In collaboration with
Get excited about this one. Sierra Nevada and Riegele have teamed up for an Oktoberfest beer which they’ve been touting for a while. Sierra has never made a bad beer and Riegele is one of the best German houses that is not often seen Stateside.
The color is surprisingly light, straw with more honey than copper. A crystalline white head appears but sinks quickly. Steady fine carbonation maintains a nice lace though.
The nose is more Riegele than Sierra, but as a fest beer, that’s a good thing. Some sweet biscuit notes and not a lot of hop to start. However, a faint Noble grassiness lurks in there somewhere.
The mouthfeel is as expected – full with no cloying. That delicate effervescence is perfect, exciting the palate without overwhelming the senses; it carries the flavor gently. A touch of honey and lemon hit first but even out with some chewy bagel breadiness that turns crispy before rounding out with a flicker of cut grass that finishes with that lemon that kicked things off.
You won’t find a better fest beer made here. Coinciding with the start of football season, this beer makes the departure of summer bearable.
Posted in Awesome, Beer Review, California, Germany, Oktoberfest, U.S. and A
Tagged Beer Review, California, Germany, Oktoberfest, riegele, sierra nevada
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Tremont Mr. Oktoberfest
It is no longer anywhere near Oktoberfest time. Hell, it’s not even autumn, but I’ve only got a couple of months before this stuff is no good. Tremont is yet another Shipyard brand, but SBC tends to be on the positive side of the plus-minus rating so I’m not too skeptical.
Still working on that Ph.D.
As an Oktoberfest, this beer is a nice ruddy, rusty amber with pumpkin hues in the light. A tan head dissipates quickly but leaves behind a veil of carbonation from some sturdy bubbles rising from the bottom.
The nose is sweet, but doesn’t cloy, like a graham cracker, and has a similar cinnamon and sugar spiciness. Some faint lavender florals hide behind the grain bill, but there is virtually no hop spice or citrus aroma to speak of.
The beer has a great texture – full and with finer effervescence than what the large globules hint at. Oddly enough this beer starts out with some bitters with some slightly tart grassy notes. That cleanliness gives way to a smooth wash of some ale-like characteristics – dates, dark chocolate, and even some brown sugar but with a very tidy finish that is much crisper than the malty aroma intimates.
This seems to be more of an English pale than a real Oktoberfest, but it’s certainly worth a whirl if it’s available.
Schmaltz Brewing Company
San Francisco, CA/New York, NY
Coney Island Freaktoberfest
Pouring this beer is a bit of a shock and takes the “red” designation to a new level – it is really red. Like cherry cough medicine with a syrupy, lambic-like density and some blood-orange tones when held to the light. There is virtually no head to speak of, though a wispy white lace eddies across the surface.
Take a peek at this freak
The nose is mostly sweet malt – very Viennese, and appropriately Oktoberfest-ish (terrible adjective, sorry) – but it is not without some syrupy tones. There are warm alcohol aromas – molasses, stone fruit – with just a touch of faintly lemony Noble hops. Really, this smells very little like a lager though.
The mouthfeel is excellent. There is a fullness and an unexpected effervescence that dances back across the palate as this brew opens up into what is actually quite interesting. An initial shot of warm grain hits the tongue but changes almost instantly into a bitter, crispy tang that I initially thought would turn cloying. It doesn’t. Faint wafts of alcohol arrive, introducing themselves with a metallic wave that recedes in a mild wash of under-ripe cherries.
This would probably fare better if served a bit warmer than I had it and the color is a bit off-putting, but this is an impressively sessionable 6.6% brew. A loveable freak.
Boston Beer Co.
Tomorrow, your friendly neighborhood Brew Yorker is traveling to London for the first time since starting the Brew York City beer blog. With many beautiful beers to try in Merry Olde, I’ll try to report as much as possible, but expect dimly lit pub photos.
In the meantime, here’s an Oktoberfest to get in the fall spirit.
What a lovely copper beer! Amber, dark honey and dark orange preserve shimmer through the untouched clarity and lively carbonation. A solid half inch of head slows down at a quarter inch and is as smooth and slightly off-white as new snow under a forest canopy. The surface teems with the life of the effervescence from below.
The nose has a lot of malt – sugary cereal initially emerges but soon the hops take over with a crisp grassiness and some mildly earthy cooked vegetables.
The mouthfeel is a beautiful thing, creamy as the snowy head hits, then full and tingly as the carbonation dances in second. Initially smooth malts like cream of wheat come about, followed by a metallic and tangy zest of orange peel. There is an amazing interplay between that tanginess and an overall smoothness from the malt. There is alcohol present, but there’s no unseemly heat from it.
I could sit outside on a cool fall day and drink an alarming amount of these. This beer is smoother than Billy Dee Williams, yet is as sharp as his style.
New York, NY
Always a fan of Brooklyn Brewery and all that they have to offer, I am eager to review one of my favorite styles – Oktoberfest.
The pour gives a decent head but, without too much agitation, the off-white fluff vanishes quickly as the slow and steady carbonation keeps a thin layer of effervescence on the surface.
The color is an absolutely textbook copper; orange, brown, and red shine through like dappled autumn light through changing foliage.
The nose is a good mix of bready malt and faintly spicy hops. More on the malty side, the aroma conjures the sweet richness of apple cider, but perhaps warmed and spiced up with some potent potable.
Potent, it is. The mouthfeel is full and considerably more aggressive than you might think. This is due, in part, to a really nice hops character that introduces itself early – rare for a Marzen. The huskiness of the odor gives way to a fruity hop bite that has notes of apricot and plum and perhaps a touch of orange rind. This is also rare for this style, but it works here
At 5.5%, there is no alcohol warmth – to be expected from a Vienna-style. Brooklyn has a definite flavor profile to many of its brews that seems to use the lager as a base. That is, they use hops generously, but never to an overwhelming degree. Most Oktoberfest beers focus entirely on the malt body of the beer so, while this may not be traditional in that sense, it certainly is delicious.