by Rush Nicholson, brewer, Red Lodge Ales
Something different is brewing down at Red Lodge Ales. I have been a brewer there for a little over five years. When I became engaged this past December to Liarae Martinez – who coincidentally works at the brewery as well – I conjured up the concept of creating a special wedding beer. To pay homage to my fiancée’s Mexican heritage I was enthralled with the idea of brewing up a Mexican Vienna Lager.
As I began to research this style of beer, I was quickly surprised to learn the striking similarities between Mexican lagers and German Oktoberfest beers. As we will be getting married in September (the same time we roll out our traditional Oktoberfest), I was amazed by this correlation.
Oktoberfest was originally brewed to celebrate a German royal marriage back in 1810 and has grown to one of the world’s largest annual events. While neither my fiancé nor myself are German or royalty, I thought how perfect this notion was. So I figured the right time of year, the right style of beer with a little twist. I was honored and humbled when Red Lodge Ales owner Sam Hoffmann asked if would like to formulate a recipe to substitute for this years Oktoberfest.
Back in April, I wrote two Mexican lager recipes and homebrewed them. Last month, after deliberation, we settled upon the one that best emulated a traditional Oktoberfest, yet stood on its own feet as a distinctive Mexican Vienna Lager. Hence the “Oktobre Fiesta” was born. The beer itself is made up of Pilsner, Munich, Vienna and C-60 malts with the addition of flaked corn directly into the mash and using Saaz and Hallertau Tradition noble hops to mirror the hop bill of a traditional Oktoberfest. The end result is a beer producing a sweet cereal taste with hints of nuttiness and a smooth clean finish.
Last week we brewed 60 barrels of this special wedding beer. That means instead of a hundred or so of our guest enjoying a small batch of wedding homebrew I am able now to share this with a greater number of the brewery’s customers. Have no fear though, if our Oktobre Fiesta is not your cup of tea; or beer should I say, we are still brewing our traditional Oktoberfest to be available as well.
In closing, my fiancée and I would like to thank Sam Hoffman and Red Lodge Ales for the opportunity to brew this special beer. We also thank you as the consumer, as well as our family and friends for your continued support. So raise your pint this September to our special wedding beer and may your glass always be filled!