Oktoberfest in Munich started two days ago, on September 21. My body and mind has in turn, perfectly aligned itself with the harvest season and oncoming cooler weather, by turning the perfect shade of vitamin deficiency and by choosing to watch Creep Show marathons instead of even remotely considering going outside.
I usually love cheesy gallows’ humor, but let me tell you, Creep Show 2 doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Obnoxious characters and cheap effects had me pining for the days of, “Jordy Verrill, you lunkhead!” Discuss amongst yourselves.
Typically brewed in the spring, then stored in cold cellars to be served in autumn, marzens or Oktoberfests, are German lagers known for their clean and rich malt character. They usually fall in between 4.8 – 5.7% ABV, but American versions are often stronger, but still tend to stick to using German ingredients and respecting the Reinheitsgebot. In fact, it seems like German-style lagers have started to become increasingly popular in the US, with lager breweries popping up all over the country.
Today I’m drinking an award-winning Oktoberfest by Moat Mountain, out of North Conway, New Hampshire. This beer looks like a fiery sunset; a reddish-orange that lightens around the edges; beautiful and with great clarity. A light malty sweetness is found in the nose, alongside toasted bread and a gentle herbal quality; a very clean lager aroma.
This is definitely a malt-forward beer, but I like how it never gets cloying and ends with a balanced and hoppy, semi-dry finish. It is barely sweet and with an enjoyable organic breadiness; like I just walked into a Whole Foods and knocked over everything in the bulk grain aisle.
Moat’s Oktoberfest is slightly spicier than most marzens, which is a little out of ordinary for the style. It’s deeper, richer, and nuttier, with a bigger hop presence than expected, but it’s still delicious and very satisfying. Very smooth mouthfeel and a medium-light carbonation, that could be bumped up a tad; still, 6% ABV and a high drinkability level.
This beer nails the often difficult to achieve malt/hop balance, which is integral in a marzen; a nice American take on the style.
If you’re in the Portsmouth area this Saturday and are looking to get into the Oktoberfest spirit, may I suggest WHYM Craft Beer Cafe’s Sausage Fest – 12-8:00 marzen and sausage outside; inside, you’ll find good ol’ ME pouring some pretty awesome beers, so stop by!