Halfway through the Los Osos/Baywood Oktoberfest celebration on Sunday, Oct. 26, a massive tortoise began making the rounds, no owner to be found. Kids were dancing, live music was blasting, and people were practically spilling their beers to get a closer look at the wild creature, probably older (and wiser) than all of us. This is what I love about this part of our great county. Anything can—and usually will—happen. I even found a Los Osos-based grilled cheese truck (The Grilled Cheese Incident: see more in my Bites section). I, and my fellow Oktoberfest judge Rachel Duchak of Central Coast Foodie and 97.3 The Rock gulped through some incredible local brews, including offerings from Tap It Brewing Co., Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Hangar 24 Brewing Co., and Central Coast Brewing Co.
In the end, we were enamored with Central Coast Brewing Co.’s “A la Tart Berliner Weisse” sour, with its bright lemon zestiness and refreshing shock to the back palate. You beer geeks will also be interested to know that instead of souring the beer later in production, the wort itself was soured (basically, it was born that way). Central Coast Brewing Owner/Brewer George Peterson—wearing lederhosen, I might add—may have forgotten the traditional raspberry syrup at home, but he was resourceful enough to borrow some strawberry and cherry syrup from a nearby snow-cone vendor, making for one crafty craft beer I will never forget. Congrats to Central Coast Brewing for taking home the big win, and I suggest all of you try this damn good drink before it’s as gone as the month of October.
• Central Coast Brewing Company's Berlinerweisse – $2 for a taster; 1422 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo.
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company's Danish Red Lager
This malty, caramel-laden beer recently took home a big, fat gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. Why? It’s got a full body, features seven specialty malts, and is rippling with layers of rich flavor. Inspired by the red lagers (and flag) of Denmark, it’s a feisty, complex brew that pairs perfectly with winter dishes. I’d match this beer up with pumpkin ravioli or roasted butternut squash and rosemary potatoes any day of the week. Leftovers are first come, first served.
• Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company's Danish Red Lager – About $14 for a six-pack; Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. at 45 Industrial Way, Buellton; or check Whole Foods in SLO.
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