Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shun Fall Gimmicks, Drink An Oktoberfest

"I can't wait for the first pumpkin beer," is something you'll never read on this blog.  I started seeing excited tweets about pumpkin beers in early August, and thought it's going to be a long fall.  I don't know when pumpkin beers upended tradition and eclipsed Oktoberfest beers as the fall beer of choice, but it is a shame these trite, gimmick beers are now synonymous with autumn.  In my experience most pumpkin beers are thin and forgettable - craft beers' version of the Lime-A-Rita*. 

There is hope for beer drinkers looking for a traditional fall alternative.  ChuckAlek Independent Brewers have a solid Oktoberfest beer, called appropriately Oktoberfest.  It's the anti-pumpkin beer, which is the highest compliment I can give it.  It is a classic Oktoberfest beer, which is a German Marzen-style lager.   Chuck Alek's Oktoberfest's clear, copper color foretells the impending malt.   The beer had a rich and complex flavor, more so than other Marzen's I have tried.  The strong malt gave Oktoberfest a hint of mineral favor, and a sweetness I was not expecting, but liked.  A mid-taste, gentle hop bitterness gave way to a smokey finish, which became stronger through the last half of the glass.  Overall, a smooth, full-bodied beer.

My favorite fall beer is an even newer upstart than pumpkin beers, it is the wet hop IPA.  As it is only mid-September, it is a bit early in the year for this apostate style.

*  Not all pumpkin beers are banal.  Dogfish Head's pumpkin beer is quite good, and if you need a fix of liquid gourd, find this beer.  

1 comment:

The Hop Daddy said...

I am honestly not a real fan of Pumpkin or Oktoberfest beers, but Twisted Manzanita Brewing Co. makes a great Pumpkin Ale called Witches Hair. I posted about it back in 2011 here: http://hop-daddy.blogspot.com/2011/10/put-away-pie-pick-up-glass.html.