This is Samantha Steele - sideways.
Greetings, Michigan Faithful! Welcome back to your Friday Drinking Instructions. It's been too long.
I mark the start of fall with three things. Football, fall beers, and football. Pretty simple. It's been many, many months since last the Wolverines played in Ann Arbor, and it's about damn time to get the season re-started on the right foot. Sadly, the NCAA and beer still aren't friends, but that's okay.
Fall is upon us. I generally try to sample all the major pumpkin brews and Octoberfests, but I have to say that to my surprise, this year's Sam Adams Octoberfest is the king of the heap. I'm a snob. I don't particularly like to give big brewing companies a lot of credit. And I prefer to go local. But man, is Octoberfest is good.
Last season's Octoberfest was way too sweet. It was like Sam Adams overcompensated for adding to many hops by giving it more brown sugar. This year, those kinks are gone. Apparently the barley recipe has changed, and there's a sweet new cover on the bottle (obviously, a difference maker) - but they're now using five different malts that are all delicious. Most Sams have the same baseline, because Sam goes hard with Bavarian Noble hops, but this finish is the crispest I've ever tried with their Octoberfests.
Meanwhile, over in Colorado Springs, when AFA cadets get time off base and decide to drink, which is of course rare, I've been told they check out Bristol Brewing Company's fantastic brewery. Of course, I've procured a sample of the Bristol Brewing Company Laughing Lab Scotch Ale, and boy is it fantastic. Most Scotch Ales I've tried are darker, closer to black ales, but this one has a deep amber hue and tastes more like a bitter amber. It's really good.
Until next Friday, cheers, Michigan Faithful!
*Programming note - due to some rather stringent photo use guidelines, I can't embed photos, and I'd rather not embed beer reviews by others or just straight up commercials. Thoughts? Leave 'em in the comments.