by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff
October 2, 2009

For the fourth week in a row the Patriots are facing a division leader. This is momentous enough to make Ray Lewis cry. Ok, there isn’t much that doesn’t make Ray Lewis cry, but this is big enough to make him cry like Hines Ward watching the Lifetime network movie of the week. It’s almost enough to make him cry like a Jets fan looking at themselves in the mirror in the morning. And by “mirror”  I mean stray hubcab or garbage can lid, because everyone knows Jets fans can’t afford mirrors.

The Ravens arrive in Foxboro this week known for a few things. Defense? A newly potent offense? Nope, crabcakes and Clipper City beer.

Patriots Daily Crab Cakes (serves 4)

16 ounces fresh crabmeat (or 3 6 ounce cans, the cans have some added water)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

3 cups breadcrumbs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 egg

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Beat the egg. Add the egg and other ingredients into a bowl. Mix until fully integrated. Form the crab mixture into four (4) hamburger shaped patties.

Over a medium-high heat, grill the crabby patties. It will take four to five minutes per side. Do not move the crab cake before the four minute mark or else it may stick.

Serve on a bun with additional mayo, or a sauce made of mayo and old bay seasoning.

What to drink?

For the third season in a row, we can’t pass up Octoberfest on the Buffet Table. It’s the season; Octoberfest is early and mid season football, taking us up to week 12 or 13 when the winter seasonals start to appear.

Octoberfest 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, but bitterness should be low. 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 can run higher.

You may see these beers called Octoberfest, Oktoberfest, Marzen or Maerzen. It all means the same thing. Some brewers are now using more generic “Autumn” in the name; it seems that people don’t like to drink Octoberfest after October has passed. These ‘autumn’ names avoid the issue.

We’ve mentioned Clipper City Brewing before, and this time we’re going with their Clipper City Baltomarzhon. A play on the name Marzen (or Maerzen), this is one of the best Octoberfests made in the US. As a bonus it’s made year round, it is easier to find around Octoberfest time.

One of New England’s newest breweries Manchester Brewing gets in the act with Devil’s rooster. They’re located in Concord, NH despite the name.

From Rhode Island, Newport Storm Regenschauer Octoberfest fits the style very well.

After Sam Adams Octoberfest, one of the most widely available has to be Harpoon Octoberfest. Fermented with an ale yeast it isn’t the most traditional version, but it is still good.

Fellow Vermont brewery Otter Creek goes the ale route as well. Otter Creek Oktoberfest is lower in alcohol than most at 4.9% ABV.

Mercury Brewing doesn’t have an Ipswich Octoberfest, but they do run one out under the Stone Cat line. Find Stone Cat Octoberfest in fall mixpacks.

Capital Brewery Autumnal Fire is a big 7.2% ABV dopplebock strength Octoberfest style beer. Capital City doesn’t normally distribute into New England, but seems to be testing the waters by sending this beer to Massachusetts.

Another overstrength Octoberfest styled beer is Avery The Kaiser.  This is a huge one at 9.3% ABV, and it has an old German wearing a pickelhaube on the label.Really, look it up.

From Pennsylvania comes Weyerbacher Autumnfest. I found it too far to the sweet side but your mileage may vary.

As discussed last week with the rye beers, Great Divide from Boulder, Colorado turns an Octoberfest into a rye beer with Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager. This one really shows off the rye, as the rye flavor blends with the hop tastes and aroma to make this seem far less malty than a normal Octoberfest. Not a small beer at 6.2% abv it still finishes crisp.

Also see last year’s Patriots-Dolphins Buffet Table for more Octoberfest info and examples.