CONNECTICUT BEER OF THE WEEK!
Name: Vampin Vera
Brewer: Noble Jay Brewing
Location: Niantic, CT
The Wittelbach Dynasty ruled Bavaria from 1180-1918. That means this lot weathered the Black Death, the birth of humanism and the Renaissance, the bloodshed brought by the Protestant Reformation, the 30 Years War — which took out one third of the German population (yikes!)—, the goddamned Napoleonic Wars, and German Unification in 1871. These dudes maintained power through all that shit! As an aficionado of fantasy based films and premium television programming too, I understand clearly the cunning and cutthroat nature of all those close to royalty, which makes the Wittelbach’s 738 year reign damned impressive.
Looking at these Bavarian Kings a bit closer though and it’s abundantly clear how they secured their throne for so long. They gave their subjects quality beer! The Wittelbach’s created the Reinheitsgebot in 1516, otherwise known as German Beer Purity Laws, which encoded in Bavarian law that beer must be comprised solely of hops, barley, water, and — later when they found out what it actually was — yeast. In many ways this was the birth of Germany and Bavaria’s preeminence in producing world-class beer — most famously lagers.
While helles and pilsners gain much of the popular acclaim both then and now, it’s the illustrious dunkel that is the most glorious of lagers. In fact, as Oktoberfest season really kicks off in Connecticut this weekend with Two Roads’ big bash — go and order your Märzen for the tradition — and then hone-in on the beautifully dark dunkels that are being served too. And while Noble Jay Brewing Company won’t be supplying their Vampin Vera to many fests this fall — they only opened two weeks ago of course — their signature dunkel would be hotly sought after by all with an affinity for this beautiful German creation. The beer pours strong black with an inch of beautiful, frothy foam and lace that holds throughout the dark lager’s final sip. The beer is just super balanced across the board. You get the tiniest hint of chocolate at the front, strong wallops of bread, and that roasty malt signature throughout. It’s all of the robust flavors you crave in a dark beer, with none of the weight. Clocking in at 5%, you really could drink pint after pint — or stein after stein —of Vampin Vera if the opportunity presented itself.
Enjoy the Oktoberfest celebrations over the next few weeks, but head to Niantic to Noble Jay Brewing before next year — for it will be Vampin Vera that will be filling your glass for the dunkel variety at many Connecticut Oktoberfests in 2019 and beyond.
Where to buy it! Tap Room at Noble Jay Brewing in Niantic, CT. It’s exclusively served there.
Local Comparisons! None in Connecticut. Correct me if I’m wrong! Both Von Trapp out of Vermont and Jack Abby’s out of Mass produce the style. If you want the classics go for Ayinger or Hofbräu — they should be available at a decent liquor store.
CT Beer Events!
*Usually only choose one, but there are two great events happening this weekend*
#1. Small State Great Beer Connecticut Craft Beer Festival! It’s the only craft beer fest solely dedicated to CT BEER. 45 breweries will be represented, with unlimited pours (huge!), and a plethora of Food Truck options. There are two sessions from 1-4pm and 6:30-9:30pm and it’s in downtown Hartford. Tickets are $48. It’s a great deal and probably Connecticut Beer’s most important event of the calendar year.
#2. Two Roads is having their sixth annual Oktoberfest. I used to LOVE Old Heidelberg’s Oktoberfest in Bethel, CT, but sadly they’ve closed. Two Roads has now taken the mantle of top Oktoberfest in the state. It’s a well-orchestrated event and a fantastic time. If you can’t make the Small State Great Beer fest, it’s an awesome fest to check out.