Posts Tagged With: Marzen

Hofbräu München Oktoberfest

Beer: Oktoberfest
Brewery: Hofbräu München
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 6.3%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Clear straw body with an airy head that quickly recedes.

Smell: WELCOME BACK, Munich malts!! Bright grass, biscuits, and a tinge of metallic notes.

Flavor: Balanced, but explosive with Oktoberfestbier flavors. There’s equal parts herbal hops and sweet, toffee malts in here. Orange zest and biscuit flavors linger.
Feel: Watery with high carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Hofbräu München’s Oktoberfest is one of the six biers served at THE Oktoberfest. Further, the Hofbräu München tent is THE largest at THE Oktoberfest. And there’s a reason for that. This bier is the reason for that. HB’s festbier is the quintessential example of how Oktoberfestbiers have evolved over time. We have tried a number of American Oktoberfests that have emulated the historic Oktoberfest/Märzen. These have been richer and sweeter,  favoring the malts. However, as we mentioned in our history of the Oktoberfest, German breweries retooled their Oktoberfest recipe in the 1970s to respond to the rising popularity of the much lighter Pilsner. The result has been a lighter, hoppier Oktoberfestbier that beer consumers can enjoy for hours on end without feeling like they are dumping an anvil into their stomachs. HB’s is the best of these newer Oktoberfests. And with that, I am off to finish this six pack with glee.

prost, all.

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Saranac Octoberfest Amber Lager

Beer: Octoberfest Amber Lager
Brewery: Saranac
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.4%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: It looks like apple cider. Dark golden body with no head.

Smell: Relatively straightforward amber lager scent. It’s moderately sweet, with a toasted Munich malt aroma. Finishes with a Bavarian pretzel note.

Flavor: Initially a little sweet, like french toast with a light maple syrup, it is quickly balanced with a salty, pretzel taste. There’s quite a bit of spice at the end, which is a nice surprise

Feel: Watery with disproportionately high carbonation. Dry.

Concluding Remark: Saranac’s Octoberfest is a solid amber lager, but not quite indicative of a true Oktoberfest. It is, however, easy to drink, has enough flavor to keep you interested, and its mouthfeel makes it exceptionally easy to put back. It’s bright, lively, and could be consumed without much thought at any festival.

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Blue Point Oktoberfest

Beer: Oktoberfest Beer
Brewery: Bluepoint Brewing Company
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.5%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Slightly hazy, golden body. No head.

Smell: There’s an overpowering sweetness, like a dulce de leche aroma. Also a bit of fresh raisins, maple syrup, sweet pumpernickel, and apple juice.

Flavor: Cloyingly sweet, as it smells. Notes of syrupy caramel, french toast, and overripe apples. There’s a trace of a hop spice at the end, but not big enough to balance the sweetness.

Feel: Medium thin with modest carbonation.  A little hot from the alcohol. Slippery.

Concluding Remark: Overall, Blue Point’s go at an Oktoberfest is lacking the oomph of an American Oktoberfest and the authentic malt flavors of a German. It’s not offensive or anything (it’s a rather decent lager), but nothing I need to drink again. Especially during THIS season.

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Schlafly Oktoberfest Beer

Beer: Oktoberfest Beer
Brewery: Schlafly
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.1%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Hazy light orange body with a small white head.

Smell: Simple syrup note; it’s straight up sugar, not caramelized like other lagers. It smells like dunking your head in a bag of sugar. There’s a faint hint of bread and wheat.

Taste: Nothing at all like the smell. There’s a bright fruit note–a little pineapple, a little melon. There’s also a sour funk taste like that of a witbier. The aftertaste is a freshly baked biscuit with a little butter

Feel: Effervescent. It feels airy and light, almost as if it had been whipped.

Concluding Remark: Overall, Schlafly’s Oktoberfest is confusing. While an interesting experience–the flavors are solid and the mouthfeel is incredible–there is little resemblance to an Oktoberfest. While not a typical German or American Oktoberfest, it’s refreshing to be surprised and this festbier is even more refreshing to drink.

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Yuengling Oktoberfest

Beer: Oktoberfest
Brewery: Yuengling
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.4%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Deep neon amber, clear body. Pours with a huge beige head that slowly recedes.

Smell: Supremely malty…it’s exceptionally toasted and almost smells like burning leaves. There’s a hint of vinegar and metallic, almost like apple cider vinegar.

Flavor: It tastes like it’s been sitting in a keg for years. There are some decent toasted malt flavors, but the metallic bitterness is pretty off-putting.

Feel: Thin, a little oily, with not much carbonation. Not particularly appealing.

Concluding Remark: Yuengling, while not the bedrock of craft beer, usually produces a drinkable lager; an alternative to your Stella or Coors. However, Yuengling’s Oktoberfest, I would go as far to say, isn’t even drinkable. Quite unfortunate, but you get what you pay for (~$7 for  a 6-pack). Stick with the regular Yueng, if given the option.

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Pyramid Brewing Oktoberfest Autumn Lager

Beer: Oktoberfest Autumn Lager
Brewery: Pyramid Brewing
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 6.7%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:



Sight: Dark amber body with a small, fluffy beige head with high retention.

Smell: Fruity notes, predominantly peach and apple. There’s a bit of a cedar and woodsy aroma from the hops.

Taste: There are bright hops flavors and an equal amount of full, toasted  and bready malts. It’s balanced, but all of the ingredients shine through and coexist harmoniously.

Feel: Excellent mouthfeel; medium body with high carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Pyramid Brewing, hailing from the Great Pacific Northwest, puts out a pretty awesome American Oktoberfest. While much hoppier than the authentic German brew, this is balanced, wildly flavorful, and showcases the Nugget hops (common in the region)–a unique inclusion in an Oktoberfest. I’m missing a little of the Munich malts, but all in all, it’s a solid beer. And at 6.7%, Pyramid’s Oktoberfest is the strongest at the fest. It could totally beat you in a competition to stay sober after consuming  more than two.

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Warsteiner Oktoberfest

Beer: Oktoberfest
Brewery: Warsteiner Brauerei
Style: Oktoberfest/Marzen
ABV: 5.9%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Clear light golden body with a nondescript head.

Smell: Nearly lacking any aroma, there’s a quiet metallic and water scent if you really look (smell?) for it.

Flavor: The initial taste is a chemical, charcoal note. After getting past that, there’s a faint bread and cardboard taste from the Munich malts. However, it ends quiet bitter–and I have a feeling that wasn’t the intention.

Feel: Standard for the style, it has a medium-thin body with moderate carbonation. It has a hot note from the higher ABV (6%).

Concluding Remark: While I was looking forward to heading back to a German beer after a series of American Oktoberfest ripoffs, that sentiment was lost after tasting Warsteiner’s Oktoberfest. It’s void of the robust malt flavors that its other German counterparts offer. Instead, I’m left with a rather mediocre and uninteresting lager. However, at 6% ABV, a few of these will turn you into a Bierleichen. If that’s what you’re going for, it’s not a terrible means towards that end. As a rule of thumb, though, stick with the Original 6 Oktoberfestbiers when choosing a German Oktoberfestbier. This is not one of them.

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Lancaster Brewing Oktoberfest Beer

Beer: Oktoberfest
Brewery: Lancaster Brewing Company
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.2%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Clear golden body and a thick, dense head with superior retention. An army of angry little bubbles float to the top at a million miles per hour.

Smell: There’s a slightly irregular albeit pleasant aroma here. It smells like creme brûlée, raisins, and Martinelli’s apple cider. As it sits, it smells exactly like Martinelli’s apple cider. Overall, it’s exceptionally sweet and almost smells a little metallic, like apple cider that has been sitting in a keg for awhile.

Flavor: When describing lagers, bready/caramel/toasted are common terms that most resort to because well, that’s exactly how many lager tastes. Not this guy! It’s exceptionally balanced–at first you think it’s sweet, then the next second, you’re getting just a little bit of a bitterness that counterbalances your initial reaction. It’s fruity (of apples and raisins), nutty (walnuts), and just a little bit metallic (but you don’t really even care). Despite all of these flavors, it’s a mellow brew. All of the ingredients and flavors are harmonious and intertwine together to create a beer I actually haven’t had anything quite like before.

Feel: Medium-thin body with full carbonation. Just a bit creamy.

Concluding Remark:  Okay, so this is definitely not an Oktoberfest/Märzen. I would classify it more as an amber lager, if I had to. Not to degrade the style, but Lancaster’s Oktoberfest offering has too much flavor for an Oktoberfest (n’offense, Oktoberfest). It has a complex flavor that changes with every sip, and you want to keep drinking to figure out what exactly it is that you’re drinking. I think I consumed mine in three or four glugs (yes, that’s a word). I daresay that this is THE perfect fall lager: it makes you feel a little warm inside and invokes the feeling of bonfires and crackling leaves beneath your feet. Yes, a beer can make you feel these things. Find one. You’ll see what I mean. It’s like virtual reality. Well, something like that.

And for the record, I would’ve given it 4 pint glasses if it was actually representative of the style it purports to be. Overall, it’s a rockin’ fall lager, but not an Oktoberfest.

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Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

Beer: Oktoberfest Märzen
Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 6.0%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Dull mahogany body with a full white, silky head.

Smell: Largely metallic and lemony aroma. A bit of caramel malt sweetness at the end.

Flavor: Shockingly watery tasting. As it sits, it becomes a pretty well balanced, straightforward lager. It’s not quite malty and not quite hoppy. It kind of lingers in this beer limbo. There’s a bit of an earthy soil taste, and at the bitter end, there’s a hint of spice from the Saaz hops.

Feel: Very thin, watery body with surprisingly low carbonation. Very dry finish.

Concluding Remark:  Oh, Paulaner. I hate to do this to you, but I have to be truthful to the internet. Your 2012 Oktoberfest has no flavor. It tastes like seltzer spiked with a Märzen. It’s not bad–and at 6%, it’s kind of amazing that this tastes as mellow and neutral as it does.

Paulaner is one of the original six Oktoberfestbiers. In reviewing our way through these festbiers, the current rank is as follows:

1. Spaten
2. Hacker-Pschorr
3. Paulaner
4. TBA
5. TBA
6. TBA

Stay tuned for the completion of the list as we find more of the originals in local beer stores. If you find an Oktoberfest Augustiner or Lowenbrau, please let us know!!

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Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen

Beer: Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen
Brewery: Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen
ABV: 5.7%

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Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Clear, dark amber body with an inch of foamy head that quickly settles to a wisp of tiny bubbles.

Smell: Full range of malt aromas, from toasted to caramel. After a few more wafts, it smells like a freshly baked pretzel with a hint of herbal hops at the end.

Flavor: Like the aroma, it’s like a kaleidoscope of malt flavors. One sip is an explosion of  sweet caramely malt and the next tastes like a variety of nuts. It’s almost too sweet until the hops stage a friendly take over. All of a sudden, the beer goes from sweet to bright, citrusy, and a little herbal. At the end, there’s a bit of peppery, gingery bite. All in all, quite a good amount of flavor given the style!

Feel: Thin body with medium carbonation and a wet finish.

Concluding Remark:  Holy crap, this is Oktoberfest in a sip. As evident by its name “Ur-Märzen” (i.e., original Märzen), Spaten is one of the six breweries in Munich that produces a Märzen for The Oktoberfest. In fact, it was a Spaten brewer that developed what is known as “the world’s first Oktoberfest bier” in 1872. This is hands down my favorite festbier this season (so far). It’s not as sweet as other Oktoberfests; the hops balance the sweetness of the malts and it has quite a complex flavor, given the nature of the style. Spaten’s Ur is not characteristic of all Oktoberfestbiers, but I certainly could keep refilling my Maß with it. It reminds me of my Oktoberfest days, which is really a fallacy as I don’t remember anything. Prost!

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