Raise up your Liter Chosen: Oktoberfest Tasting Report
From life on Marzen to the depths of Helles, we have the agenda and some of the best local beers to make you want to don your dirndl, tip your Alpine Hat and rock the Haus.
In Munich, Oktoberfest is scheduled in September, and while the German fest was cancelled, and you might have missed some of New England’s in-person events, I’ve got a number of recommendations for Festive drinking…
The first weekend in October was the much anticipated Narragansett Beer’s Oktoberfest at the new Castle Tockwotton Providence Brewery. If thirsty fans haven’t drunk it all, you will be able to stille deinen Bierdurst (quench your beer thirst) with Gansett Oktoberfest brewed by the local team led by Lee Lord. Lee and the brewers are debuting their Märzen style that will bring Munich to the Providence masses.
One of my favorite fall beers is Sam Adams Oktoberfest.This classic style blends rich malts for a hearty, smooth flavor with notes of caramel. What’s not to love? This Lager – Märzen is hearty, nutty and woody. Very smooth. Available on tap and in bottles.
Next on the list is Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen’s ‘Tis the Wiesn – Festbier (5.7%ABV) A magical and more modern Oktoberfest-style lager. I had a preview pint thanks to the ‘Fürst of Franconia,’ Alex Corona. Pale in color, big pilsner malt character, and medium bodied with a snappy hop finish that keeps you coming back for another sip. The German word wiesn translates as “meadows,” and is the term used by locals in Munich to refer to the Oktoberfest festival. $14 4-pack 16oz cans.
Most American brewers making a beer for this season produce a Marzen-style lager, an amber lager with rich caramel malt flavor which was common in the late 19th Century. But the lager beer consumed in Munich today is a golden-hued, drier, and more refreshing beer. Long time cornerstone of New England craft beer, Cambridge Brewing Company’s Festbier is brewed with Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts, and Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and Tettnanger hops. Cold fermentation with an authentic German lager yeast is followed by an extended seven weeks of conditioning time. Thanks to Will sharing a sample of his work CBC FestBier. I was told it wasn’t ready, needed more time. Honestly already fantastic and will only get better! Unfiltered but crystal clear, it offers toasted malt notes of freshly baked bread combined with zesty, spicy German hops for a balanced, crisp, and refreshing lager that makes me want more! Available early October on tap and in growlers at Cambridge Brewing Company. 1 Kendall Square, Bldg 100 Cambridge, MA
The Octoberfest Cans I liked the most in no particular order
(available at your local beer purveyor)
Foolproof Augtoberfest: This is a proper Märzen. Mahogany amber pour with a long lasting off-white head. Nice clarity. The body is medium featuring a nice malt sweetness to start and possibly a hint of brown sugar. Then there is a bitter earthy or resiny finish. When it breathes it’s even better! Actually outstanding! 241 Grotto Ave #1, Pawtucket, RI 02860
Ragged Island Oktoberfest: A perfect example of a traditional Oktoberfest! A medium bodied Marzen larger. Starts out hoppy then malty with a clean dry finish. 54 Bristol Ferry Rd, Portsmouth, RI 02871
Jack’s Abby Copper Legend Octoberfest: The pour is light amber with a moderate flow of carbonation. The flavor profile is malty & toasted almond. I tasted a slight biscuity touch. Finish is clean, crisp and bright. Overall, a very good Märzen / Oktoberfest that I would seek out again. 100 Clinton St, Framingham, MA 01702
Grey Sail Autumn Winds Fest Beer: Pours a nice fizzy little fluffy slightly browned head that fades beautifully. Very malt forward with a mild hop flavor. Mouth is medium to full bodied with just the right carbonation. 65 Canal St, Westerly, RI 02891
Smug Brewing Bocktoberfest: Is it a bock or an festbier? Local wizards have brewed a beer with an aroma that is sweet and malty, but balanced with a subtle spiciness. Earthy hops and then the malt sweetens making a marzen delight. 100 Carver St, Pawtucket, RI 02860
Black Hog Brewing Octoberfest: Master brewers Tyler Jones and Tom Sobocinski have created a hop/malt perfect balancing act. Caramel, bready, and biscuity malts. Bright but not overpowering hops. Nice mouth feel. Easy drinking.Let it breathe and you will have a very solid fest bier. 115 Hurley Road Building 9A Oxford, CT 06478