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Taking Stock of Stocktoberfest

Stocktoberfest is Stockport’s answer to Germany’s most famous beer festival. For three days, Stockport’s Masonic Guildhall is transformed into a Bavarian Beirkeller, complete with long tables, Oompa band and bratwurst.

When we first walked in we were met with rows of people swaying and clinking glasses, to the tune of a lederhosen clad man barking orders from the stage. Slightly taken aback, we thought it best to shuffle over to the bar and get a beer as soon as possible.

Organised by Bottle Stockport the festival’s range of beers was (as you would imagine) predominantly in bottles, with a few on keg chucked in for good measure. There was a range of German styles, from some dependable Hells lagers through to some big stonking Weizenbochs and Schwarzbiers. We started easy, with a wheat beer.

Maisel’s Weiss – 5.4%

A dependable Weissbeer from Braueri Maisel, who have been brewing the style since since 1886. Smooth, and softly aromatic, with all those familiar banana clove flavours coming through. Slightly lighter bodied than more common alternatives, and a great beer to start the session with.

Although we initially felt a bit silly singing along to the oompah, playing drinking games and smashing glasses with our neighbours. We soon got into the spirit of things, as our blurry photos demonstrate.

At one point in the evening, covered in suds and competing to bang our table the loudest, we did wonder whether a similar thing was happening at the other major beer festival that weekend. Maybe comparisons between the two are unfair, but whilst the quality of beer at Stocktoberfest was good it was not an occasion to debate over tasting notes – more a chance to get drunk on good beer and have a laugh.

But this is a beer blog, so we should mention some of the bottles we drank.

Schlenkera Rauchbier Marzen - 5.2%

This is a traditional märzen lager, with malt smoked over beechwood logs. This is the kind of beer you drink if you like dark German lagers and also black forest ham. It’s intensely, almost overwhelmingly smoky with a richly satisfying flavour.

Schneider Weisse – Tap 6 Mein Aventinus – 8.2%

Apparently Germany’s oldest strong wheat beer, this ruby red bev is reminiscent of raisins, dark fruit, sherry. Very sweet, but not offputtingly so, and at a fiver a bottle, it was the best value for money that night.

We’ve never been to Munich in September, so I don’t know how Stocktoberfest compares with the real thing. Regardless, we’d like to thank everyone at Bottle Stockport for a very silly night. See you next year!

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