|Also From This Brewery
If youíre a German brewer, October may not be your
favorite month. Whatís that, you say? October is the month of Oktoberfest
(well, itís really more like end of September), that grand and glorious
celebration of gemutlicheit, oversized pretzels, and most especially beer
that is so definitively German? Why, how could any German brewer be unhappy
at such a time?
Mostly because, of course, they canít brew Oktoberfest beer. Oh sure, any
German brewer can whip up a batch of Vienna-Marzen style lager, which is
what Oktoberfest beer originally was and still often is. They just canít
call it Oktoberfest beer. By law, only six German breweries can do that:
Lowenbrau, Hofbrauhaus, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr (now owned by Paulaner),
Spaten, and Augustiner.
Meanwhile, American microbreweries have a ball calling all kinds of stuff
(even, gasp, ales) Oktoberfest beer! So what to do? The bigger German
brewers, like Beckís of Bremen, wised up and decided that if American
breweries can sell the American public Oktoberfest beers, well, they can
Ergo, Beckís Oktoberfest (formerly called Beckís for
Oktoberfest). This is a relatively recent addition to the Beckís lineup,
which for a long time consisted only of
Beckís Beer , a
pilsner style lager, and
Beckís Dark , a
Beckís Premier Light was added as well.
Pouring my bottle of Beckís Oktoberfest into a glass I get a
reddish-brown hued liquid capped off with a light head of foam. A whiff
reveals a slightly chocolaty nose. I take a sip, and I get a very clean dark
lager with noticeable flavors of chocolate malt, though not really the nutty
Munich malt flavors Iím looking for. In fact, it tastes almost like a blend
of Beck's and Beck's Dark to me.
In 2001, I scribed the following notes about this beer:
There is a subtle touch of chocolate here and some light malt character,
but the body is thinner than I'd like for the style. It's like a bigger
version of Beck's beer but a lesser one than Beck's Dark. As such it's not a
bad beer, but isn't my idea of Maerzen beer.
Today, I think the body is a bit more firm than it was in the past. But the
chocolate malt flavors still predominate. The beer finishes dry, with a
slightly herbal grassy hop aroma and bitterness.
While this isnít a bad beer, itís not one that bowls me over, either. Best
to stick to one of the original breweries for your Oktoberfest beer, some of
which are available in America.