At the first hint of crispness in the air, we all know that summer has come to an end and fall has arrived. May it be Oktoberfest, football season or for us homebrewers, hop harvest season, fall is associated with beer and it’s no surprise that fall beers are some of the most popular today. Here are some reasons why we feel fall and beer go so well together.
Oktoberfest: the ultimate beer festival
Although most of Oktoberfest is held during September, it’s called Oktoberfest (instead of Septemberfest) because it all began on October 12, 1810 for the royal wedding of Prince Ludwig, later crowned King Ludwig I, in Munich, Germany. The celebration was held in the fields in front of the city gates and all the citizens were invited to join the festivities, which was highly unusual at that time as elites rarely associated with the general public.
When you think of Oktoberfest you automatically think of beer; however, for nearly two decades the main attraction was its horse race and agricultural show. It wasn’t until 1818 that beer stands were introduced which rapidly grew in numbers each year. By 1896 beer stands were replaced by beer tents and halls. Today, Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world. In 2015 visitors consumed over two million gallons of beer! Many other countries realized how great an entire festival dedicated to beer is and celebrate their own version every fall. Oregon alone has a bunch of Oktoberfest venues to choose from!
Beer and football are American traditions
Football season has almost always been during fall in order to avoid competition with other sports, e.g. summer baseball and winter basketball, and also because it is an outside sport and playing in snow or frozen turf could lead to injuries and heat stroke. Whether it’s at stadiums, during tailgates, at a bar or restaurant or just sitting at home in front of the tv, football fans across the nation stock up on beer for every game. A great time of year to brew your own beer! Check out our brewing equipment here.
Although statistics regarding beer consumption throughout football season are difficult to pin down, according to various sources, on Super Bowl Sunday Americans consume around 325.5 million gallons of beer. That’s just in one day! Obviously beer is a fundamental part of football season and simply an American tradition.
Hoppy harvest season
The four basic ingredients of beer are water, wheat, barley and hops. Late summer to early fall is the ideal time to harvest hops and you can tell they are ready to harvest when the cones are dry, springy when you squeeze them, and have a strong, aromatic smell. Since fresh hops are so abundant during this time, it’s one of our favorite times of year to home brew. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you probably know that Oregon is extremely important to the beer industry as it is the second largest producer of hops in the United States.
Although hops are a core ingredient in the beer we all know and love today, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, beer without hops is 8,000 years older than beer with hops! From the very beginning brewers added extra ingredients to beer in order to add balance, depth and variety. Gruit, a blend of herbs and spices, was a popular ingredient during the Middle Ages until one vigorously growing weed beat out all the others. You guessed it! Hops not only add remarkable flavor to beer, they also act as a natural preservative and extend the life of brews. It should come to no surprise that west coast microbrewers are considered responsible for the rise in popularity of hoppy beers and for that we thank you! For all the hop lovers out there, check out our homebrewer’s guide to growing your own hops.
Whatever the reason you associate fall with beer, there’s no denying that there’s something comforting about enjoying a nice hoppy homebrew on a brisk fall day. If you’re interested in trying your hand at homebrewing, contact us today for the best brewing equipment around and to learn more about our home brew systems!
Synergy Brewing Systems, where the best beer is the one you brew!