The Fall is a cruel time for craft brewers. There are beers specific to every season, but no other four month period whips through as many different beers as the Fall. Between now and December breweries will be expected to have an Oktoberfest, a pumpkin (or something else that screams “Fall!”), a distinct Fall/Winter beer and a Christmas or Winter warmer. Braxton Brewing is in its first year of operation, so is working its way through this cycle for the first time. September has arrived and, unlike its older siblings in the trade, it’s held its Oktoberfest for a calendar-appropriate time. Their Oktober Fuel Lager will debut this Friday, September 11 at the Braxton taproom and select locations around town.
Carla and I were invited down to the brewery to try out the new beer. As we walked back to talk to the brewing team, head brewer Evan Rouse mentioned that we were sampling beer from the first keg packaged. It’s not like there’s a downside to doing a beer blog, but there are definitely times there are perks. This qualifies.
Oktober Fuel is Evan’s take on an Oktoberfest that itself is based on both his commercial experience and the collective wisdom of four other brewer’s recipes. What he came up with includes Pils, Munich, Vienna, and C-45 malts plus Saaz and Hallertau hops. Thirty-percent of the mash was decocted and it was in the tank for just over four weeks. The ABV is 5.8%.
This is the second lager that Braxton has brewed (the first being their Dortmunder Twisted Bit). Since lagers take longer, many craft brewers won’t touch them because of the resources they tie up. We asked Evan why are lagers worth the time and resources. He replied:
Not only to me, but also for the entire team (and rarely do I speak for them, but I am comfortable enough to do so here), lagers are absolutely worth it when done properly. We are using actual lager yeast strains, cold fermenting, and lagering until the beer is ready/at the best it will be. With all of our backgrounds in lagers, and our passion for them (they are extremely drinkable) it makes them that much more fun to make. I think having the capability to do them gives us a step up. Also – I think that starting with lagers early on, helps pave the way down the road as we schedule fermenters and build out production scheduling – if they were there from the start, its not as hard to stomach as going from an all “ale” brewery to introduce lagers, when you can turn 2x ale for any one lager.
Oktober Fuel will be tapped at 5:00 pm this Friday, September 11th at the Braxton Tap Room. It will be available at Covington Oktoberfest, Newport Oktoberfest, Cincy Beerfest on Fountain Square, and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. It will also be available at Dickmann’s, AmerAsia, Wunderbar, Molly Malone’s, and Cock n Bull.
So prost! And lift one to life!
— Tom and Carla