Where the heck did the summer go? I’m pretty sure that in the northeast we only had a one week stretch that really felt like summer. This was actually the fifth coldest summer in the history of the city I live in. I’m fairly sure the rest of the northeast didn’t fair any better. Regardless, fall is upon us and the leaves are quickly starting to turn to autumnal hues of red, orange, and yellow. I know fall is here because I keep finding them covering the windshield of my car when I get up for work in the morning.
Since the lazy, hazy days of summer are over, it’s time to ditch the hefeweizen and pale ale and get in gear for some darker, heavier stuff. Nothing is darker and heavier (and full of magical and important vitamins and nutrients) than Guinness. I’ve been waiting all summer to crack open a Guinness, but I wasn’t about to pour any of the black stuff into a glass while lounging in 80 degree heat (I wish it got that hot more than like five times all summer) on my front porch. It’s not really a hot weather brew.
Another article about Guinness, you say? I’ve already written several articles concerning Guinness related matters and the time has come for one more. But isn’t it Oktoberfest, you say? Well, I’ll get to that. I’ll even link to last year’s Oktoberfest article.
But, since one of the most important Guinness related days in history has recently occurred, I wouldn’t be living up to my high journalistic standards if I didn’t write about it. As I stated in a past article, 2009 is the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness signing his famous nine thousand year lease for the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin. When I and my former “Beer Buddies” at the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper interviewed Guinness Brewmaster Fergal Murray a few years back, he told us to buy plane ticket and get to Dublin in ’09 because it would be one heck of a party. Sadly, I and my other cohorts were unable to do so, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate here.
Well, that time is upon us, not just the year 2009, but the exact date of the giant celebration in Ireland and around the world. Last Thursday, September 24th, was Arthur Guinness day, the official global celebration for Guinness. And I do mean global. From the United Kingdom to Africa to the Caribbean and even the United States, Guinness enthusiasts hoisted a pint or two in honor of Arthur at their local pubs and bars.
Hopefully, you attended or will be attending some kind of gathering either at your home or your favorite watering hole in honor of Arthur Guinness. If not, there’s still time to snag some of the Guinness 250 stout. It’s only available for a limited time, though, so get it while the getting’s good. Otherwise, pick up some of the good old fashioned standby Guinness Stout or even some Guinness Extra Stout. While you’re at it, pick up some Harp or Smithwick’s (also St. James Gate products) to drink in between the black stuff. But you better get started; there’s only 8,750 more years left on the lease.
I picked up a six pack of Guinness Draught last Thursday and gave a boisterous “Sláinte!” for Mr. Guinness as I hoisted a pint. I feel like I owed it to him. You see, somehow, a few months ago, I was invited to be a member of the Guinness 250. Two hundred and fifty people in the United States were lucky enough to get some sweet swag from St. James Gate, including an autographed picture of Fergal Murray. Also, I got a rugby shirt that is way too small for me (Anyone want it? It’s nice, but you’d need to be about an adult small or medium to pull it off), a hat, a sweet bar towel, and a special 250th anniversary pint glass. I feel really lucky to get this stuff and I am not at all boasting about it (maybe a little).
And now for something (not so) completely different:
*So, this brings us to an equally relevant matter: Oktoberfest. This year, the official Munich Oktoberfest began on September 19th and will last until October 4th. Those who don’t know much about Oktoberfest should check out the article I wrote last September. I added a link to it at the end. Oktoberfest should be equally (if not more) celebrated by imbibing in some good Oktoberfest (usually marzen style) brews. Most areas have at least one celebration, because I’m assuming most people can’t hop on a plane to Germany. If you are anywhere near Kitchener, Ontario, though, I suggest checking out their celebration. The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest celebration, started in 1969, is widely known as the biggest party outside of Bavaria. This year the festival goes from October 9th-17th. For more information, visit: http://www.oktoberfest.ca/
Last year’s awesome Oktoberfest article: http://thefatherlife.com/mag/2008/09/25/osburn-on-tap-oktoberfest/
Image credit: Mando Gomez