Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BEERflections ~ 2nd Annual Oktoberfest @ Broken Barrel Tavern

When one thinks of Germany and Oktoberfest, images of lederhosen, dirndl, Brezn, Würstl, Blaukraut, Hendl, Reiberdatschi, and of course beer come to mind. Lots of beer in 3L dimpled glass steins raised in toast, thumped on large long wooden tables to cheers, boisterous song, and drunk in copious proportions. Take said imagery, add a bit of Florida sunshine and one arrives not at the Theresienwiese but at the Broken Barrel Tavern. Between October 8th and 9th, there was much merry made, Oktoberfest beers quaffed and classic German dish snarfed.

Never one to miss out on a beer event, especially one being hosted by Broken Barrel Tavern, with Marc Boland’s generous assistance, we assembled a large long wooden table (relatively speaking) of beer minded peeps whose passion for good food and good times is equally revered. I arrived early (surprise surprise) to secure our table of Oktoberfest awesomeness which, thanks to a quick email that morning, was all ready and waiting for us. Cruising US1 north with the windows down, the sun shining, and just a wee nip of chill in the air put me in the proper frame of mind for hours of tasty fun. To top it all off was a cask of Schneider-Sohn Organic Edel-weisse which I shall delve into a bit later.

Lo and behold, as I wandered in, my waiter decked out in lederhosen led me to my table in waiting. As we made our way, someone called out my name. Looking for its source, I was delight to see Darrell and Suz. Seated amidst friends and I do believe a relative or two, they had enjoyed an equally picturesque cruise north to partake of and share the goodness that is Broken Barrel. Whereas I arrived on four wheels, they arrived on two wheels. Previously unaware of the day’s festivities, they nonetheless had a grand time, responsibly of course, before heading out to further explore such a beautiful day. Stopping by to say hello before goodbye, Darrell left me with a generous 20spot to enjoy a beer or two on him. No worries there my dear, for a beer or two I definitely enjoyed. It’s too bad you couldn’t stay longer, but there will be other festivities of a beery nature to enjoy together.

Just as my waiter was decked out in lederhosen, so too were all the gents sporting some variation on the traditional German garb while the ladies enjoyed creative interpretations on the traditional dirndl. Some were cute, some were flirtations, but all were in good fun. Considering the original Oktoberfest as with all Oktoberfests after and beyond are a time of celebration, community, and fun, there was plenty to be had at the Barrel that Saturday.

Why Saturday and not Friday?

Because on Saturday and not on Friday the glorious barrel of Edel-weisse was to be tapped at 3pm sharp. There was no way I or my fellow peeps were going to miss out. No way, no sirree. As 3pm rounded the bend, Kevin announced the imminent tapping and like star-struck groupies our table scrambled outside to witness, document, and taste the very much alive Organic Edel-weisse from the vaunted Schneider-Sohn Brewery. Under clear blue skies and random puffs of white, a finer day could nowhere be found. As pitchers of Edel-weisse filled pint after pint, we cupped our glasses in reverence as we retreated once more to our table. Inside, exclamations of yummy delight ensued in chorus along with a few irresistible trips to the cask in hope of another pint before her 30L were tapped out. Being able to secure a glass before there was none to secure for my pal Jim, upon arrival, I could tell by his giddy grin that it was indeed well received.

Not to be outclassed, there was also great food to be had and lots of it. All day and evening long, fest-goers had the choice of an Oktoberfest menu created just for that day along with the generous burgundian delights of the Barrel’s full menu. As others soon discovered what I already knew, hour after hour, a hungry chorus of scintillating food porn indulgence rumbled about our table in shameless pleasure. Within all beer geeks resides the foodie, a truth I have found evident time and time again. From smoked wings to pulled smoked chicken sliders and beyond, morsel after glorious morsel passed through lips quivering in burgundian bliss.

As afternoon gave way to evening, farewells were drawn out as long as possible as the upcoming crush of Gator alumni loomed in anticipation of that evening’s game. Even so, it’s not over till it’s over, or at least until raffles are drawn and yours beerly actually won something. That’s right, I actually won something! A Samuel Adams t-shirt (t-shirt whore that I am) and thanks to Marc’s lucky spoils, a 16oz perfect pint glass. Though we had accumulated a sizeable stash of raffle tickets thanks to many a beer quaffed, no more winners were drawn while I remained. The last of our troupe, Eric, Melissa, and I lingered but as the warmth and community of a large group sharing good times eventually passed so too did our desire to linger. The time had come to emerge into the cool night air. Full in more than just my tummy, with a rejuvenated heart and soul, I once more took to cruising US1, this time south, to home and Mr. D.

As always, my time at Broken Barrel Tavern was priceless. Kevin and his staff are always fabulous and the food once more sent these senses into flavor euphoria. Thanks to Duncan for the three bottles of homebrew; they were all three savored in respectful thirst. Marc, you rock. And to all my peeps who answered the call of good beer, good food, and good times…I couldn’t and wouldn’t ask for better friends for surely none exist. Until next time, prost!

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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