A slice of Oktober in Manning

Over the weekend, Wonderful Beer Wife and I roadtripped northward to Manning, Iowa. We’d been invited to come up and do a little beer work at Manning Heritage Park‘s inaugural Oktoberfest celebration, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the circa 1660 German Hausbarn, which was dismantled and shipped to Manning, then reconstructed to help rejuvenate this small Iowa town. It’s a beautiful structure, juxtaposed a historic Iowa farmhouse, church and conference center.

People in historic preservation talk to each other, and my new friend Freda had gotten my name from a Saundra, who works with the French Icarian Colony Foundation near brewvana headquarters. To be honest, Freda seemed floored that there was such thing as a beer geek, craft beer subculture and beer judge. To have me willing to come up and drink beer at her party seemed a great honor.

Me? I’m just a guy that likes beer. Sure, I’ll come pour it and talk it.

So one thing led to another, and I agreed to give some local homebrewers feedback on their beers in what became a makeshift, non-sanctioned and very smally-hoped (is that a word) homebrew “contest.” This vibrant sixty-something (I suppose) tracked down a flight of twelve beers and if anymore had showed up, I’d have wished I’d lined up a little help. Thank goodness Michelle could steward and pour for the other reason we were there–a tasting of four examples of Oktoberfest.

We brought along oktoberfests from Hacker-Pschorr, Flying Dog, Schell and Boulevard. Unofficial exit-polling marked the Hacker-Pschorr and Flying Dog as crowd favorites.

The layout had us starting earlier than the oompah band and in the entry way, and I was amazed at how many folks took an interest and hung around well after the band started. We ran dry and moved toward Spaten Oktoberfest, which was on offer at the bar. On the dance floor, we found Gary and Jean Arp cutting a rug. They are a memorable pair. When they had walked in the door, decked out, they were quick to advocate for the good beers of Nebraska Brewing Company, a motion I’d second. Gary followed with a broad smile, admitting that his son, Tyson, was head brewer there. Cool parents for a guy who brought back a bronze from the GABF for his barrel-aged Melange a Trois this year.

It was a good evening, and I look forward to being a part of it again next year.


3 Responses to A slice of Oktober in Manning

  1. Freda says:

    Loved the report on our Oktoberfest! You and Michelle were great! And yes, you are invited and encouraged to attend, judge, pour, and, in general, raise the level of beer conoisseurs in our area!

  2. Bailey says:

    Fascinating. Reminds me of those “skanskas” you get in eastern Europe and Scandinavia. So, this town has it’s own oompah band…?

  3. Wilson says:

    No, they just hired some guys based in Omaha, Nebraska. This is their busy time of year, for sure.

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