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Beer Review #147 Dogtoberfest

Dogtoberfest was a beer that I had tried previously to last weekend, but it really “spoke” to be at the Good Beer Festival. This fall offering is brewed by Flying Dog Brewery of Fredrick, Maryland. I’ve had a number of their beers and I have always been happy with my purchases. In fact, I have a few of their beers sitting in my fridge right now.

Flying Dog’s beer pours a nice amber color with a slightly off-white head. It is perfectly clear as well. The nose is very malty, with tones of caramel and some toasty notes. This is more of what I think of when I hear “Oktoberfest.” The taste is full of rick caramel. The sweetness sits on your tongue for awhile and then the hops kick in right at the end to cut the sweetness. A nice bready flavor presents itself after the hops and malt are washed away.

I think this is a pretty solid Oktoberfest. This beer would be the perfect compliment to a nice cold fall night. If the Phillies were still playing (I’m still not over it) I would be drinking this while watching the playoffs with my windows open. It is only 5.6% so you could have a few and still be alright. On a side note, I love the art on the label of this beer. Flying Dog usually has some weird stuff on their labels and this one is no exception, but it fits in with the Oktoberfest feel. (more…)

Beer Review #146 Hofbräu Oktoberfest

I know that the official Oktoberfest is over, but there seems to be a number of these beers hitting the shelves around me right now. I’ve made an effort to purchase more Oktoberfest beers from Germany this year in order to better understand the style. From my experiences it seems that the products from Germany have a might lighter flavor and color profile than their American counterparts. Most American Oktoberfest examples seem to be amber in color and be more malty than balanced.

Hofbräu Oktoberfest is brewed by Hofbräu München of Munich, Germany. This traditional Oktoberfest comes in at 6.3% which seems to be inline with both the German and American examples of the style. The lager pours a golden color and is perfectly clear. It also has a healthy white head. The nose is pretty sulfury and has a bit of “euro-skunk” going on. I’m guessing that this one was on the shelves a bit too long and had a little too much sun exposure.

On my first taste I was surprised to see how light it was in the flavor department. There is some slight malt sweetness in there, but not much else. The hops come in about half way through and balance the bit of sweetness that is there. The shinning star for this beer in my book is the nice bready ending that offers something to the beer, because overall the flavor was pretty nondescript.

This wasn’t a bad beer but it also wasn’t anything special. I’m not sure if I would get it again. It is interesting to see another German beer with a light color and light flavor. Does anyone know of a German Oktoberfest with a darker flavor and color profile? (more…)

Beer Review #145 Atwater Bloktoberfest

I’m not sure if I have ever had a beer from Michigan before, so when I saw Atwater Block Brewery’s Bloktoberfest I decided to give it a whirl. Atwater Brewery is located in Detroit, Michigan. While the city has been going through some hard times over the past few decades, their craft beer market seems to be on the upswing.This beer caught my eye not only because it is from Michigan, but because I have never seen the name Bloktoberfest before. After doing some research all I have been able to find is that it is a beer festival in Philadelphia and a few other places. Any other help on the name would be appreciated.

Anyway, Bloktoberfest poirs a nice deep amber color with a tanish, off-white head. The nose is rich and malty with lots of caramel. There is some slight toffee but nothing too much. Unlike the last review there was some hop bitterness in the nose, but not a ton.

The taste very much followed the nose; big malt flavors with a slight bit of hop bitterness. This one was pretty good but I found it on the sweet end of things. Maybe I’m expecting an Oktoberfest to be too balanced, but my impression of a traditional Oktoberfest is a low to medium alcohol beer with a balanced flavor. This one comes in at 6.2% so it has the alcohol down, but a touch more hops would have really helped it in the balance department. All and all, I would drink it again.

Correction: I have had an Atwater beer before, their winter ale.


Beer Review #145 Dundee Oktoberfest

Dundee Brewing Company of Rochester, New York is one of the “usual suspects” here on the east coast. They are a large brewery with a wide distributorship. They also make some tasty, but inexpensive beer. Needless to say, I drank a lot of Dundee during college. With all of the beers that I have drank from them you would think that I have had their Oktoberfest, but I haven’t.

Dundee Oktoberfest pours a nice deep caramel color with a white head. It is perfectly clear as expected. The nose is deeply caramel with some toasty bits mixed in. There is some sweetness as well apart from the caramel. I didn’t get any hops. By first glance, this looked more accurate to my untrained American eyes than what an Oktoberfest from Germany did.

The first taste was really sweet on the front end with loads of caramel and toffee pouring over the taste buds. The hops kick in right as the sweetness gets to be too much and really dry the beer out. It strikes a surprising balance for a beer that starts off really sweet. I thought this rendition of an Oktoberfest was pretty decent. A little too sweet for me, but overall a really solid beer. I’m positive that there are better examples out there but for the price you can’t go wrong. (more…)

Beer Review #144 Erdinger Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest officially ends on Monday, but here in the states it seems like we take the name to heart. In the past week or so I have seen more Oktoberfest beers hit the shelves than when the festival officially started. My first Oktoberfest beer review of the year comes from Erdinger Weissbrau of, appropriately enough, Germany!

This one was a bit of a surprise coming out of the glass. You generally expect an amber colored beer with a slightly off-white head, but Erdiger Oktoberfest pours an “orange” straw color. It had a slight haze to it and a really, really fluffy head if you couldn’t tell from the pictures. The nose was exceptionally grainy. It is nice and malty, with the sweetness that you would expect from a German lager.

The beer tastes pretty close to what the nose promises. The malt is grainy and raw tasting. There is a slight fruit presence, almost estery. There were no hops in the nose, but there are some hops on the end. They really help to balance out this beer.

This beer is not what comes to mind when you hear Oktoberfest, but it is damn tasty. There is a nice balance and the unexpected fruity flavors in the background really added a lot to the beer. It comes in at 5.7% so bottoms up!