What's a FABTS?

The FABTS is a club of homebrewers, beer aficionados, and anyone with an appreciation for the quality and diversity of great beer! As such, we are dedicated to the responsible enjoyment of beer as a alcohol containing quality food product, made to be shared with other people and other foods. The club was founded in 1996 by Lyle C. Brown, National Beer Judge.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

5th Annual Blue & Gray Octoberfest

On Saturday September 29th, Blue and Gray Brewing Company of Fredericksburg, VA held their 5th annual Octoberfest. And while the Bowman Center in Fredericksburg can't match the atmosphere of "die Wiesn" in Munich, it was a great gathering.

The historical background: the first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a horse race.

In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September. By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Because the September nights were warmer, the visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over “die Wiesen” or the fields much longer without feeling chilly. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.
The Blue and Gray Octoberfest started the first year I moved to the region, 2002. Some of the mainstays have been at the festival since the beginning. Beer, Brats and Bavarian music. The beers this year were all of the normal Fredericksburg Brewing Company line of beers, Fred Red, Falmouth American Pale Ale, the Classic Lager and Stonewall Stout. I sampled the American Pale Ale. The hop character hits you right away with this beer. I think it's a little overpowering. The Fred Red has a malty sweetness and little hop flavor. I talked with some of the brewers there and they say that they make a 50/50, Half Falmouth, half Fred Red to balance out the flavor.

They had a little bit of the Hefeweizen left but that was tapped out in the first half hour. The other two specialty beers were a Baron von Steuben Oktoberfest lager and a Temporary Insanity Imperial Stout. The Oktoberfest was brewed back in February and has been lagering since then. It has a dark amber color and caramel malty flavor. As it warmed up I noticed hints of chestnuts. The beer drinks as smooth as milk with the bitterness hitting your tongue at the end. A very good Fest.

The Temporary Insanity Imperial Stout poured an opaque black with a tan head. The beer was medium-bodied and its mouth feel was a little thin for the style. But the beer had a great taste of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Due to its 11% ABV you felt every swallow of beer on its way to the stomach. Very nice.

The entertainment provided was what you expect at Oktoberfest. German band "The Low N Brows" provided enough polka and waltzes for the crowd to get into the groove and played the "Ein Prosit" German drinking song enough to get the author thoroughly buzzed in the few hours we were there. The Spotsylvania Sheriff's K-9 Department also put on a demonstration of their tracking abilities. I knew I had had enough when I started heckling a cop. Cut me off!

The crowd at the festival was very jovial and was still having a good time when I left. Congratulations to the Blue and Gray Brewing Company for putting on a great Oktoberfest.


  1. good Lord, why did you include the picture of the goofy looking dude in the hat??!!


  2. Why no picture of the food?