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Sly Fox released Oktoberfest 2007 on August 15. The popular Autumn seasonal is, should be, available at your local beer retail store in 22oz bottles and on draught or in bottles at all your favorite watering holes. Your better retail outlets will have, or can order, sixtels while they last.

Bottled and draught Oktoberfest, as well as cases and sixtels, are also available at both Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery in Phoenixville and Sly Box Brewery & Restaurant in Royersford.

Oktoberfest is a medium-bodied, smooth and malty lager made with German Pils and Vienna malts and German noble hops. Amber in color, this easy drinking traditional Bavarian lager clocks in at 5.8% abv.

"Customers often don't realized that Oktoberfest beers are traditionally released in August and September in the U.S.," says brewery operations manager Tim Ohst, because everybody wants it. In 2006, the draught sold very well and was gone rather quickly, so we are kegging one and a half times as much this year. The bottles available were just about right last year, but we have slight increased the number of those as well."

Sly Fox brewmaster Brian O'Reilly recalls his first visit to the original 200-plus year old Oktoberfest in Munich in the first of our new "From The Brewer" columns below.


It's awfully trite these days to refer to a beer as a "cult favorite," and we'd never even think of referring to the devotees of our enticing Black Raspberry Reserve as a cult, but there's no denying their dedication to this unforgettable fruity delight. Of all our beers, this is the one that most often seems to bring a smile of delight to their faces even before they've had the first sip of the year.

Black Raspberry Reserve is a wheat ale brewed with German Pils and Wheat malts and Tradition hops. We add 1 lb. of red and black raspberries for every gallon of beer brewed and the result is a big bold beer (8% abv) which features a tart finish and a sugary sorbet aroma. We take great pride in the fact that is a special favorite of many of the growing legion of women who enjoy our Sly Fox beers.

This beer is a special release, bottled in corked and cage 750ml bottles and available at both pubs and through our wholesalers to our retail market. There will be limited draught availability and, if custom prevails, and it always does, it will sell out rapidly.

This is a great beer for early Autumn consumption and we suggest you also put aside a few bottles, or a case, for the December-January holiday season to enjoy alongside our Christmas Ale (which will be released in November). You'll be glad you did.

Every Month

Every Sly Fox afianado is familiar with these monthly events. On the First Friday of every month, Incubus Tripel goes on tap in Phoenixville at Noon. These special days are the only times Incubus is on draught anywhere throughout the year. Two weeks later, on the Third Friday of the month, a first of cask ale goes onto one of the handpumps in Phoenxiville at Noon. These beers pour until they're gone and that's it until the next time. Check our our Monthly Calendar for the dates.

December 14, 2007

Is this the largest single all-IPA event anywhere in the world every year? We like to think so and nobody's argued otherwise to date. The culimination of the year-long IPA Project, a series of single hop varietal IPAS offered in limited draught release on a monthly basis, this all-day celebration offers all of those varietals on tap and the first taping of Odyessy Imperial IPA, a big majestic beer made with all those hops. Here's our calendar listing for this event.

August 24, 2007

One of the best beer bars in Philadelphia (Esquire named it one of the 25 best bars in the country) is also one of our favorite beer bars in Philadelphia, one that features Sly Fox beers regularly. Brewmaster Brian O'Reilly will be on hand, starting as 6pm as the wildly inventive Scoats conducts an evening he's entitled "Ichor, do you 'Chor?" Say what".
Here's our calendar listing for this event.


We'll be pouring our beers at this annual event to raising funds to support the local SPCA. Great food, live music, a silent auction and other fun to be had on a Sunday afternoon.
Here's our calendar listing for this event.


Most breweries can be blisteringly hot in the summertime and our brewery in Royersford is no exception. It always seems strange brewing Oktoberfest on a 90-plus day in July, but in order to have Oktoberfest on the table in September our wholesalers must be selling it by August. That's just the way the business works and it's why so many of you are taken aback when you discover you can't find any Oktoberfest beers in October. The early bird gets the Oktoberfest, or something like that.

Some would say that, heat and all, we have it better than pre-refrigeration brewers. They had to brew their Oktoberfests in March for a release in September because the heat of the summer would turn the beer into vinegar if it was not finished fermenting and stored away in an ice-filled cave. Do you think that meant they had the summer off? Maybe they really did the better deal.

The first Oktoberfest was a Royal wedding celebration in 1810. It was so much fun that the Munich residents and breweries began to throw a party every year and soon moved the date back from the original October 12 to begin in late September to take advantage of better weather. The celebration today is a lot like a Pennsylvanian country fair, but with lots of beer. And only breweries that make their beers in the city of Munich may have a beer tent at the festival.

I remember the one and only time I went to the real Oktoberfest...

I was studying in Austria for a semester and one of my travel buddies had talked me into heading there for the weekend even though I was worried about finding a room on a student budget. Steve was a cowboy from New Orleans. He enjoyed getting himself and his friends into trouble, so he could play his bayou brand of chivalrous heroism. And he had promised his grandfather that he would hoist a beer for him at the Oktoberfest one day.

So off we went to Munich. After waiting in line for hours at the tourism office, four of us pooled most of our budgeted money together and managed to get a single room. Steve snuck our bags in while we waited in the square to head for the festival grounds. When we finally made the 20-minute walk to the festival gate we had the biggest thirst for a beer I had ever experienced.

I could not believe the size of the crowd. I laughed at an Asian group that had brought small flags, holding them above their heads to stay together, until we ended up following Steve though the crowd with our hands on each others shoulders just to keep from drifting off with the flow of people like a man overboard from a cruise ship, never to see each other again.

Steve chose the Lowenbrau tent for our first beer. We followed him through the crowd as he desperately tried to find out where and how we could get a beer. There was no bar, just table after table of well lubricated, singing Bavarians. I watched as Steve wandered through the tent. Each time a waitress walked by with 10 - 2 liter beers balanced on her hands, he stopped to try and get her attention, but they all rushed past him as if he was not there. His polite New Orleans twang was not laud enough for them to notice him, so I finally stepped in. Since I'm from New England, my manners were not as polished.

"Entschuldigung," I screamed, "which is the German word for "apology" or "excuse me." "How do we get a beer?" The answer was simple. "You must be seated." It seemed easy enough. We looked to find a seat. There were none. We were all used to squeezing into a long table because our time in Austria taught us how to move right in, but there was not even an inch to spare on any bench in the tent.

We began moving frantically from tent to tent, and after each tent we went to Steve looked more and more desperate.

Paulaner. Spaten. Augustiner. Hacker-Pschorr. Hofbrauhaus. Nothing.

There was not a seat anywhere at the Oktoberfest.

Steve's expression had turn from desperation to despair. He looked thoroughly defeated. We all were in various stages of disappointment, for that matter, since not a single drop of beer had yet crossed any of our lips. So I was actually relieved when Steve suggested we head back to the city for a beer. I had thought of that option about a half hour before at the third tent, but I didn't dare suggest that he give up his quest.

We ended up at the Lowenbrau beer hall and all disappointment was gone with the first gulp of delicious beer. After a full day of travel and witnessing thousands of Bavarians drinking beer, we finally had our own. I don't think we even ate that night. The band played, we spoke our broken German, we stumbled back to the hotel with little memory of our painful journey.

The next day was lost to the Hofbrauhaus, then we took the train back home that night because we had been kicked out of the hotel. I guess four people in a room for one was not allowed, or at least not on Oktoberfest weekend.

It's memories such as those that I try to capture in some small way when I brew our Oktoberfest each summer. I hope that everyone who enjoys its rich malty flavor and easy drinkability as summer draws to a close and the autumn approaches will be inspired to recall some happy moments in the past, with a good beer in hand and friends or family close by.

Beer is all about conviviality, and Oktoberfest may be the style that best captures that wonderful feeling.

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