Two years ago, we were invited to Sierra Nevada‘s beautiful facility outside Asheville, NC to try their not-yet-released 2015 Oktoberfest. Within minutes of our arrival, I was handed a large mug of the beer, was introduced to a tall, smiling 12th-generation German brewer named Frank (who loved that we were called “Frank About Beer“), and had all the schnitzel and cheese I could eat.
It was all wonderful, especially the beer which, I have to admit, I was not usually a fan of. After all, I love IPAs and stouts, so Oktoberfest beers tended to be lower on my desirability scale.
Oktoberfest, a German, lager-style beer, tends to be a malty and easy-drinking. Technically considered a Marzen beer, its origins date back several centuries to Germany where it was once against the law to brew beer from late April through late September. As a result, beer for these months was brewed through March (Marzen) at the latest, then stored and consumed during the dry spell lasting several months. In October, the return of legal beer-making was celebrated, and the now-aged beer was finished up.
In the case of Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest beer, they collaborate with a different German brewer every year to get a great, authentic flavor. This year’s collaboration was with Brauhaus Miltenberger, who has been brewing beer for nearly 360 years.
Marzens can come in a variety of colors from light gold to dark brown (depending on how much roasting is done to the malted barley), and this one pours a lighter amber with good carbonation. These tend to be around 5-6% ABV, and this one comes in at 6.1%.
The taste is a malty sweetness with a mild, hoppy bitterness, which is spot-on to this style of beer. And it’s deliciously smooth with a clean, refreshing finish.
The great thing about Marzen/Oktoberfest style lagers is that they’re very approachable and easy to drink, so this one from Sierra Nevada is a great one to try, especially if you don’t care for the big bitterness of an IPA. It’s fairly new for the season, so it should be easily available in stores nationally.
Cheers! Er, Prost!