Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Where to swill an Oktoberfest beer now

Fall festivals that feature beer drinking wait for no one, including me. Fear not: This roadmap will guide you to the best places to swill an Oktoberfest beer now.

Admittedly, I got a late start to Oktoberfest this year. And fall festivals that feature beer drinking wait for no one, including me. Fear not: This roadmap will guide you to the best places to swill an Oktoberfest beer now.

I started mid-month with a delightful festbier at Floodwater Brewing Company in Shelburne Falls. You need not know a lick about color, aroma, carbonation, or body to enjoy a mug of “The Ghost of Hans Gruber,” though it helps. With a sweet spot ABV of 5.6 percent, this craft beer brewed just south of the Mohawk Trail might make you a diehard. Plus, you simply can’t beat the view from Floodwater’s tasting room along the Deerfield River. Overlooking the Bridge of Flowers, well, this Oktoberfest tastes like fall in a glass.

Floodwater Brewing. Photo by Sarah Wright.

Go for the beer and stay for games and trivia on Wednesday nights, open mic Thursday nights, live music Fridays, and after a public group run Saturday afternoons. Bonus points for Floodwater’s growler glassware.

Looking toward Shelburne Falls’ Bridge of Flowers from Floodwater Brewing. Photo by Sarah Wright.

Closer to home is Moe’s Tavern in Lee. As its website proclaims, “We bring the brewery to you.” Indeed. Moe’s deservedly won the 2020 Great American Beer Bar award for Massachusetts. As the locals know, owner Josh Cohen’s bar is for connoisseurs and novices alike; the atmosphere is super chill and always welcoming.

I enjoyed a tasty pint of Konstantin, made by the Schilling Beer Company in Littleton, N.H. This Austrian-style Märzen is a “rich, light-ruby colored seasonal lager.” No sweat if this one doesn’t wet your whistle; Moe’s has 17 taps that offer a rotating beer bonanza. While no food is served here, you can bring in your own takeout. Check out the extensive whiskey list, too. And if you’re a sports fan, your game is on one of the many TV screens surrounding this bar. Did someone say World Series?

Props to The Brookhaus Sports Pub and Restaurant in Lanesboro for the most extensive Oktoberfest beer selection around. As of this writing, they have six different choices of local Oktoberfest brews you can use for maximum quaffing.

Brookhaus Pub. Photo by Sarah Wright.

I sampled all six last week, poured as each sip was into a one-ounce medicine cup. Surprisingly, I liked the Sam Adams Octoberfest best, graduating to a 16-ounce draft. No disrespect to Aeronaut Brewing, Fore River Brewing Company, Relic Brewing Company, or Tilted Barn Brewery—yours were all good, too. And though I would have liked to have sampled Idle Hands’ Brocktoberfest, The Brookhaus was all out of this one.

Sampling all six of Brookhaus Pub’s Octoberfest beers. Photo by Sarah Wright.

By the time I sat down at a large table in The Ostrich Room at The Apple Tree Inn last week, I knew my research was coming to an end. Thankfully, there was no decision anxiety here, given the single choice of Berkshire Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest. Their “Life on Märzen” Oktoberfest style lager was served in a frosty cold mug next to a toasty warm fire.

The Ostrich Room at The Apple Tree Inn. Photo by Sarah Wright.

This beer went deliciously well with a yummy cheese plate, and truly, the ambience here is hard to beat. In a perfect world, I would spend all of fall in the Ostrich Room. With live musical talent like Jake Hunsinger and many others, it’s no wonder this Oktoberfest tasted even better!

In 2023 of course, The Dreamaway Lodge will re-open, sitting as it does at the edge of October Mountain State Forest. In my crystal ball, I see some sort of Oktoberfest happening there, complete with a sausage dinner, people dressed in lederhosen, and 99 Luftballoons or … 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Either way, time is of the essence: Go swill an Oktoberfest beer now.

And stay tuned for next week’s pre-Election Day story about Vot-ER’s Civic Health Fellowship.

Note from the author: Beginning today, The Edge has a new column called “Woman on the Verge,” weekly words about what’s inspiring me. I hope you’ll find encouragement here, motivation there, and uplift all around.

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