much unreadable. I usually depend on a small recorder to take my notes and I forgot to bring it along. Given how badly I scribble these days, I really need to learn to print carefully, letter by letter, when reduced to that as my only record.

So I am left with my memory, or left with what’s left of it, and two things do jump out.

First of all, I had my first ever beer from the new Roy Pitz Brewing Company of Chambersburg and an interesting beer it was, Ichabod’s Midnight Ride, a 6% Belgian style Pumpkin ale. Interesting idea, but I really didn’t get much of the Belgian yeast character in my small sample and itt’s a beer I’d like to try again, under more favorable conditions. I have a feeling I could fall in love.

The real high spot for me, though, was the Yards ESA, the first batch from the new brewery, which was just kegged this past week and should be coming to a watering hole near you soon (I know Dawson Street Pub will have one of the first kegs). This was, after too long a wait, the real deal and It took me back to 1995 when craft brewing hereabouts was bright and shiny and new (not as much as a cask version would have, but that wasn’t an option).

Thus inspired, I walked to the other end of the outside beer pouring region and had my first draught of Lord Chesterfield Ale in years (Yuengling’s fault, not mine and i certainly hope this will again be on in the refrigerator at Standard Tap), which took me back to 1980 or so when it was one of the secret delights of my beer drinking world.

I guess I could add that the  Spaten and Hacker-Pschorr Okotberfests took me back another 600 years or so, but that would be pushing the envelope.

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