Sometimes events unfold independently of each other that all contribute to a singular result. Years ago, when I was still living in an apartment with no yard and brewing on a stove, I received a free propane burner with a purchase from Northern Brewer.
Years later I was using that propane burner at my new home. I let the gas line get a little too close to the flame and the gas line started to melt. I needed a new gas line, but the only place I could get one was from Northern Brewer.
This occurred after I started working for Muntons. I use at least some of our malt in all of my beers, and most of my brews are 100% Muntons Malt. For base malts I keep a bin of our Pale Ale, Pilsner, Maris Otter Pale, Super Pale, and Wheat Malt. I can brew almost any style with these base malts. Notable exceptions are German styles that require Munich or Vienna malts. Muntons makes outstanding Munich and Vienna malts. I will likely pick up a sack of Munich next time I make it to our warehouse.
One style I have always wanted to brew is an authentic Oktoberfest. Also known as Marzen, German for March, the beer was traditionally brewed in March and then lagered over the summer before being served in the fall. When I brewed my Oktoberfest I wanted to brew it in March and lager it in a similar manner as opposed to trying to brew a mock-Oktoberfest as an ale.
Since I needed to buy a replacement gas line from Northern Brewer, I may as well tack on ingredients for an Oktoberfest so my order would qualify for flat rate shipping. As I put my order together I thought it would be fun to brew my beer with malt extracts Muntons does not currently make. I ordered Northern Brewer's Munich liquid malt extract and Briess' Pilsen dry malt extract. Competitive intelligence never hurts!
As I put my recipe together I added some Muntons crystal malt to steep. For hops I used two of my favorite American hops with European ancestry: Northern Brewer and Crystal. Other than the bit of British Crystal, this German lager is pretty American.
The brew day was simple enough. While doing other tasks around the brewery I discovered one of my kegs was leaking beer. I ended up emptying my keezer and giving it a good cleaning. I then kegged two batches I brewed for NHC. For an extract brew day I was pretty flipping busy!
Brewed in March, this was the last lager I was able to squeeze in before the weather started to warm up. I did taste test the beer with my colleague Daniel before putting it into a keg and the consensus was that it is pretty good. The keg is tucked into my keezer, waiting to be force-carbonated until the appropriate time.
Follow me on Twitter @JChalifour
Like The Would-be Brewmaster on Facebook