Oktoberfest and Exploring the Craft of Beer

    By Rachelle Lucas

    When it comes to food, October brings to mind two things... bratwurst and beer!  Yes, it's the time of year when people all over the world celebrate German culture and food while toasting pints of beer in observance of Oktoberfest.

    I have to confess, I'm normally a wine girl. But there are a few flavorful brews in my hometown at Orlando Brewing that inspire me to sip a pint. My favorite of Orlando Brewing's organic beer selection is their Blackwater Porter. The color is dark like a Guinness, but the flavor is much lighter and has hints of coffee notes. A local restaurant, The Portobello, was even inspired to create a dessert using this brew. A new twist on the popular sweet treat, tiramisu, this one is called beer-misu. It's made with a malty beer reduction sauce using Orlando Brewing's Blackwater Porter in place of the espresso normally used in tiramisu and is served in a pint glass. It's a must-try if you're in the area!

    In addition to The Portobello, Orlando Brewing beers are offered at most restaurants throughout Central Florida. You can also visit their brewery in person to tour the facility, see how the beers are made and enjoy one of their 12 organic "Fresh From Florida" beers in their Tap Room.

    While they're open year round, a great time to visit Orlando Brewing would be this week for their 5th Annual Oktoberfest event. Held on Saturday, Sept. 24, they'll have live music, German fare by Orlando's popular food truck C&S Brisket Bus and the first tap of this season's fall brew with commemorative souvenir mugs available for purchase. For more information, visit http://www.orlandobrewing.com/oktoberfest.php

    After Oktoberfest, there is another opportunity to celebrate the season and explore the craft of beer making with a new event coming to Orlando on Oct. 8, Explore Your Craft.

    A partnership with Widmer Brothers Brewing and DRAFT Magazine, Explore Your Craft is a whimsical event of multiple crafts including art, music, cooking and beer making. There will be specialty food and beer pairings as well as live music and artist demonstrations. The chef-designed menu has multiple stations served buffet style and includes tasty offerings such as Grilled Lamb Chop Lollipops and Tender Bison Sirloin with “Pitch Black beer” mushroom confit & creme fraiche in a puff pastry.

    Explore Your Craft will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Ember in downtown Orlando. Tickets to the event are $45 and include food, beer and live entertainment. Check out their menu and purchase tickets at  http://exploreyourcraft.com/