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Patriots versus Dolphins this week, as we’re treated to our second AFC East matchup of the season. It’s been a busy off season for the fishies. Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor are gone. Bill Parcells is now the GM in Miami. Or at least he was when this was written. Ol’ Tuna doesn’t like to stick around for long. So while Bill may no longer be shopping for the groceries in Miami, the Buffet Table is still preparing for this game.

We’ll be shopping for MahiMahi this week. Also known as Dolphinfish, MahiMahi are fast growing but short lived fish. They’re a lot like the Dolphins, they start off every season fast but then fade down the stretch.

It’s an easy fish to cook. Like most fast growing and short lived fish, it does not have a strong fishy flavor. It’s a fish that people who think they don’t like fish should try. It cooks quickly enough that Parcells should still be in Miami if he was there when you first put the MahiMahi on the grill.

Bill Parcells’ Frequent Shopper Card MahiMahi (serves 6)

MahiMahi filets, 2.5 to 3 pounds

1/2 cup dark spiced rum
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 habanero pepper
1 mango

Vegetable oil

Chop habanero and mango, add spice and rum. Marinade Mahimahi for at least 30 minutes. When chopping habanero you should use gloves, or hold the pepper with a plastic bag. The capacin from this one can be absobred by your skin. From there you can easily transfer it to your eyes.

Using a paper towel coated with vegetable oil and a pair of tongs. Rub down your grill grate. This will help keep the fish from sticking, as you will not moving the fish too early. If you have a fish basket for the grill you can use that instead.

As the fish cooks brush with the remaining rum. Be careful when applying the rum; if you’re using an overproof rum it will flare. It will burn out quickly so you don’t have to move the fish away.

Over a medium-hot grill this will take 4-5 minutes on the first side, and 3-4 on the other side. But your main clue will be when the fish flakes. If you can flake it with a fork and the fish is white in color, then it’s ready.

Time for a drink!

Munich Octoberfest just started yesterday, how could we drink anything else? Octoberfest or Maerzen style beer parallels the NFL season. It’s traditionally brewed in the spring right around the time of the NFL Draft, and then it will sit and wait in caves over the summer unwilling to come out of hiding until the fall. Just like the Buffet Table Kitchen Staff!

It is a malty beer, a bigger more robust version of the Vienna Lager. The finish is dry despite the medium body and high malt presence. Hops should be almost imperceptible in the aroma, with just a little more in the flavor. Malt flavors are layered, as European malts made to a variety of toast with different methods are usually present in the recipe. German law limits the alcohol to about 5.6% alcohol by volume, but American versions usually run higher.

Octoberfest style beer will taste great with our fish. The malty flavor of octoberfest will blend well with the natural sweetness of the fish. The roasted Munich malt that typifies this beer style will also find a pair in the caramelized rub. As Octoberfest is not a hoppy beer, we don’t have to worry about bitterness clashing with the spices used for the fish.

If we were serving a freshwater fish with a lighter sauce, a lighter lager would be a better match. But when we have a salt water fish served with a bigger sauce we need the heavier Octoberfest. Octoberfest’s bigger body, and higher alcohol are a better match.

Fish is a popular choice at the original Octoberfest in Munich. Each year almost 85,000 pounds of fish are consumed. That is the equivalent of a full size adult humpback whale. If you’re concerned about a whale not being a fish, try drinking some octoberfest and then you won’t care.

It takes a lot of food to go with the 1.8 million gallons of beer served. It’s easy to go through that much beer when the traditional Octoberfest glass the Maß or Mass holds almost 3 beers at a time.

We covered the history of Octoberfest and pointed out a number of Octoberfest beers in last year’s Buffet Table against the Bills. Here we’ll cover some of those we missed.

From Massachusetts we have Berkshire Octoberfest. A big example at 6.8% ABV. Opa Opa Steak House in Southampton hasn’t released their Opafest in bottles yet, but it can be found in growlers at some liquor stores. A growler is a half gallon glass jug filled either with draft beer from a tap, or in this case filled as if it was a giant bottle on a special bottling line.

Casco Bay Brewing in Maine produces an Octoberfest in the authentic lager style, the only lager they produce in their range of ales.

Pennichuck Brewing from New Hampshire has released their Big O Oktoberfest in bottles for the first time this year. Don’t be put off by the similarly named personality on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

High Falls has redesigned their J.W. Dundee line as Dundee’s. They’ve also added an Octoberfest this season.

From Pennsylvania, most likely America’s biggest lager producing region, Stoudt’s Brewing brings us their Fest.

Harder to find, but as good as any listed here, are a pair from Wisconsin. Sprecher Oktoberfest and Lakefront Oktoberfest. Lakefront has some of the best beer labels I’ve ever seen.

From Germany, check out Paulaner Octoberfest, Hacker-Pschorr Octoberfest and Spaten Octoberfest.

The greatest is Von Wolfhausen Festbier (no website), the greatest beer in the world ever. I normally do not buy a lot of imported beer as it is rarely as fresh as local beer. Octoberfest is an exception, because it is a seasonal product so you can be sure of getting a fresh beer. These four are from the few breweries who are allowed to operate a tent at Octoberfest.