Saturday, September 26, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Autumn's Bench

Autumn's bench

Nearly obscured by growth, a weathered bench sits among grasses and reeds.

The dog and I have often passed it —and ignored it— on our constitutionals. On this morning, however —the second full day of autumn— we took notice.

On the perimeter of Legacy Park, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 24 September 2020.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2020, 'pro se'

Oktoberfest 2020
Since 1810, when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I organized the first Oktoberfest in Munich —to celebrate his nuptials with Princess Therese— there only have been twenty-five occasions on which the festival has not been held. And that includes this year.

In April, Markus Söder (Minister-President of Bavaria, Germany) and Dieter Reiter (mayor of Munich) jointly, sadly, announced the official cancellation of the 2020 Oktoberfest, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: “The risks are simply too high.” The last time Oktoberfest was canceled was seventy-two years ago, in 1948, due to post-war deprivation (temporarily replaced by a small-scale, small-beer celebration). And disease itself has canceled Oktoberfest twice before this year: in 1854 and 1874, in both years because of European cholera epidemics.

If the festival had occurred this year, it would have begun today, Saturday, 19 September, and concluded in sixteen days, on Sunday 4, October.


Meanwhile, 5,700 miles west of Munich...

In 'normal' years, Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, California, USA (and Mills River, North Carolina) has partnered with a different German brewery each year to produce its seasonal Oktoberfest. But, in 2020, as with the Bavarian celebration, such a collaboration has proven pandemically unfeasible.

So, this year, Sierra Nevada brewed pro se.
Our Festbier is a refreshing ode to beer’s biggest party. Toasty malts and German hops yield notes of fresh bread and floral, fruity character for a balanced, crisp lager that makes any moment festive.
  • Malts: Two-row Pale, Munich, Vienna
  • Hops: Spalter, Spalter Select
  • Yeast: Lager Yeast
  • Original gravity: 13.9 °P
  • Alcohol-by-volume (abv): 6%
  • Bittering Units (IBU): 28
My impression?

Deep golden hue with a white head and good bead. Aromas of toasted malt, gently pungent flowers, and circus-peanut candy. Off-dry interior of sweet malt and light caramel. Spicy/medium-dry finish. Straightforward...and recommended. Going solo didn't hurt much.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2020
Note: I purchased my tasting 'samples' in Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 September. Per a bottle imprint, Sierra Nevada had packaged the beer on 23 July, but whether that had occurred at the California or North Carolina plant was not indicated.


More Oktoberfests

Mr. Alistair Reece is a Scot ex-pat who makes his home in central Virginia, USA (arriving there after a detour to Prague, Czech Republic). And he loves his Oktoberfests. For the past several years, around this time of year, he has courageously consumed dozens of Oktoberfests, Fest-styles, Märzens, and American 'craft' interpretations in order to rank them by style fealty and quality, tangible and ineffable. This year, his top ten list goes thus:
  1. 1. New Realm (Georgia/Virginia, USA) - Bavarian Prince
  2. 2/3. (tie) Great Lakes (Ohio, USA) - Oktoberfest
  3. 2/3. (tie) Sierra Nevada - Oktoberfest
  4. 4/5/6. (tie) Left Hand (Colorado, USA) - Oktoberfest
  5. 4/5/6. (tie) Von Trapp (Vermont, USA) - Oktoberfest
  6. 4/5/6. (tie) Benediktiner (Bavaria, Germany) - Festbier
  7. 7/8. (tie) Ayinger (Bavaria, Germany) - Oktober Fest-Märzen
  8. 7/8. (tie) Samuel Adams (Massachusetts, USA, etc.) - Octoberfest
  9. 9/10. (tie) Devils Backbone (Virginia, USA) - O'Fest
  10. 9/10. (tie) Warsteiner (North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany) - Oktoberfest
Caveat: Your mileage may differ. Mr. Reece tasted/judged only those beers available in his neck of the central Virginia woods. For his full list, his scoring and criteria, and his tasting notes, go to his website, Fuggled (the name of which reveals his additional affinity for British-style bitters and milds).


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Hornswoggling hornworm

Hornswoggling hornworm

A tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) munches on a tomato plant, in a garden, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 5 September 2020.
The tomato hornworm is a green caterpillar that is the larva (reaching a length of up to 4 inches) of the hawk moth. Found across North America and Australia, it commonly feeds on tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. It gets its name from a dark projection on its posterior end and its use of tomatoes as host plants.


Monday, September 07, 2020

Thank you.

McSorley's Bar 1912 John Sloan

To all those who make our beer, who bring us our beer, who serve us our beer: thank you.

Happy Labor Day.


Saturday, September 05, 2020

Pic(k) of the Week: Full Barley Moon

Full Barley Moon

They call it the Full Corn Moon because it marks the days when corn is harvested. Less commonly, it's called the Barley Moon (for the identical reason). For sentimental reasons, I prefer the latter.

Here: at 99.9% full, as seen rising at 9:33 pm EDT, on 1 September 2020, in the east-south-east over Vista Grove, Georgia, USA.

Actual full fullness (when the ecliptic longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by exactly 180°) occurred four hours later at 1:22 am EDT, 2 September. I didn't stay up.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, the full moon that occurs the closest to the Autumnal Equinox (this year: 22 September) is called the Harvest Moon. Usually, that's the full moon in September.

This year, however, October's full moon falls on 1 October, only 9 days after the equinox, while September's full moon is 20 days before the equinox. Thus, September's full moon becomes the Corn —or Barley Moon— while October's full moon is christened the Harvest Moon.

Got it?