A little history…
SOURCE: History of Oktoberfest
Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwiese—”Therese’s fields”—in honor of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n.” Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.
The decision to repeat the festivities and the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest, which now begins in late September and lasts until the first Sunday in October. Alcohol consumption is an important part of the modern festival, and more than 1 million gallons of beer are consumed annually at Oktoberfest.
…but WHERE’S THE BEER?!
Brewers of Bavaria were dealing with a major problem — trying to keep their beer from spoiling in the summer months due to heat and bacteria.
The brewers came up with two remedies for this problem, according to drinkwiththewench.com. First, the brewers increased natural preservatives in their beer by adding hops during brewing and then upping the alcohol content by brewing at a higher gravity.
Secondly, they adjusted the schedule of the brewing season. The best tasting beer, they discovered through trial and error, was brewed between early October and March. This led to what would be known as “Märzen-Bier,” or “March Beer” in English.
The brewers had succeeded. And by storing the beer in cool cellars and mountain caves, the beer just got better from summer to fall, as drinkwiththewench.com tells it.
Just like Cinderella had to be home by midnight, all of the old Märzen casks needed to be returned to the brewers by October so that they could begin brewing another years worth. And naturally, the casks needed to be empty – which meant that the last of the Märzen beer needed to be consumed. And as fate would have it, Munich just happened to host an enormous folk fest in the world at the end of September through the beginning of October. And what better time and place to consume the last of the Märzen beers than Oktoberfest?
There was indeed beer at the very first Oktoberfest in 1810, but the Oktoberbest-beer association didn’t really happen until 1818, according the Beer Advocate. That’s when beer stands were introduced at the festival.
To celebrate your own Oktoberfest, make a batch of these easy Blueberry Beer Biscuits and enjoy the tradition of Oktoberfest.
BLUEBERRY BEER BISCUITS
■2 cups all purpose flour
■1/3 cups Promise healthy heart margarine
■3 tsp baking powder
■1 TBS sugar
■1 tsp salt
■3/4 cup Blueberry (or your favorite) beer
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the margarine and mix until it resembles a rough flour mixture. Add the beer and knead until a dough is formed. Roll out about 1/2 inch thick and make biscuit shapes with a water glass or cutter.
Brush the tops with egg wash (1 egg with 1 TBS water) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until brown on top. Makes 8 – 10 biscuits
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Utica with our very own F.X. Matt Brewing Co., on Saturday between 2pm and 6pm at Center Courtyard, corner of Court and Varick Street. Gridley Paige will provide entertainment and Saranac beer in Octoberfest and Pumpking ale blends will be available. It’s fun. It’s $5.00 to get in and it can be found at www.saranac.com