Thursday, October 27, 2016

War of Oktoberfest Beers 2016

I decided this year to find the best Oktoberfest beer available in my area. Here's what I found after searching through various fine stores!

Festbier by Weihenstephaner Brewing (5.8% Alc./Vol.)--coming from the oldest brewery in the world (established in AD 1040), this German fest beer is light-weight, light-color lager with just enough tartness to make it better than a usual lager. But not a great fest beer.

Marzen-Style Oktoberfest by Shiner--from the label: "Here in Shiner, TX, (pop. 2,070), we're suckers for tradition. Which is why this classic Oktoberfest brew is made with the highest quality two-row barley, Munich and caramel malts, along with German-grown Hallertau Tradition and Hersbrucker hops. It's our way of honoring our ancestors and the beer they loved to celebrate with. So raise your stein to tradition and enjoy this utterly classic brew. PROSIT!" The coppery color of this brew is indicative of the caramely flavor that's hinted at as one drinks. It is both refreshing and hefty enough to feel celebratory. Another work of fine craftsmanship from Texas!

Oktoberfest Marzen Lager by Left Hand Brewing Company (6.6% Alc./Vol.)--from the label: "Toasty malt flavors dominate up front and noble hops lead to a spicy and superbly clean lager finish." A red lager with plenty of flavor, this tastes nice at the beginning but is a little bitter in the finish. I'm not big on bitter, so this is not my favorite.

Oktoberfest Marzen by Paulaner (5.8% Alc./Vol.)--Actually made in Munich at a brewery dating back to 1634! It's a copper-colored marzen with a smooth and satisfying taste. No bitterness to drag things down and no aftertaste. It's made for drinking more than one at a time, just right for an Oktoberfest. Too bad I only bought one.

Oktoberfest Seasonal Beer by Yuengling--Made by America's Oldest Brewery®, dating back to 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, this Oktoberfest calls itself a beer but is definitely in the coppery, creamy style of a marzen. It's a fine, standard Oktoberfest beer with nothing special about it but nothing against it either.

Original Oktoberfest Amber Marzen by Hacker-Pschorr (5.8% Alc./Vol.)--Another Munich-brewed beer, this one is from a brewery dating back to 1417 and their label proudly proclaims that they follow the "German Law of Purity of 1516," at least after their hundredth birthday. Today, they make a fine Oktoberfest marzen, with a fine amber color and a smooth, textured flavor. It has a nice complexity on the tongue but no aftertaste. A delightful brew!

Oktoberfest Beer by Blue Point Brewing Company--A brewery that claims to be "Long Island's Brewery since 1998" has produced a fairly standard marzen-style beer. The color is more yellow than copper. The flavor is a bit standard. Nothing outstanding, nothing bad about this one. Just your everyday Oktoberfest beer.

The top three are the Hacker-Pschorr, the Paulaner, and the Shiner. I'll be buying some extras of those.

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