Oktoberfest officially kicks off today. In celebration I decided to drink Left hand Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. The style isn’t one of my all time favorites. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy them, but the amount of malty sweetness in them can be a bit overwhelming. Agreed. Sometimes it’s just too much. Typically if I get a hangover it’s because I was drinking a really really sweet beer. One really bad hangover I had was after a night of drinkg Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Brown Shugga. Oktoberfest beers usually remind me of that type of sweetness. In fact, Amber has her own blog and she mentions the fact that she was hungover after drinking the Spaten Oktoberfest at Old Chicago. To be fair, I had a Paulaner Wiesn Blonde too and I felt icky for like 5 days so I think it might have been something I ate, not a hangover. I think the thing to remember about this style is moderation. They are good but a few too many might leave you under the weather the next day.
It has an off white head with a very nice dark red amber colored body. The aroma is fruity, sweet, and caramely. I think it’s caramelly, edging towards roasted toffee. The taste is sweet, very sweet actually. Some would say too sweet. Accurate to style, but damn. There is not a noticeable bitterness at all. The beer has a very nice smoothness to the mouthfeel. The finish is warming (might be the sweetness). It left me with the a sort of burning at the back of my throat which is either from it being higher in alcohol or the amount of malty sweetness. I’m really not sure which it is but I’m pretty sure I might need to make sure I don’t have any cavities.
Due to the high malty sweetness I wouldn’t recommend drinking this beer or for that matter the style super fast. Take your time. Pour a pint (or litre) and kick back with some good friends and enjoy it for a while. And have a pretzel. You need to offset these guys. Something else you might consider if you buy a six pack is to have one every couple of days. Oktoberfest is 16 days and there really isn’t a rush to drink it all at once.
Some others to try (besides the already reviewed Samuel Adams Octoberfest):
Hoss – Great Divide Brewing Co.
Shiner Oktoberfest – Spoetzl Brewing Co. (currently in my fridge so stay tuned)
Hoss is the only one of these that is offered year-round. All others are seasonal offerings so if you like one you should stock up on it while you can.