Ramstein Brewery’s Oktoberfest Lager

I have the hardest time explaining Oktoberfest to the non-beer lovers. “Why is it in September?” Well, it’s complicated. High Point Brewing Company founder Greg Zaccardi gave us a bit of history at the 2009 Open House tour at the Brewery this year. Oktoberfest commemorates the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese in 1810, which was held on October 18th. But in modern times, it has begun in the last two weeks of September and runs until early October. It celebrates the end of the harvest, when there is actually time to celebrate. Nowadays, we just celebrate great beer and how it brings friends together. And that’s reason enough!
The brewery’s Oktoberfest lager is unfiltered, but the lagering process makes it a sparkling clear dark amber reminiscent of fine whiskey. It has a crisp yet malty flavor but is remarkably light and delicious, a refreshing brew great for the end of a workday that won’t be heavy in your belly. This award-winning lager remains a spectacular beer that is well worth the wait, every year. According to the excellent Beer Stained Letter blog the brewery doubled their output this year, but it remains keg and draft only. The bars have siphoned up the supply, so if you want to try it, find a bar that serves it, or come to the October open house (second Saturday of the month) and get a growler filled. They have growlers on hand, and take credit cards. The brewery is open most workdays and some weekends, check their website for their phone number and call ahead.
We had a great time, meeting friends old and new. The brewery served up some wurst, German potato salad, sauerkraut, pretzels, cheese and more. It was all very good, and there was plenty for everybody. Also on hand was Ted of SR Fresh Hot Sauces, offering tastes of their Cherry Cayenne and Habanero Gold sauces. They were both very tasty and not dangerously hot. Of course, myself and Milky had to try the Pure Habanero that Ted had on hand. It was ridiculously hot but still had flavor. I hope they’re back next time, I may pick up one of each!
The Oktoberfest lager is served from kegs, but to make things special they crack open a barrel of it, to open the celebration. Here’s video of the grand event:

Let’s not forget the men who do all the hard work serving us up the beer. Check out those guns from pulling beer taps all day.
And here’s Brian, the man who fills the growlers. A bad day working at a brewery is better than the best day working in an office! He does a great job filling our bottles and keeping the foam down. Thanks for the hard work, man!
I haven’t written about the Brewery in a while, but they truly make some of my favorite beers. Their flagship Ramstein Blonde Weiss with its toasty notes, is a classic of the form. Their seasonals like the Oktoberfest Lager and Maibock are simply fantastic, and worth hunting down. In winter, their Winter Wheat doppelbock is one of the tastiest, chocolatey beers you’ll ever find- and is available in stores. Their Classic Wheat dunkelweiss shouldn’t be overlooked either- it’s readily available, when dunkels are fairly rare, and it’s great to drink all year round. They truly make a craft beer at the High Point Brewing Company, and any lover of good beer should make time to try their world class brews.

Ramstein Brewery – Winter Wheat Doppelbock

It is once again that glorious time of year when the High Point Brewing Company releases its seasonal brew, the Winter Wheat doppelbock. At their open house last Saturday, it was almost as lively as when they debuted their other popular seasonal at Oktoberfest. I guess I’m not the only one who loves the winter wheat, with its chocolaty finish and malty smoothness.

It’s one of those dark beers without bitterness, that is full of flavor without feeling like a loaf of bread in a glass, a problem you sometimes get with stouts such as Guiness and Mackeson’s triple. the foamy head on this one is rich brown and tasty, and for you folks who can’t or won’t make the trek to the brewery, the good folks there thankfully bottle this one. It is available in stores from November to April, and makes a fine libation for the cold winter months, whether alongside a rich stew or even with a bowl of ice cream. Call me weird but I like how it tastes against good old vanilla. I’ve yet to make a float with it, but I’ve been wanting to try.

Rainy days are perfect for enjoying beer and comradery! Prosit!

At this open house we had a surprise feast- a delicious sampling of down-home German food like wurst and spaetzel, home-grown red cabbage and radishes, delicious carved ham and more. The crowd went through it like a buzzsaw, and thanks to Firecracker I got to taste some. I was stuck in the growler line with a double order, since Milky was down in Philly playing Marines. We cracked the growler for movie night, and it tastes as good as it does from the cask. They did another cask opening this time, and once again, no one treats their drinkers better than High Point Brewing Company. Grab a six-pack at one of these locations, and come by on the second Saturday of December for the last open house until spring! You won’t regret it.

Ramstein Brewery – Oktoberfest part deux

We take a brief respite from our Schlocktoberfest horror movie marathon for some sweet sweet beer! The October open house at the Ramstein Brewery – the High Point Wheat Beer Brewing Company, of Butler, NJ- is much more quiet than their Oktoberfest celebration last month. That little soiree apparently drew 180 people into the cozy little brewery, so this time it reminded me of the first open house I went to, 2 years ago, right before my good friend Darth Milk went to Iraq. We gave him a good send-off at the brewery, and the fine beer kept him strong.
This is probably the last time this year we’ll have their fantastic Oktoberfest Lager available in growlers, so if you want a taste, call the brewery and go pick some up! This was a 5 growler day for me & Milky, and the first time they’ve had their flagship Blonde Hefe-Weizen available for growlers in some time. They’re making it as fast as they can, and it’s available in more stores than ever. And on tap at bars such as the Cloverleaf tavern in Caldwell, or Andy’s Corner Bar in Bogota. Not to mention Barcade in Brooklyn and the Kabin on the Lower East Side. So you’ve got no excuse; if you love German-style beer, try this award-winning Bavarian-style wheat beer now! Shop-Rite Liquors, Roserne’s, Bottle King, Whole Foods- they all carry the Blonde.
Their Oktoberfest Lager has once again ranked in the top ten Oktoberfest beers of the world; last time they were #7, I’m not sure if they changed place. I got 2 growlers of it this time. It’s a delicious and refreshing hoppy lager that I hope they can bottle soon. It’s available on tap at the Cloverleaf tavern for sure. Andy’s might have it as well. Mike and Brian were manning the taps this weekend, and filled our 5 in no time flat. Greg, the founder, announced that next weekend they will be at the Garden State Craft Brewer’s Fest at Bears Stadium in Newark with a new cask of beer made especially for that occasion. To our great regret, both Milky and I will be elsewhere- I have a trip to D.C. planned and he’s a Marine reservist and it’s a warrior weekend. So hopefully our pal over at The Beer-Stained Letter will be there to cover it and enjoy the beer we’ll miss!

Oktoberfest at Ramstein Brewery!

Some great things only come once a year; Christmas. The Hamburglar’s birthday. And best of all, the release of Ramstein Oktoberfest Lager at the High Point Brewing Company. Consistently rated as one of the best Oktoberfest beers, and only available on draft at the brewery and a few select taverns and distributors, it is a beer-lover’s prize worth hunting down if you truly love German style beers. The amber lager known as a märzen after the month of March, when it is was first brewed to last through the summer months, has become an autumn favorite and has become a September seasonal in celebration for Oktoberfest.
High Point Brewery has always made their monthly open house for the Oktoberfest season extra special. While the regular open house is great enough, with beer sampling and snacks, tours and camaraderie, for Oktoberfest they go all out. They open a cask of their Oktoberfest Lager, and have a feast of German delicacies. There was a huge crowd this time around, but being old hands, we got our growlers filled first while everyone swarmed over the beer sampling line, and stashed our growlers (5 this time around) in the car.

This time they had a double serving of their Oktoberfestbier, the filtered version known as Munich Amber, and the unfiltered, just called Oktoberfest Lager. They both have the malty flavors of a marzen, but manage to taste quite different. The Amber has fruitier notes and is a little more crisp, but the unfiltered lager has more notes of the grains and is smoother. They’re both quite delicious and I’m glad I got the extra growler, so I could get both- and one of the Classic! Their flagship Blonde hefeweizen has not been available in growlers for a while, but Firecracker grabbed a sixpack.

The food this time around was done by Karen Ontell, and it was excellent! Thanks again, Karen. To make things easier, everything was done as tapas or finger foods. There were huge soft pretzels and assorted mustards, to built a fine bready foundation, and then little skewers of chicken and pork made with Ramstein beers! Potato soup with spaetzel, stuffed cabbage rolls, and fantastic wurst with sauerkraut. Potato pancakes dotted with applesauce. And of course, dessert of raspberry streusel and butter cake. It was the perfect catering job for a crowded house full of hungry beer drinkers, and the food was delicious.

The cask was opened to great singing and fanfare, but I missed getting any of the actual casked lager this time around; I’ve had it before, and it does taste better. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but the celebration certainly adds to the flavor of an already great beer. If you missed the open house, call the brewery and stop by to get a growler filled. They usually have it for the October open house too, but don’t bet on it. Beer this good is hard to get your mitts on! Let’s hope we see it in bottles sometime soon, at least the Munich Amber. Actually to hell with that, it leaves more beer for us! Prost!

We also met Jeff Linkous of the excellent Beer-Stained Letter blog, as we made a stack of pallets out back into a makeshift picnic table. He’s the source of the quality photos and videos of the events, and his blog has introduced me to quite a few Jersey brewpubs I hadn’t known of. So check it out for Jersey area beer news!

Ramstein Open House- with Eis Bock and Keller Pilsner

This weekend was a surprise at the High Point Wheat Beer Brewing Company, aka “Ramstein Brewery,” and their open house. It was winter in August! They managed to create another batch of their delicious Ice Storm Eis Bock, which requires 25 degrees Fahrenheit or less. It was a welcome surprise, and the super-smooth black velvet brew with the sucker punch of 12% alcohol content will make for great summer drinking, despite being based on their famous seasonal Winter Wheat. They had six sixtals and they sold out within an hour. They also had their magnificently malty Keller Pilsner- their Golden Lager before it is filtered and lagered. The Lager is a fine beer, but the Keller is its own creature, full of stronger flavors and still refreshing. Amazingly they were sold out of the Blonde, their flagship beer. Let’s hope the shortage doesn’t last too long. It remains my favorite summer beer, when I can get it. They also had their Classic Hefeweizen on tap and in six packs.

The bar area was decorated with that rare commodity, hops! They may not be the prettiest flowers, pale green throughout, but aren’t we thankful for the homely horticultural hops? Without them, we could not make beer, at least not as defined by the German beer laws. Those laws don’t stop the megabrewers from using rice instead the holy trinity of brewer’s ingredients: barley, malt and hops, but that’s why we love craft brewers like Greg Zaccardi of High Point Brewing. If I want to drink rice beer, I’ll wait for microbrewing to take off in Japan.

We inducted two new members into the Growler Club this time around- friends Liz and Sean both bought growlers and filled them. Poor Sean only got half a growler of the Eis Bock, since he hesitated before purchasing. But that’s twice as strong as a growler full of other beer, so he’ll be just as happy. It was also the first public gathering of the Order of the Triad, a secretive beer-lover’s organization that sometimes performs costumed aggression and other acts of tomfoolery. We also found business cards for a New Jersey beer blog, The Beer-Stained Letter, so here’s a shout-out to our beer-blogging friend.

Eis Bock and Keller Pilsner at this weekend’s Ramstein Open House!

Great news: they will have the Eis Bock and Keller Pilsner this weekend at Ramstein brewery!
I’m definitely getting the Keller this time. Bring your growlers and beat the heat!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: ramsteinbeer@gmail.com

High Point Brewing Celebrates Christmas in August!

Join High Point Brewing Company on Saturday, August 9th for an open house with a twist — Ramstein Eis Storm Eisbock on tap to help everyone cool off. Everyone does Christmas in July, but Christmas in August, now that’s special!

We will also have Ramstein Golden Lager, Ramstein Keller Pilsner, and Ramstein Classic Dunkelweiss on tap. Bring your growlers ( we will also have growlers for sale), as most of these beers are not available in bottles. We also have glassware for sale.

We will be at Stoudt’s on Saturday, August 23. For more info on 17th Annual Microfest – Benefit please visit:

http://www.stoudtsbeer.com/events.html

We are happy to announce the debut of our new black t-shirts with a new “Get your hands on a blonde” design at Stoudt’s. They will be available at the brewery after that weekend. For those of you waiting for a Ramstein hat, we will have them available at that time as well.
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High Point Brewing Company, Inc.
22 Park Place
Butler, NJ 07405
Tel: 973-838-7400
ramsteinbeer@gmail.com
http://www.ramsteinbeer.com/
http://groups.google.com/group/ramstein-beer

High Point Brewery – Abbey Red Ale and Keller Pilsner, and a concern.

This weekend at the Ramstein Brewery they had two new limited edition brews, available in growlers only. If you missed out this weekend, I recommend you head on up to the brewery and get some, they were both quite good. The crowd was surprisingly light– everyone was probably down the Shore– and it was a great day for drinking beer.

The Abbey Red Ale is red and tasty, similar to the amber but with that familiar strong malty flavor that Irish Reds have. This was definitely better than the Samuel Adams Irish Red; I killed a six-pack of that for July 4th, so I’d know. It has fruity notes and that signature crisp fresh flavor you only get when it’s fresh from the brewery.

More memorable was the fantastic Keller Pilsner- their standard Golden Lager before it is lagered! Unfiltered and “fresh from their fermenter,” I wish I’d gotten a growler of this before I got my Red Ale and Blonde. It’s that good. Call ahead and see if they have any left, and drive to the brewery… you won’t regret it. Their Lager isn’t my favorite of their beers- too clean for me, I like my beers best unfiltered– so this was perfect. Like a fruitier, hoppier version of the Blonde with less of the familiar wheaty head, it’s just fantastic.

I may have to drive up and buy a new growler to fill up. I wouldn’t regret it. It’s a shame the Keller Pilsner won’t be seen again. That and the infamous Double Platinum Blonde are too good to disappear. Their Oktoberfest is world class and definitely deserves to be bottled.

Greg & company really make some fantastic beers, but they can be hard to find even this close to the brewery. The last time I bought Blonde, it was past its date and I had to return it (Bottle King, Glenridge). Now that hurt. I’m beginning to think going to the brewery every month may be bad for the brewery. I want to support them at my local liquor store.

I want Ramstein to be as big and popular as Dogfish Head, or better yet, Brooklyn Brewery or Abita- still regional and true to their origins, but with a bigger repertoire to taste regularly, and better distribution. I guess the only way to help is to drink more of their great beer!