Pax Arcana and the witty and urbane Mrs. Pax Arcana hosted the Perry Ellises over the weekend for an evening of fondue, pork tenderloin and a sumptuous sampling of Oktoberfests (and one double bock).
And a wonderful time it was, even though I can’t stand the sight or smell of cheese–Pax made two fondues, one a hideous amalgam of cheddar, mustard and beer and the other a malodorous witch’s brew of Swiss, cherry brandy and Reisling wine.
But Mrs. Ellis, a fondue devotee of long standing, assures me that both were delicious. And I’m can attest that when he’s not cooking smelly cheese dishes Pax Arcana is one hell of a chef. The pork tenderloin he made Saturday night kicked ass.
But as much as I love pork, the best thing about the evening for me was the beer selection. We laid into a stockpile of five Oktoberfests and a six-pack of Paulaner’s Salvator double bock, for a seasonally appropriate Battle of the Brews.
Here are the results:
The Winner: Salvator (label pic on front page) was hands-down the class of the competition. Rich, smooth and malty, it’s a must-have during the autumn months. Actually, any German import ending in “-ator” is probably excellent (that ending denotes a double bock, which for semi-complex brewing reasons are deeply malty exercises in deliciousness).
The Runner-up: Spaten Oktoberfest was a hit with Mrs. Pax and Mrs. Ellis. It’s lighter in color, body and flavor than the Salvator, but still a smooth and malty amber treat. I’m told it goes really well with stinky cheese fondues of apple, sausage and bread. But you’ll have to take Mrs. Ellis’ word for that.
The Also-rans: Things got a little hazy at this point, after several Salvators and Spatens had gone the way of the dodo. But I’m fairly sure we sampled Hofbrau’s inexplicably-named Oktoberfest Marzen (marzen, which I’m pretty sure means March in German, is a spring style) and their regular Oktoberfest, which was really pale and light. Eh.
And we cracked some Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest-something-or-other, which was lighter and less malty than the Spaten but not as light as the Hofbrau. Ehs all around.
The crap we dumped down the drain: Wachusett Brewing Co.’s Octoberfest*. Ye gods but this was nasty. This brewery is best known for a blueberry-flavored offense against all that’s good and holy; this brew was redolent of blueberries, leading Perry Ellis to speculate that they’ve managed to infect their equipment with its taint. Just undrinkable.
- Perry Ellis
* Not the official Pax Arcana spelling of Oktoberfest, which is Oktoberfest.