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Beer Review #232 Hex Ourtoberfest

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent to me in the sampler was an Oktoberfest, or as they call it an Ourtoberfest. I really dig Oktoberfest beers as they fit so perfectly in the fall chill that begins to take over the Northeast. I’ve reviewed a almost two dozen Oktoberfest beers since this site started and except for a few exceptions, I really dig these beers.

Hex Ourtoberfest pours a nice clear amber color with a slight off-white head protecting the liquid below. All in all, it looks like an American Oktoberfest. I have generally found traditional German Oktoberfest beers to be lighter in color and lighter in caramel flavor compared to their American counterparts. Hex is decidedly in the American range of Oktoberfest beers. The nose is exactly what I hoped it would be, bready, malty, and solid caramels. In addition to the malt there is a slight hop spiciness that trickles through the whole nose.

I was really excited to try Hex Ourtoberfest on my first sip and I wasn’t disappointed. Everything in the nose comes out right away in the beer. The caramels with hints of toffee flow through the beer as do the bread flavors. I often find a lot of Oktoberfest beers to be too far on the sweet side but this one is very balanced. The spicy hops that were in the nose are present in the flavor of the beer as well. The are solid in there with a slight pine component. They provide a nice counterpart to the vast array of malt flavors.

This beer comes in at 5.4% which I consider sessionable. I thought that this one was pretty good. The slight pine flavor on the hops wasn’t something that I was expecting, but it didn’t take away from the beer at all. If you are a fan of American Oktoberfests this one will float your boat. (more…)

Beer Review #152 Penn Brewery Oktoberfest

I have finally reached my last Oktoberfest of the year to review. This will be my 10th Oktoberfest of the year. Not too shabby considering that I don’t review repeats. My last Oktoberfest of the year comes from Pittsburgh, PA from the aptly named Penn Brewery, also know as the Pennsylvania Brewing Company. Whatever the name, they have gone through some big changes in recent years, including opening, closing, outsourcing, and opening again. Whew.

Penn’s Oktoberfest pours a nice copper color (like an Oktoberfest should) and has a white head. The nose is fully of toasty maltyness. There is some background lager sulfur, but overall this one smelled pretty good. The nose only gave a hint of the malt that lays inside of this beer. There is some slight caramel up front, which is quickly followed by a toasted honey malt flavor. It was a really nice transition and something that I haven’t had before. There is no hop kick in this one, and the sweetness from the malt is allowed to sit a little to long for my liking. There is some since biscuit on the aftertaste which helped the beer in my book.

This isn’t one of my favorite Oktoberfest beers but it is pretty solid. The lack of hops really shifted the balance of this beer. It is just a little too sweet for my liking. If there were some additional hops added to this beer it would really be a winner. (more…)

Beer Review #151 Old Dominion Octoberfest

I’ve had a few Old Dominion Brewing Company beers since I moved to Delaware a year and a half ago. Most recently I had some of their beers when I was at the Good Beer Festival. Old Dominion is brewed about an hour’s drive down Route 1 from my house in Dover, De. I still haven’t gotten a chance to take a tour of their brewery, but I have a few free weekends coming up where a tour would fit in nicely.

The first thing that caught my eye about this Oktoberfest is that it isn’t spelled in the traditional way. See that “C” in there instead of the “K?” That’s not normal, in fact, I’ve never seen it on another Oktoberfest style beer. Old Dominion’s take on a Oktoberfest pours a nice copper color and it is crystal clear. The head is has a light tan hue to it, which was a bit darker than I expected. As a general rule of thumb on Oktoberfest beers I expect the head to be white the lighter the color. This one’s head was darker than most that are a similar color.

The nose is pretty straightforward with some slight malt and hoppy background. The hops were not like others, these hops were spicy and complimented the malt odor, not overpower it. The taste was more complex than the nose let on. The normal malt flavors lead into some very distinct caramel tones. The hops then come in and balance out the sweetness, but don’t take all of the sweetness away. The beer finishes with a nice biscuit dryness. I was surprised to find a little heat in this one as well.

I really enjoyed this one. For a beer that didn’t promise a lot based on the nose, it really delivered on flavor. Of note on the bottle, eight German malts and four hop varieties were used in the making of this beer. I guess that’s were the complexity came from. Good work Old Dominion, this beer will be on my repurchase list for next year. (more…)

Beer Review #150 Shiner Oktoberfest

When I lived in Texas I had a good number of Shiner beers before I really ventured into other waters. The main reason was two fold: 1. they make a huge variety of beer, 2. it’s cheap. I was without a job for the first two and a half months of living in Texas, so cheap anything was high on the priority list. In my year down there I never saw Shiner Oktoberfest. Shiner, err the Spoetzel Brewery, is located in Shiner, Texas, a town of just 2,070 people according to the bottle.

In my round-up of Oktoberfest beers this one found its way into my basket. I’ve been disappointed by some of their beers in the past, but I hoped that this one would change that trend around. The beer pours a really nice orange color with a fluffy white head. The head quickly fades to a thin lace on top of the clear beer. Shiner Oktoberfest’s nose was lightly malty with some toasted notes in there. There was some distant sulfur, but nothing to complain about.

On the first taste the malt sweetness from the nose carried over wonderfully onto the flavor realm. I never really got a hop kick in this one. The hops fade in a bit, but never fully make their presence known. The aftertaste is what killed this beer in my eyes. It was metallic and just took away anything the beer had going for it.

I was really digging this beer up until the aftertaste. The malt was light and the hops were as well. Everything seemed to be in a decent balance, though a bit malt forward, and wham! metal. This isn’t the first time I’ve tasted metal in Shiner’s beers before. I don’t know if it is the water or something else, but it just destroys an other wise good beer. (more…)

Beer Review #148 Sly Fox Oktoberfest

This Oktoberfest is brewed by Sly Fox Brewing Company of Royersford, PA. The brewery is actually a small chain of brewpubs that also has a production brewery. They currently have two locations and I believe they are looking to expand. Pennsylvania seems to be a good spot if you want to open a brewpub chain. The Iron Hill group of brewpubs, Sly Fox, and one of the Rock Bottom Brewery locations all call Pennsylvania home.

Unlike any other Oktoberfest that I have had before, this one comes in cans. It pours a nice light amber color and has a white head. The nose isn’t super complex, but expected. There is some malt mixed with caramel. In the background I also found some lager sulfur.

The first taste beckons what the nose promised, malt and caramel. Behind the upfront flavors there are some nice grainy flavors. The hops do a great job of coming in and kicking out the sweetness of the malt. I found this one exceptionally balanced compared to some of the other “darker” Oktoberfest beers that I have had.

So far this is my favorite Oktoberfest of the year. The malt isn’t super sweet and heavy on the caramel components like a lot of the other examples of this style. It is very fresh tasting and the grainy notes really add to the quality of the beer. Sly Fox Oktoberfest comes in at 5.8% so it is sessionalable. I could see myself drinking this year round if they offered it. (more…)