It’s October and that means fest style beers are well underway. Oktoberfest is a fest held in the Bavaria region of Germany, which aside from great food (saurkraut, pickles, cheeses, speck…) is notorious for its beer. It’s probably one of my favorite regions of Europe, if not for the appreciation of hearty food and ale, then certainly for the untamed alpine landscape. I had the pleasure of going to Oktoberfest in 2010 for a couple of days, and while it’s become less of a traditional end of harvest, ale drinking precursor to winter and moreso of a party, it was a good time. I mean look at these fun facts from Wikipedia:
■Visitors: 6.4 million
■Beer: appr. 7,100,000 liters (151,200 liters non-alcoholic)
■Pork knuckles (haxen): 69,293 units
■Oxen: 119 units
■Expenditure of electricity: 2.96 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich’s daily requirements or as much as a four person family will need in 52 years and 4 months)
■Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and even 500 crutches
Narragansett has a fall fest Märzen style beer that was released around mid-September and is a limited release, staying on shelves until about November/early December. The orange can has a depiction of Saint Gambrinus on it, the unnofficial patron saint of beer, and probably my favorite saint behind the patron saints of lost causes and Animals. Don’t even get me started on the sociological implications of this saint: Martin de Porres – black people, hairdressers, hair stylists, lottery, lottery winners, mixed-race people, public education, public schools, state schools, sweepstakes, sweepstakes winners, televisions…
This beer rings in at 5.5% ABV, and is tawny in color with a thick, creamy head that surprisingly doesn’t leave any lacing, and medium carbonation. The aroma has a wheat scent to it. Definitly hints of bread, some esters, and then sweeter “harvest” notes like honey and sugar. This beer, as it’s heavy on the Munich-style malts, has the smell and taste of toasted grains and brown sugars, what I’ve heard some peopel describe as hints of “toffee”, but the end of the sip has a distinct hop profile that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Not super carbonated.
It’s a good Oktoberfest, and the Narragansett craft cans are so affordably priced that they are a good introduction to craft beer for anyone. So there’s really no reason not to try this seasonal.