October 2001

(541) 757-1190

(541) 753-6538


The Heart of the Valley Homebrew Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month, alternating between Corvallis and Albany. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 19, at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Werner Karlson, 240 NW 16th, (just off Monroe) in Corvallis. Parking is limited and Wednesday night is church night for the Christian Scientists, whose outpost is at 16th and Van Buren. Please carpool if possible and be prepared to park along the street a block or two away from Werner's house.

LAST MONTH'S MEETING by Kendall Staggs

In September we met at the home of Scott and Holly (and Alexander) Leonard in beautiful midtown Tangent, Oregon. The weather was super, and so were the accommodations. Scott's backyard and deck were an ideal location for the last meeting of the summer. There was lots of good food and tasty brews, including a Saison and a Scotch Ale that Scott had on tap in his garage. I brought a Bokbier from Belgium that was well received. President Caul brought some excellent brews from the Midwest. A splendid time was had by all. Thanks for hosting, Scott L.

We conducted club business, and voted on at least one important issue. After some discussion about the possibility of moving the Homebrew Festival to Albany, we agreed to keep the festival at the Fairgrounds in Corvallis. Concern over higher rent and insurance costs was overridden by the uncertainties associated with moving the location to the Oregon Trader Brewpub. Also, many people agreed that with the Fairgrounds we have a proven quantity.

I failed to make note of all of our new club members. Please accept this blanket welcome to you all, and I hope to get to know all of you at our next meeting.

HOTV ELECTIONS by Kendall Staggs

It's election time for HOTV. Nominations are open for the following positions: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, and Festival Chair. By consensus Lee Smith has been made treasurer for life (or until we catch him embezzling funds). I am interested in remaining editor but will happily step aside if someone else has a burning desire to do the job. The president's job is important but largely ceremonial; the vice president's position exists in case of emergencies. The really important, challenging position, is that of festival chair. We have several excellent, well qualified people who can do the job. Mark Kowalski set a high standard of excellence last year; his chief skills were in providing early and thorough planning, in delegating responsibilities, and then pushing people to do their respective tasks. Whoever takes on this position should know that they will have the support and cooperation of many conscientious club members.


Now that summer is gone, it's time to start brewin' again! I didn't brew a darn thing all summer. I have a little catching up to do.

Since our decision to keep the festival at the fairgrounds we have only learned that insurance is expensive. Lee sent me some copies from back issues of Zymurgy about insurance. In a nutshell, insurance is expensive. We hope to know more by the next meeting. If anyone out there knows anything about liability insurance for clubs, please let us hear from you.

Not only do we have to vote for our country's leader and millions of state measures soon, it will be time to elect officials for the club. Nominations will be heard this next meeting. If you or someone you know would like to hob nob with the elite, go elsewhere. All others please volunteer for one of the officer positions. The most important role to fill is that of Festival Chair. I assure you that the previous Festival Chairs moved away for their careers; their decisions to move had nothing to do with their position with the club. Organization of the festival should begin soon, so if you're willing and able, please come to the meeting. If you don't, someone else may nominate you. See you all at Werner's!


On September 23 members of HOTV performed their civic duties and participated in the litter pick-up along Highway 20 between Corvallis and Albany. Once again, our crew was blessed with a beautiful day-clear skies and warm temperatures. Surely there were many other things our members would have preferred to do over picking up trash. But true to their commitments, they turned out and gathered up 23 bags of roadside debris. Enjoying the exercise were first-timers Doug and Mare Goeger, along with Werner Karlson, Paul Jorgensen, Kendall Staggs, Herkie Gottfried, Jim Cantey, and Lee Smith. Thanks to all for turning out, and a special thanks to Doug and Mare for their willingness to lend a hand, no matter what is asked of them.


Aktien-Brauerei Oktoberfest
Dinkel Acker Volkfestbeer (Stuttgart)
HB Oktoberfestbier (Hofbräuhaus)
Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen
Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen

Church Brew Works Oktoberfest (Pittsburgh)
Franklinfest (Independence, Philadelphia)
Garten Bräu Octoberfest (Middleton, Wisconsin)
Great Lakes Oktoberfest (Cleveland)
Harpoon Oktoberfest (Boston)
Market Street Oktoberfest (Nashville)
Sprecher Oktoberfest (Milwaukee)
Staghorn Oktoberfest (New Glarus, Wisconsin)
Stoudt's Festbier (Adamstown, Pennsylvania)
Sudwerk Märzen (Davis, California)
Tabernash Oktoberfest (Longmont, Colorado)
Weeping Radish Fest Beer (Manteo, North Carolina)


The rich, malty flavor of stout melds well with the 
molasses and aromatics in this moist cake, which is
brightened with a lemon glaze.

3 1/2 cups SELF RISING flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon aniseed, ground in an electric spice
    grinder or fennel

3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and
     cooled slightly
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
a 12-ounce bottle of stout [I recommend Samuel
   Adams Cream Stout-KS]
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cup milk
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted lightly (optional)

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F-use a fluted greased
baking pan Into a large bowl sift together the flour
and the spices In a bowl whisk together the molasses,
the butter, the brown sugar, the stout, the eggs, and
the milk and add the mixture to the flour mixture.
Whisk the batter until it is combined and stir in the
pecans. (The batter will be thin.) Pour the batter 
into the baking dish, bake the cake in the middle of 
the oven for 30 to 40 minutes,  until a tester comes
out clean, and let it cool completely in  pan Turn
the cake out onto the rack.

In a small bowl whisk together the confectioners' 
sugar and the lemon juice, pour the glaze over the
cake, and spread it with a metal spatula, letting
it drip down the sides. Let the cake stand for
30 minutes, or until the glaze is set.


The British Journal of Psychiatry reports research that shows that cutting blood pressure and drinking moderately, already shown to promote heart health, may also ward off the mental decline that comes with age. Researchers found that those whose blood pressure dropped over time were less likely than others to see their mental abilities decline. "I must say, this is good news," Dr. Jorge A. Cervilla said. Some studies have linked uncontrolled high blood pressure to mental decline, and some have suggested moderate drinking protects the brain; however, Cervilla said, it has been unclear whether these associations hold over the long term. Subjects in his study had their mental functioning re-tested 9 to 12 years after their original tests.


CAPE TOWN (Reuters) A South African invention soon to go on sale will enable women to urinate standing up. The "Eezeewee," a reusable device with a shaped plastic cup and a length of pipe, has taken six years to develop and is already patented in 106 countries. It will be in shops around the world by the end of the year.

"It will be invaluable for women who are traveling, hiking, camping, fishing, sailing, skiing, or bed-ridden. Having a wee has never been so easy," Stephan Odendaal, managing director of Mouldmed, the company that invented the device, said. "It even has a handy, discreet carrying pouch so it can be taken everywhere," he added. "One of these can last a woman a lifetime."


Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. -W.C. Fields

In cerevisiae, fortis. In beer there is strength.

Lex clavatoris designati rescindenda est. The designated hitter rule has got to go.

Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur. Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.



Have you had any good beers lately? Here are some brief reviews of brews that I have recently tasted. Oktoberfest season has actually come and gone, but many of these beers are still available in our local stores.

1 Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest: Here is one that I purchased in Oklahoma (of all places). Currently it is not available in Oregon. It was the best Oktoberfest that I tasted this year. It was deep copper in color, and tasted caramelly and somewhat sweet, with lots of authentic German malt character. The noble hops were just right for perfect balance. Bring on the brats and kraut. (5.7 percent abv)

2 Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen: This was the second best Oktoberfest that I tasted this year. It was bright amber in color, with a big lacy head. It also featured plenty of Bavarian-accented malt flavors, plus a taste of homemade bread. This beer finished with gentle, floral hop notes and a spicy-dry aftertaste. Ayinger is one of my favorite German breweries, and its Oktober Fest-Märzen is available all year. (5.8 percent abv)

3 Goose Island Oktoberfest: This was my favorite American Oktoberfest this year (special thanks to Scott Caul for providing me with a sample). It was deep copper in color, and had a sweet, somewhat fruity, big malt character. The only "flaw" in this beer was rather generous amount of bittering hops, but at least they were noble hops. All of Goose Island's beers are exceptional. Look for them when you visit Chicago. (5.5 percent abv)

4 Full Sail Oktoberfest: This was the best of the local Oktoberfests this year. It was red-amber in color and moderately full-bodied. It featured a rich, toasted malt aroma, lots of malt flavor, subtle hop accents, and medium hop bitterness. This was a solid domestic interpretation. (5.4 percent abv)

5 Mt. Angel Oktoberfest: This was another good one, from the now defunct Nor'Wester / Saxer brewing organization of Lake Oswego. Did Portland Brewing brew this year's batch, or was it already brewed before Saxer closed? Inquiring minds want to know. Anyway, this was amber in color and with a moderately sweet malt character and a good hop balance. Very tasty. (5.5 percent abv)

6 Uncle Otto's Oktoberfest Märzenbeer: This is a respectable example of the style from the Portland Brewing Company. It was red-amber in color and medium-bodied, with mild hop bitterness and a subtle hop flavor. This was definitely a toasty version, and it had a hint of grain astringency. (5.7 percent abv)

7 Big Fat Tuba Oktoberfest: This is a mediocre effort from the Thomas Kemper Brewing Company of Seattle. It had a decent malt flavor but was not as lively as the better examples. (5.7 percent abv)

8 Widmer Oktoberfest: Widmer's Oktoberfest was only so-so. It was a drinkable beer, but it lacked the rich, sweet malt character of the tastier Oktoberfests. (5.5 percent abv)


A descendant of the German royal family that launched Munich's Oktoberfest in 1810 criticized this year's organizers for turning the event into what he claims is a moneymaking exercise devoid of its Bavarian cultural heritage. Wittelsbach Prince Luitpold, a great grandson of the last King of Bavaria, Ludwig III, said: "If you go to the festival now there is little Bavarian music. In the beer tents you hear things like 'New York, New York,' and there is barely a pair of lederhosen to be seen. How can you get a taste of typical Bavarian comfort if a table designed for eight is sold to 14?" Luitpold is also unhappy that his brewery is not allowed to sell beer at the event.

In Munich Oktoberfest began September 16 and ended October 3. Astrid Ganssen, an Oktoberfest spokesman, said: "We are on target to pass even last year's record, where 6.5 million liters of beer and 400,000 sausages were consumed. This year we hope for more visitors than ever."

"MÄRZEN" by Graham Lees

With the exception of the hybrid marketing concoctions of the late 20th century, tracing the origins of our beer styles would surely be a pleasant challenge for the great evolutionary sleuth Charles Darwin.

Most beer boasts an evolutionary history, often, but not always, associated with the Industrial Revolution. Evidence suggests that the copper-red Märzen style owes its existence to spying expeditions to England by two young German-speaking pioneers of lager brewing. Viennese Anton Dreher and his Munich contemporary Gabriel Sedlmayr junior (pronounced Zay-dull-myer) visited England twice in the 1830s during their Europe-wide quest for new brewing knowledge-armed with a hollowed-out walking stick for secretly collecting samples.

At that time, brewing in England was more technically advanced than elsewhere because England was the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. In particular, methods of malting barley had already led to the creation of paler colored beers. Bohemia's golden Pilsner was still nine years away when Dreher, aged 23, and Sedlmayr first visited England in 1833. Dreher was particularly attracted to the English pale ales. Back home, Sedlmayr concentrated on developing scientific methods of producing bottom-fermented beers, while Dreher at first tried brewing an English ale.

But that was a dead-end in this evolutionary path. We don't know for certain, but its seems that the Viennese palate was unimpressed with Dreher's interpretations of English beer. His commercial rivals briefly made capital by ridiculing him as Vienna's "English brewer." Undaunted, Dreher reexamined his stock of knowledge and set about marrying the new English malting techniques with bottom fermentation.

In the 1830s, the brewers of mainland Europe made only dark malts because established kilning methods, often using wood fires, meant less temperature con-trol. In England, brewers had access to coal and better machinery, which gave them more control and enabled them to make paler malts.

What Dreher achieved by the end of the 1830s was a beer that combined the clean palate and crispness of a lager with the paler hues he had admired in English ales. His marriage and adaptation of techniques produced a new style of beer-methodically bottom-fermented and copper-reddish-brown in color. The precise recipe and flavor is not recorded and, in any case, he may have refined his new beer over several years. For instance, it is unclear whether he isolated a particular yeast at the beginning.

Dreher called his new beer "Schwechater Lagerbier," after the Vienna suburb home of his brewery, and its popularity grew rapidly-giving him the last laugh over those ridiculing rivals. Generically, Dreher's beer may for a time have been dubbed "Wiener Typ"(Vienna style) after his malting process, which produced a reddish caramelized crystal malt, but the enduring name for his style is Märzen.

Ironically, the name was coined 30 years later by Josef Sedlmayr, younger brother of Gabriel. Although bottom-fermenting techniques had swept across Europe by 1870, beer color in Bavaria had remained dark (Dunkel). But in 1871 Josef Sedlmayr, who had separated his brewing activities from Gabriel years earlier, decided to produce a slightly paler beer. Perhaps because of the old Sedlmayr-Dreher link, he chose to brew a reddish "Vienna style" beer.

He called it "Märzenbier" because he had brewed it in March, although it was September before he broached the first barrels for public judgment. Traditionally, Bavarian brewers had produced large batches of beer in March and April before the weather got too warm for brewing and then stored it in cool places to use during summer. But by the 1870s this practice was becoming obsolete with the development of mechanized refrigeration.

This was also a time of railroad development, which enabled tens of thou-sands of Bavarians to travel to the Munich Oktoberfest. Whether Josef intended his new Märzenbier for the festival is unclear, but it became the Oktoberfest beer style for the next 100 years and its popularity spread. The style faded in Vienna after World War I. Sadly, Märzen has in recent years been supplanted at the Oktoberfest by a paler, less robust "Oktoberfestbier" to suit broader international tastes. But even this beer still retains a deeper amber color than the average lager beer.

Many south Bavarian breweries still faithfully reproduce Märzen, if only in small quantities. Most of Munich's big brewers still brew a draft Märzen at Oktoberfest time (September-October) for sale in their beer halls, notably Hofbräu and Spaten (which incorporates Josef Sedlmayr's Franziskaner brewery). Typically, a Bavarian Märzen will be copper-red, with a full-bodied maltiness, a little spicy and dryish with an alcohol by volume of around 5.5 percent.

In Austria, the term Märzen is applied loosely to any golden lager of around 5 percent alcohol by volume, but a new wave of brewpubs in Vienna has begun brewing red-brown beers that they call Märzen. These new Vienna reds are malty, full bodied, fruity-dry and unfiltered, which may have been the condition of Dreher's early brews. Two of the most noteworthy are Salm (at Rennweg 8, near Schwarzenbergplatz), which has an initial malt sweetness, a fruity dry finish and long aftertaste; and Siebernstern (at Siebernstern Gasse 19), with a rich malt-fruitiness, hints of spiciness and a dryish finish.

Siebernstern calls its interpretation a "Wiener Märzen," but of Dreher's name there is no mention or commemoration in today's Austria, although his Schwechat brewery still functions as part of the giant Bräu AG group.

Dreher died prematurely in 1863-possibly from overwork-at the age of only 53. He did live to see his Vienna style become one of the biggest selling beers in mid-19th-century central Europe. He acquired a chain of breweries across the Austro-Hungarian empire. One of them was in Michelob, yet another German-Bohemian name borrowed by Adolphus Busch, co-founder of the Anheuser-Bush giant.

It is left to Dreher's former Kobanya brewery in Budapest, now owned by South African Breweries, to honor Dreher by recently naming several brews after him. The beers are being made to rediscovered 19th-century recipes and, of these, Dreher Export is thought to come closest to Dreher's Vienna style, with an amber color, full-bodied malt flavor and clean, dry finish.

This article originally appeared in "All About Beer" magazine, November 1996.

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