To Evan Taylor, Ames Main Street Oktoberfest brew manager, beer is a finely-crafted science.
“To me, a good beer is something fairly balanced, has a strong malty backbone, with a prominent hop flavor,” Taylor said. “Like food, you can take the same simple ingredients and what you produce can be wildly different than what the next guy produces.”
October 22 will mark the 5th year for Ames Main Street Oktoberfest presented by First National Bank. For this anniversary, craft breweries from all over Iowa are invited to participate in the annual event held in downtown Ames. Taylor is coordinating a tasting of seasonal beers and a contest between the brewers that will be decided by public voting. It is a passion he is eager to share with Oktoberfest patrons.
“I am really excited about Olde Main and their new brew master, Cory O’Neel,” said Taylor. “And while Fire Trucker Brewery has only been around a couple of years, they are really using innovative techniques to put out some really good product.”
Taylor, who attended grad school for English Literature at Iowa State University, says you practically need a biochemistry degree just to understand what goes into a good mug of beer. Taylor says the pH level of the water, the alpha acid content of the hops, amount of sugar in the ingredients and how the yeast will break that down, are just a few of the considerations you need to keep in mind.
“There is a real science to it and it’s really quite beautiful,” Taylor said. “There is an amazing variance in the craft beer scene in America right now.”
To Taylor, who spends his working hours at DG’s Tap House in downtown Ames, making sure every customer has the perfect beer experience, it is all about tradition.
“This year the Reinheitsgebot marks 500 years in Germany,” Taylor said. “That is the purity law that says all you need for good beer is water, grain, hops, and yeast.”
It all seems quite complicated when you think about it. But for Taylor, it boils down to making sure every single person who attends this year’s Oktoberfest leaves with a new appreciation for the art of beer.
The event will also feature great live polka music from Barefoot Becky and the Ivanhoe Dutchmen, Second Chair Brass, and Bill Koncar, plus live rock-n-roll from Burnin’ Sensations. There will also be great German food, Guten tag games, and a commemorative mug for patrons to take home. Those attending are encouraged, but not required, to come in costume. The event will be tented and heated in case of cold weather. Tickets are on sale now for $10 and $20. Buy early and save $5!