Red Hare's Matt Ellis showing off his Oktoberfest
Red Hare’s Matt Ellis showing off his Oktoberfest

I have to admit the Craft Beer Garden at Arts in the Heart is pretty darn good. There were 24 nice brews on their list. But this isn’t a beer festival so 1.5 oz samples were out. It was $5 for a cup so trying all 24 is out. Of the 24 all but 2 are southern brews provided you count New Belgium now that they have a brewery in Asheville. (The other 2 are ciders from New York).
I got volunteered to work this year’s festival so the beer garden wasn’t my reason to be there. Mrs. Dan signed me up for a 3-hour shift starting at 11AM scanning festival-goers who bought tickets on line. My 3 hours stretched to 6-1/2 hours so come late afternoon I was ready for a break.
I’m punishing myself with a low carb diet. That’s means cutting back on the beer. I decided I was only going to drink one brew and I had to make it a good one.
I saw Matt Ellis, territory sales manager for Red Hare Brewing. It wasn’t hard to miss him in his orange shirt. I asked him what their seasonal was and he told me about their Hasenpfeffer Oktoberfest. “It is one of our top selling seasonals,” he told me.
“This is our traditional-style German Märzen” said Elis. “It’s made with German malt, German hops, German yeast. We actually use one of the oldest yeast strains in Munich to make the beer so it’s very traditional. We actually add a couple specialtiy malts to bring out a more peanutty or chocolatety flavor to the beer. It has some Saaz and Noble hops in it. Everything in there is German except the water.”
Matt Ellis models his shirt
Matt Ellis models his shirt

He added, “It’s very very near and dear to us. We call it Hasenpfeffer Oktoberfest, which means rabbit stew in German. As you can see on the back of my shirt there’s a rabbit in a giant stew.”
As which point he proudly modeled his T-Shirt.
I was sold. One of the volunteers poured me one up and I turned over my $5 ticket. I really like this brew. It is nice and smooth. I enjoyed their Watership Brown Ale several times this summer. It has more of a crispness to it and the hops are more prominent. This brew is really smooth. There is a roasty chocolate caramel flavor sneaking around. At 20 IBUs the hops take a backseat at least in terms of bitterness. Noble hops tend to be one of the smoother hops. The yeast probably gives it that little touch that leans toward a Belgian. But Belgian this beer is not.
I wish I could remember the name of another Märzen I had from a brewing in Virginia some time ago. This and that brew are really nice. I need to seek out more Märzens.
I better stock up if I want some during the rest of Fall after he told me “this is our fall seasonal and it’s the last time well make it. We only make it for two years in a row then we change it. Next year [the fall seasonal] will be something totally different.”
He added,” It is available until the end of October. On November 1 we switch to our our Sticky Stout.”
The volunteers were pouring at a pretty steady pace
The volunteers were pouring at a pretty steady pace

So, my one beer is over. Here’s the brew list and their tasting notes provided at the table. I added a few extra notes from some brewerie’s websites. Also check out Riverwatch Brewing, Augusta’s only current brewery. I noticed that Anne Sloan, from the brewery was helping in the booth. I also wished I could have sampled Jailhouse Alibi. I’ve never tried a brew made with grits.
I saw signs for Reformation Brewing and even notice a tap handle but their brew(s) weren’t listed.
The festival continues through Sunday. Gates are opening an hour earlier than the posted time so I’ve been told. Tickets cost $10 at the gate. Things wrap up by 6.
The Beer Garden is located near the center of the Augusta Commons.
The Beer Garden is located near the center of the Augusta Commons.

Here are the brews to be presented (click to see more):

  1. Eagle Creek Spot Tall
  2. Eagle Creek Low Country Pale Ale
  3. Eagle Creek ADT IPA
  4. Hi-Wire Bed of Nails Brown Ale
  5. Jailhouse Alibi
  6. Jailhouse Saison Reprieve
  7. Jekyll Big Creek
  8. Jekyll Fixin To IPA
  9. Left Nut Blonde
  10. Left Nut IPA
  11. Lone Rider Hops You Rode In On
  12. Monday Night Fuman Gose
  13. Monday Night Drafty Kilt
  14. New Belgium Heavy Melon
  15. New Belgium Blue Paddle
  16. Lone Rider Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen
  17. Red Hare Oktoberfest
  18. Red Hare Long Day
  19. SBC Cherokee
  20. SBC Wild A
  21. Riverwatch Octoberfest
  22. Riverwatch NPR
  23. McKenzie’s Pumpkin Jack
  24. McKenzie’s Seasonal

Here are the detailed brew notes:
Eagle Creek Spot Tall | Statesboro, GA
4.2% Blond Ale; Blonde Body & Flavor than standard light beer. Website
Eagle Creek Low Country Pale Ale | Statesboro, GA
5.4% – Smooth, Easy Drinklng ; Citrus & Bitter Finish
Website
Eagle Creek ADT IPA | Statesboro, GA
6.5 %, Fruits Citrus, Hoppy, Rich Malt. Website
Hi-Wire Bed of Nails Brown Ale | Asheville, North Carolina
6.1%. Bed of Nails is crafted as an American ode to a traditional English brown. A light hop addition balances the natural sweetness present in the specialty malt. This beer’s delicate body and dry finish allow flavors of toffee and dark fruit to shine through. Website
Jailhouse Alibi | Hampton, GA
4.5% – Peach/Fruit Aroma & Smouth, Easy Finish -Brewed W/Grits & Mosaic Hops. Alibi uses locally sourced grits along with Mosaic hops to create a unique session-beer experience. Being from the South we’ve always wanted to brew a beer with grits. While visiting Logan Turnpike Mill we fell in love with their stone-ground grits and immediately began formulating a recipe to incorporate them into a beer.
Alibi features Mosaic hops which bring an inviting peach-fruit aroma when meshed with the grits. Alibi is a great go-to beer when you’re enjoying a few with friends and want to keep your wits about you.–From their Website
Jailhouse Saison Reprieve | Hampton, GA
6% – Spicy Aroma, Dry finish, Slignt Tart Acidity, Hint of Pineapple. Saison Reprieve is our Spring/Summer seasonal and is brewed with simplicity in mind.
Farmhouse Ales are very open to interpretation and our goal for Reprieve was to be light and refreshing yet complex in flavor and aroma. The yeast does all the work and we get to enjoy the results. A pale yellow, hazy, beer with intense spicy aroma and a nice dry finish. Noticeable hop character but balanced and approachable. Hints of pineapple and a slight tart acidity all wrapped up in a easy to drink thirst quencher. Website
Jekyll Big Creek | Alpharetta, GA
Crisp, Dry, Fruity, Slightly Tangy with pear Characteristics Website
Jekyll Fixin To IPA | Alpharetta, GA
4.9%- Easy Drinking; Papaya, Melon,green Pepper; Bitterness Finish Website
Left Nut Blonde | Gainesville, GA
4.5% – Light, golden, crisp, Honey aroma, pleasant. Not too hoppy.
Inspired by a character from an epic Finnish tale, this European style blonde ale is light, golden, and crisp, with aromas of honey and a pleasant, bready start. Not too sweet from the malt, yet not heavily hopped like the IPAs. This well-balanced beer is designed to provide a good entry point for those not accustomed to craft beers while retaining the nuances and complexities inherent in the style. This blonde is full bodied, and delivers a complete experience across the palate from start to finish. Website
Left Nut IPA |
9%, Rich/Malty, bold hops, crisp, bittersweet finish. Citrus, grapefruit, pine. Website
Lone Rider Hops You Rode In On | Raleigh, NC
4.4%; Refreshing, Easy To Drink Ale. Website
Monday Night Fuman Gose | Atlanta, GA
5.2%, Wheat Base, Crisp, Tart, Salty. Website
Monday Night Drafty Kilt |
7.2%, Dark, Malty, Full Bodied, Smoky, Slightly Sweet. Website
New Belgium Heavy Melon | Fort Collins, Colorado/Asheville NC
5%, Medium-Light Body, Light Fruity Sweetness, Slightly Bitter. Website
New Belgium Blue Paddle | Fort Collins, Colorado/Asheville NC
4.8%, Sweetish malt background, slightly bitter, clean, herbal hops. Website
Lone Rider Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen | Raleigh, NC
5.8%, Rich, Banana-Clove Nose, Refreshing, Dry Finish. Website
Red Hare Oktoberfest | Marietta, GA
5.5%, Toasty, Caramelized Malt Notes, Nutty Flavor. Website
Red Hare Long Day | Marietta, GA
Refreshing lager, slightly sweet/biscuity malt notes, bittered W/hops, citrus. Website
SBC Cherokee | Athens, Georgia
5.5 %, Sour, mildly spicy, banana pudding/melon character. Website
SBC Wild A | Athens, Georgia
6.5%, Crisp, dry, fruity; pronounced clove & orange notes Website
Riverwatch Octoberfest | Augusta, GA
5.8%, Initial sweetness that finishes dry and crisp. Website
Riverwatch NPR | Augusta, GA
This is a wheat beer, flavored with fresh lime zest and juice, brewed with a variety of wheat and barley malts and a touch of exotic hops. Very light on the palate, it has a clean and refreshing finish that is balanced by a mild bitterness. ABV 5.4%, IBU 22. Website
McKenzie’s Pumpkin Jack | New York
5%, Cider with pumpkin & Fall spices. Website
McKenzie’s Seasonal | New York
5%, Apple Cider flavored with cinnamon & nutmeg. Website

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