Tag Archive: Oktoberfest

Gordon Biersch: Marzen (USA: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.7% ABV)

Visual: Amber gold. Thin dash of white bubbles and moderate carbonation.

Nose: Slightly lemon fresh. Occasional cooked chicken. Dry malt.

Body:  Caramelised sugar. Malt. Vanilla and toffee. Apricot. Cheesecake. Occasional cooked chicken.

Finish: Salted toffee cheesecake. Liquorice and dry malt. Honey.

Conclusion: I’ve been getting the oddest flavours from beer over this road trip. In this case a marzen that has salted cheesecake like touches. Not just cheesecake, salted cheesecake. Figure that one out if you can.

Some of you may already have read the main tasting notes and noticed the dreaded “Cooked chicken” element. It isn’t the greatest element, but I would say not to worry overly. While the flavour and aroma is present it is a very small element of the beer, worth noting but not worth writing the beer off for.  The malt sweetness and cheesecake elements are much more prevalent and make up the main character of the beer.

It may not be the most complex beer I’ve had on the trip, nor, despite the cheesecake, the most unusual.  It does however hold it’s own. It’s a solid marzen with a nice twist. I can’t say it is going to be a favourite beer, but there aren’t any major flaws.  The only problem is lack of ambition to reach past being a competent beer.  Still, has a very smooth texture and is very easy to drink. Hmm, maybe one flaw, the flavour doesn’t quite hold out to the end of the pint, the last third has some of the subtleties lost.

I do however have a feeling that this beer would complement an actually cheesecake well.  Maybe I’ll have to try that






I was right. It does. If you are going to have it, definitely get cheesecake to go with it.

Here’s to the end of the road trip, hope you enjoyed the reviews, I enjoyed the trip.

Background: The last beer of the road trip of awesome. Well kind of.  I brought three beers back so it’s not quite over yet. This was however the last reviewed beer while on the trip. Another of Michael Jackson list of 500 beers to try, and I was getting pretty happy at how many I had found on the trip. This was tried at one of the Gordon Biersch Brewpubs, this one in New Orleans. The barmaid was helpful and as I was experimenting with this and cheesecake she suggested some other of their beers that would go well with desserts. She even poured me a few samplers to try, which was much welcomed. I also got to talk with a few other customers who were asking what OG (Original Gravity) was, to which I attempted a (vaguely correct ) explanation about it being the amount of sugars in the original liquid pre fermentation. Technically it’s the density of the wort, but since the wort is pretty much based on the sugar content I figured it was close enough for a laymans explanation. Oh and I was slightly tipsy at the time, which may also have altered my choice on how technical to go on this. Also I think I may have damaged the camera at this point as I could not get it to focus properly half the time. Either that or I’m just rubbish with a camera.

Boston Beer Company: Samuel Adams: Oktoberfest (USA: Oktoberfest Marzen: 5.3% ABV)

Visual: Slightly bronzed amber, the glass filled to the brim leaving but a thin dash of head around the edges.

Nose: Dry malt and rye. Light glacier cherries underneath.

Body: Dry and crisp. Light cherries and fruitcake. Toffee sweetness and good malt. Some very light dry liquorice. Light pineapple hops.

Finish: Harvest wheat. Almonds. Dry liquorice. Slight shrimps and thousand island dressing (That last one could be environmental, see background)

Conclusion: How should I review this beer, as an Oktoberfest, or as a beer in itself? Lets go with as a beer in itself, but note that this varies quite heavily from the usual German take. It is much more fruity while still keeping the dry refreshing elements of the style.

Ignoring the most unusual element of the tasting, mainly because I believe it was introduced from the environment rather than the beer itself (Shrimp?), then we find a beer that is quite close to what I would expect of the darker lager style I normally associate with Samuel Adams. It does work well, a touch overly fizzy but not heavily so. The fruitcake flavours combined with Oktoberfest crispness cuts a nice balance between refreshing and flavour.

As I found with a lot of beers this trip, the beer was initially over chilled resulted in muted flavours, but the USA heat meant that it didn’t take long to reach only nicely chilled.  When taken at that point it is quite a pleasant beer that mixes the better elements from the darker and lighter lager styles.

I like this one as a refreshing pint that doesn’t bore you.

Background: Drunk during the road trip of awesome. Samuel Adams is a beer that got me through many visits to America before craft beer became easily available so a chance to drink their Oktoberfest seemed one not to miss. This was drunk near the beech, which I think may account for a few extra flavours which may not entirely have originated in the beer.

Hofbrau Muchen: Oktoberfest (Germany: Oktoberfest Marzen: 6.3 % ABV)

Visual: Clear light yellow, heavily carbonated which gives it an inch plus of frothy bubbled white ahead. There is actually audible crackling as it settles.

Nose: Dry malt. Zesty fresh. Lemon rind and coriander.

Body:  Lots of malt. Slight cinnamon sweet. Strawberry. Moderate nuttiness and hop oils.  Very smooth. Sugar lace. Touch of sweet orange and peach.

Finish: Dry and crisp. Malt. Slight bitter hops and pistachios.

Conclusion: I love the idea of going to Oktoberfest. The whole shindig looks like massive fun, but I have been wary about Oktoberfest beers sometimes.  The first few examples I ran into were not overly noteworthy.

This is however quite pleasant. Looks far too fizzy, but feels smooth on the tongue.  There are a few nice touches that grace the very malt heavy body. The finish comes in a touch too dry and musty for my liking though, it feels slightly like a kolsch finish on a beer that is more easy going.

So, reasonable taste, a very well done texture, overall it is good if not inspiring. So, I’ve still yet to find a great Oktoberfest beer. Guess the hunt continues.

Background: Well Oktoberfest ended a while back now. I intended to drink this to mark the ending of the festival but I period of being ill put paid to that plan. Ah well.  I’ve tried a few Oktoberfest beers, and none have been amazingly great yet. This is one of Michael Jackson’s 500 great beers so I thought it would be a good point to give it another try.

Dark Star Oktoberfest (England: Oktoberfest: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Honey/orange with a bubbly white head.

Nose: Light lime and vanilla, some malt.

Body: Very grainy and wheat bails. Citrus – lime jam. Slight sweetness, lots more grain like wholemeal bits in white bread.

Finish: Dry and hoppy, bitter initially then airy vanilla and sugar.

Conclusion: A Sussex Oktoberfest? Surely not! A bit too string on the lime elements which hides the other notes, carries through as a refreshing beer however. It tries for sweetness but ends up more cloying.

A very wheat filled experience, almost like an alcoholic representation of a farmers gathering – very Sussex character.

It’s not a bad beer but its not a patch on most Oktoberfests

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