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This time of year inspires me to start cooking inside again on those cool fall nights

By Raymond Dickinson
Courtesy photo

The dog days of summer have come to an end and the early days of fall are approaching. Cooler weather, crisp nights and some moisture are on the way. This is the time of year for beer producers around the world to begin releasing their seasonal fall releases. Oktoberfest this year begins on Sept. 18 and ends on Oct. 2. It is the largest Volksfest in the world. It is a time for large groups to gather, feast and of course drink copious amounts of Festbier. The changing of seasons from summer to fall is my personal favorite. The annual release of the Festbier from each brewery as they start hitting the shelves this time of year signals the beginning of that transition. At Brix Bottleshop we have been very busy procuring the new releases. Don’t wait to purchase these beers. By the end of September they will all be gone!

Some of the most sought after Oktoberfest beers come from Germany. However, there are some very good domestic craft beer producers who get into the game as well. The beers are amber in color, malt driven and clean drinking with a crisp, malty finish. For me it is a great example of the change in season too. It is still warm enough outside that you don’t want anything too heavy and rich, yet the cool fall weather starts to welcome in rich foods, and delicious malty beer. They pair very well with roasted meats, baked items such as salty, warm pretzels and the beer is downright delicious to have on its own.

This time of year inspires me to start cooking inside again on those cool fall nights. Roasted chicken, rubbed with savory herbs like sage, basil and garlic and paired with asparagus and oven roasted potatoes. Baked breads and warm butter with a pinch of sea salt can be a magical pair. Pot roast is a good way to go with this as well. A nice three to four pound chuck roast is a good start. I like to use a cast iron Dutch oven. Season the chuck roast with salt, pepper, and oregano. Over medium high heat, add a little olive oil to the Dutch oven. Brown all sides of the chuck roast and then remove and set it to side. You should have some nice browned bits of meat in the bottom of the pot. Peel and quarter the onion and toss that into pot with browned bits. Peel four or five medium to large carrots and cut them into one-inch chunks and toss them into the pot after the onions start to sweat. Add two bay leaves and allow the carrots to start to sweat as well. After about 10 minutes I add the chuck roast back to the pot, and add some water to the pot so that it comes up about one-third of the way of the meat. I let the water just start to almost boil, then cover it and in the oven it goes. I set the oven to 250 degrees. I let it go for about four hours and check to see where it is. The meat should break apart and easily pull away with a fork. Mashed potatoes is a good way to go with this. Crack open one of the tasty Oktoberfest beers and enjoy! Share with your family and friends. Cheers!

Raymond Dickinson is the owner of Brix Bottleshop, a certified sommelier and a wine educator with decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. Brix Bottleshop, located at 115 S. Main St. in downtown Kalispell, can be found online at www.brixbottleshop.com.