Master Brewer Phil Markowski Q&A
What goes into brewing Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is a deceptively difficult beer style to brew. By that I mean it is a malt-dominant lager beer where one strives to strike a fine line between drinkability and maintaining a dominant but not overbearing malt character. That is more difficult than it sounds. Too much malt and it can be clumsy, cloying and a “one and done." Too little malt and it’s not an Oktoberfest.
What makes Two Roads Oktoberfest stand out?
I feel Two Roads Ok2berfest achieves that balance between a dominant malt profile that is lean and otherwise balanced so that one can drink one after the other without getting palate fatigue. We also go through the hassle of doing a decoction mash. It’s time consuming but there is no other way to get that distinct nuance. We also ferment Ok2berfest at a colder temperature than most modern lager. Again, takes longer but it’s well worth the extra effort.
What’s your favorite part of our Ok2berfest celebration every September?
I love seeing a few thousand people gathered in one place, our place, having a great time enjoying our beers. Is there anything better than that?
Lagers are getting talked about more and more, any thoughts?
When lager beers first came into being some 150 years ago they were a revelation and revolutionary. These beers were crisp, refreshing and at the time, high tech. They took the world by storm and eventually here in the U.S., brewers ended up doing away with variety and eventually dumbed down these brews to the point of blandness. The eventual reaction to that was the beginning of the craft beer revolution. The emphasis has been very much on ales, particularly IPAs as we all know, but lagers are starting to gain more attention. Craft aficionados are increasingly looking for more balanced character and moderate alcohol content. Lagers tend to fit those requirements and their charms are more subtle. They are a bit like wallflowers at a rave. They don’t stand out but once you get to know them you might find them equally, or possibly more, appealing. IPAs will not disappear but there is evidence that people are beginning to look beyond them. Lagers are a natural extension for a craft drinkers interest. Besides, many things run in cycles and history has a tendency to repeat itself.