Kristie has pumpkin beer territory covered, so I’m going to stick with reviewing traditional Oktoberfests. Pumpkin is getting kind of played out, I mean even Budweiser has one now (Okay, technically it’s Shock Top who has the pumpkin beer but let’s not split hairs here shall we?). Myself and half the reps I work with at tastings are constantly having this conversation:
Rep: “Try our INSERT FALL SEASONAL HERE?”
Drinker: “I love pumpkin beers!”
Rep: “This isn’t a pumpkin, actually. It’s a traditional marzen style lager with a strong malt profile…”
Drinker: “Well do you have a pumpkin?”
Rep: “No, we do not have a pumpkin beer.”
Drinker: “I thought this was your fall seasonal though? I love Shipyard. Can I have a free t-shirt?”
So it goes.
Berkshire Brewing Company has an Oktoberfest Lager (6.8% ABV) that is a marzen-style beer. Almost all of their brews are so good, they were one of the first micro-brews I got into because I lived in Western MA when I turned 21, and subsequently turned away from PBR and my attitude of, “All beer tastes the same!” after trying their Coffeehouse Porter.
I poured this beer into a pint glass. It’s a dark orange with active carbonation and a 2-inch head that stayed until I finished the beer, with minimal lacing. This beer really embodies the idea of a toffee nose. It’s so prominent, the minute you near the glass you get whiffs of toffee and burnt sugar. It made me think of caramel corn or the topping on creme brulee. It’s definitely the most noticeable in this beer compared to any of the other ones I’ve tried, switching between cereal and caramelized in terms of flavor. After I was done basking in the smell, I had my first sip. This beer goes down incredibly smooth, the initial taste is biscuity malts, hints of toffee, and some light hops. It finishes with a taste of alcohol and is a litter more bitter than the initial sweet taste- leaving your mouth nice and warm.
Would drink again, going to look for some later today.