Great Lakes Brewing Oktoberfest

Great Lakes Brewing OktoberfestGreat Lakes Brewing Company, founded in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, was the first brewpub and microbrewery in Ohio. What started as a dream between two brothers, has grown into 21st largest brewery by volume in United States. Important to Cleveland’s local identity, the brewery distributes over a dozen year round and seasonal brews. Oktoberfest is Great Lakes take on the German classic, with a beautiful amber color and mild carbonation.

The head is quite modest and eventually disappears completely with almost no lacing. Gives the appearance you would expect from a Marzen style brew.

The nose leans on the sweeter side, with aromas of nuttiness and toasted bread. There’s a dash of hoppiness with some roasted malts as well.

Up front the maltiness takes center stage, some roasted nuts and bread jump out the most. The sweetness doesn’t show until mid-palate followed by a smooth acidity. The finish stays somewhat sweet but manages finish clean. The hops make their presence known, adding some dryness and keeping the beer from being what some would consider overly sweet.

Overall this is a pretty straight forward take on a traditional brew that has been around since before the 16th century. The slight sweetness may not be for everyone but the rich malty flavors really give it that fall beer feeling. This would pair nicely with roasted pork, bratwurst or potato pancakes.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints 

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

Paulaner Oktoberfest Paulaner brewed their first beer in Munich, Germany back in 1634. Over the past four centuries, Paulaner has grown their portfolio and gained worldwide recognition. Munich is also home to the original Oktoberfest. It began as a wedding celebration in 1810 for Crown Prince Ludwig at which point it was decided that it would be an annual event. Held the third weekend in September through the first Sunday in October, some of the Oktoberfest attractions include music, contests, food, beer, rides and games. Several local breweries including Paulaner, brew a special beer to mark the occasion appropriately dubbed Oktoberfest Bier or Märzen.

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen pours a crystal clear light brown color with amber hues. The one finger white head dissipates at a slow yet steady rate and leaves minimal lacing behind.

Aromas of sweet toasty malts along with yeasty bready notes dominate the nose. In addition to typical toasted malts one would expect, there is a malty note that is reminiscent of malt powder. There is a light fruit note of sour cherries that hits at the same time as the aromas of buttery toffee and sweet caramel. Rounding out the bouquet are mild notes of earthy and floral hops.

Much of what was detected on the nose is repeated on the palate. Toasty malts and bread notes are intertwined with sweet notes of toffee and caramel. A light floral hop taste is met by a light cherry taste on the midpalate where malty and bready notes still dominate. The floral hop notes continue to the finish where earthy hop notes are also detectable. The hops add a slight bitterness which counteracts all the sweetness and helps to balance the beer.

Paulaner Oktoberfest is a solid, traditional Märzen. Consistent year after year it is a great way to celebrate the season. Pair with Brats and Sauerkraut, Sauerbraten or Apple Strudel. 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest

Flying Dog DogtoberfestFlying Dog was founded in 1990 in Aspen, Colorado. Today, their state of the art brewery is located in Frederick, Maryland. Flying Dog has an eclectic portfolio of craft beers that range from light, easy drinkers to dark, heavy sippers. Dogtoberfest, their Fall seasonal, is a Marzen style beer that is produced using only authentic imported German ingredients.

The beer pours a copper amber color. In the glass it displays brilliant red hues. The head is medium thick and creamy in appearance. It is a lighter bodied beer.

The nose initially offers alluring notes of honey roasted nuts and caramel. Deep, rich roasted malt notes combine with the sweeter offerings that initially present to create a balance of sweet and bold.

The first thing you notice when you taste the beer is that it has an unlikely creamy texture for being a lighter bodied beer. Malty notes with hints of Bavarian roasted almonds are detectable from the first sip. The malt fades slightly on the mid palate, but the nut notes remain and are joined by flavors of sweet toffee and caramel. The sweetness fades on the finish and the flavor profile becomes dominated by roasted malt and barley. The finish is slightly bitter, but only in comparison to the mid palate, and is crisp and clean.

Flying Dog Dogtoberfest is pleasant seasonal offering, but not truly akin to most German Marzen beers. All in all a great way to welcome the fall even though it does fall short of its stylistic claims. 3 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Oktoberfest

Spaten OktoberfestLadies and gentlemen I have some news to tell you SUMMER IS OVER! It is time to put away all of those summer beers with lemons and oranges, the best time for beer drinking is upon us. OKTOBERFEST!

What’s so great about Oktoberfest beers? They are the perfect combination of the malty qualities one normally finds in ales and the refreshing clean finish of lagers. Oktoberfests are actually Marzens. The brewing process for these beers traditionally began in March which is “Marzen” in German. This lager is made with a lot of malt in order for it to survive the brewing process until Oktoberfest, which actually starts in September.

Yes it’s confusing that Oktoberfest actually starts in September and ends after the first week of October, but it’s because the tradition started as a wedding celebration for a Bavarian prince who was very kind to his subjects and allowed all to partake in the celebration. The people had such a great time that the celebration lasted from September until the first week of October.

When it comes to selecting Oktoberfest beers you have a great question, German or American. If you are new to the category, I would suggest starting off with the German beers, especially those from Munich as it is the origin of Oktoberfest, just to understand the classic way Oktoberfests taste. My personal favorite is made by Spaten, as it envelopes your taste buds with a nice cozy malty hug and finishes clean like a classic pale lager does. Other German Oktoberfests to keep an eye out for are Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner. The German Oktoberfests are well rounded beers that you can find yourself having multiple and not being full.

The American Oktoberfests tend to bend the rule, with both names and the amount of hops used in the brewing process. Many American Oktoberfests will call themselves Oktoberfest or Marzen but others use terms like Harvest or just simply Fest. Now if you are more of a Hop you will like the American styles more. They add more hops to have a bit of a bite, because hoppier beers are very popular in America. American Oktoberfests will give you the malty start and mouth feel, but will have a bit of a bite at the end of the palate due to the hops. Some very good American Oktoberfests are Victory’s Fest Beer and Flying Dogs’ Dogtoberfest. I think the Dogtoberfest is one of the best American Marzen because it gives homage to the Munich styles while having their own unique spin.

Generally all of these beers are great. However the best way to determine your favorite style would be to go out buy a few different six packs and try these beers. Find out what you like but do it quickly, the supply for these fall seasonal offerings are here today, gone tomorrow!

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory