Monday, November 24, 2008

Fall Brew Wrapup

In the interest of time, I'm going to combine the rest of my fall brews into one post. If it's not obvious, this is because the rest of the fall stuff I sampled wasn't that great. Here we go.

Summit Oktoberfest

Brewery: Summit, St. Paul, Minnesota

Style: Oktoberfest/Marzen

ABV: 7.7%

Rating: 3.5 Stars

As you can tell by the alcohol content, this Oktoberfest packs a stronger punch than most. It's darker, creamier and frankly, more difficult to chug. I hate to be redundant, but honestly, how can all these beers claim to be in the Oktoberfest/Marzen category? They are so unalike. I'm not talking about subtle differences between pale ales here, the differences in these beers are vast, and could make someone regret buying a 12-pack because of confusion.

Yes, they call this an Oktoberfest. If you were to pick a season for this beer, I guess you could pick fall (the Winter Ale comes out a few weeks later), but I'd call it something other than Oktoberfest. OK, maybe I'm bitter because Summit denied me a job. But I do like this beer in general. I just think the categorizing is a bit of a stretch. In my notes, the only meaningful descriptive word I had for this one was spicy. Next.

Hacker Pschorr Original Oktoberfest

Brewery: Paulaner, Munich, Germany

Style: Oktoberfest/Marzen

ABV: 5.8%

Rating: 2.5 Stars

A traditional Marzen. Golden verging on amber in color, with flavor characteristics similar to a German pilsner. Has a bigger kick, though only noticeable after a couple. I have to admit, I had this one after the Summit, which I thought was a more traditional Oktoberfest at the time, and was slightly disappointed with the result. Looking back, I probably slighted Hacker Pschorr a bit. You can't question the original, can you?

Goose Island Harvest Ale

Brewery: Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois

Style: ESB

ABV: 5.6%

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reliable sources pegged this one as a Surly clone. I didn't taste the same beer apparently. Though I wouldn't have IDed it as an ESB (I don't like many other than Fuller's), I certainly wouldn't have mistaken it for a Surly. Has good round flavor, with floral hops and a nice dry finish, but is far less aggressive than I need a beer to be. I enjoyed it, and could probably have half a dozen in a night's work, but I'm past the days of pursuing quantity over quality.

Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest

Brewery: Leinenkugel's, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Style: Oktoberfest/Marzen

ABV: 5.1%

Rating: 1 Star

An attempt at a traditional Oktoberfest. I would like to give Leinie's the benefit of the doubt on this one--maybe it was a bad keg--but I just can't do it. This was garbage. Flat, no zip, no flavor, a leave-it-on-the-side-of-the-road beer all around. Not sure why they even bother.

Mendocino Oktoberfest

Brewery: Mendocino, Hopland, California

Style: Oktoberfest/Marzen

ABV: 6.1%

Rating: 2 Stars

Gets the nod over Leinie's simply because you're getting 1% higher alcohol content. Otherwise, there's just as little reason to touch this. From the notes (pre-Leinie's): "Worst Oktoberfest I've had this year. Flat taste and very bitter." Maybe I'm just not a fan of the style.


Anonymous said...

Was this all in one night? i feel that could have had an effect on your tasting experience

nils said...

No no no. Spread out over many days. My tasting experience was legit.