Harriet Brewing ready for Rauchfest 2013

Rauchfest 2013 & Märzan (left to right)
Rauchfest 2013 & Märzan (left to right)
Loren Green

A night at the Harriet Brewing taproom is always pleasant. Tie in beautiful September weather and the music of Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, and a bit of magic happens. And so it did at last night's Rauchfest tasting party.

As beer drinkers across the world know, the end of summer is the time for Oktoberfest. No brewery that styles itself after German and Belgian techniques is going to miss this key calendar note, and Harriet opened the kegs on their new Rauchfest beer last night in a tasting party for this Saturday's larger, public celebration.

See also: Top 5 Oktoberfest beers on tap now Twin Cities rank on the list of best beer cities in the U.S.

The event was held in the loading dock-turned-taproom in back, a colorful setting tucked into an industrial space that offers an ideal place to relax after a day at the office. With local brewers and beer luminaries present, it also made for a fine social hour. Conversation throughout the room covered the Replacements and Duluth Blues Fest just as much as barrel systems and malt varieties.

The new Rauchfest, available this Saturday only, is a malty German-styled lager, with scents of sweet caramel countered by an earthy, yet tempered, smoked malt. It's a beer of strong descriptors and subtle flavors. An excellent Oktoberfest beer that craft brewers will enjoy, it will also fit the bill for those simply looking to let loose on a Saturday afternoon.

The medium-level carbonation lends itself to a sessionable approach. The smoked flavor does not linger, instead making a firm first impression and then subsiding in favor of the deeper malt characteristics that define a good Oktoberfest beer. It's a full-body complement to Harriet's Märzan, and the pairing of the two makes a fine German couple for those who need to have both hands occupied. Additionally, this lager will pair nicely with a grilled sausage from one of the food trucks at Saturday's event.

While crafting consistently great beers is, and always has been, the focus, Harriet's Rauchfest isn't just a brewer's event. Instead, as Harriet's resident artist Jesse Brodd notes, it's about community. Rauchfest brings the community together with quality beers, music, and food to celebrate all that South Minneapolis has to offer.

Rauchfest 2013 will take place at Harriet Brewing at 3036 Minnehaha Ave. on Saturday Sept. 28. Food trucks and beverage vendors will be on hand, and live music will be provided by Boys 'N the Barrels, Dead Larry, Useful Jenkins, Derobe Dance Band, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers, and others.

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