As the calendar changes over from September to October not only does the weather get chillier, and the leaves start changing colors and falling, but the Oktoberfest beers start appearing at all my favorite haunts. In the past I’ve mentioned several of my favorite local Oktoberfest brews, this year I’m gonna spread my Marzen celebration a little wider and list three fabulous Oktoberfest beers from breweries best known for another beer.
It is all about proving that the best breweries can make any style of beer if they try. Just because they are known for one particular style doesn’t mean that their brewers aren’t able to step across the aisle and produce a fabulous fest bier. I’ve often said that brewing beer is more of an art than a science but ultimately beer comes down to four base ingredients: malt, hops, yeast, and water. What these fabulous artists do with these four base ingredients is what makes us love them all so.
Bob’s 47 from Boulevard Brewing Company out of Kansas City, MO.
Served: This was poured from the bottle into a dimpled glass beer stein.
Appearance: Clear dark amber with a huge white head (mostly because I poured it too fast).
Smell: I smell caramel and bread like most Oktoberfest brews but this one also adds a layer of aroma that could best be described as autumn in a bottle. I smell crinkled leaves, the chill in the air, and perhaps even a little pumpkin spice.
Taste: Caramel, honey, and toffee highlight the flavor of this brew. I also get a hint of almond and walnut paired with some hop spiciness.
Mouth feel: Medium bodied with a clean finish.
Overall: I really enjoy this beer and look forward to its release each year. The boys at Boulevard bring it year-in and year-out with their flagship wheat, but this version of the fest bier style really captures everything I love about the fall.
Sam Adams Octoberfest from Boston Brewing Company out of Boston, MA.
Served: Served on draft into a tall pilsner glass.
Appearance: Clear copper with a sizeable white head.
Smell: As this beer warms you can really get the bready aroma. It is sweet like honey without being cloying.
Taste: A fine flavor of caramel and biscuit, with a hint of cocoa powder.
Mouth feel: There is a lot of carbonation present and this actually has a bigger body than I expected.
Overall: Sam Adams is best known for their Boston Lager so stepping into the Oktoberfest world isn’t a huge trip for them. This fails to blow away the inner German in me, but it is solid as any American take on the traditionally German style.
Octoberfest from Bells Brewing Company out of Kalamazoo, MI.
Served: This was served on draft into a pint glass.
Appearance: Crystal clear dark orange color with small white head.
Smell: Not overly fragrant, a little bit of bready sweetness capped with a touch of grassy hop.
Taste: This beer has more malt flavor than expected by the lacking aroma. The sweetness is cut a little by some burnt caramel and molasses notes.
Mouth feel: Despite a bit too much carbonation, this is pretty smooth drinking with a little extra alcohol kick on the back of your tongue.
Overall: Bell’s flagship brews are the Oberon and Two-Hearted, neither of which is anywhere near this style. Fortunately their brewers aren’t afraid to go the lager route. This beer is easy drinking and reminds me of bier hall drinking at its blue-checkered tablecloth finest.