Magic Hat Hex – Ourtoberfest

I drink more oktoberfest style beer at our annual Oktoberfest weekend than all year long. I was amazed by how the taste of this style brought back all of those memories. It is like just like when you smell something out of the ordinary from your childhood, like the smell of your grandparents bungalow at the beach, that you remember and can picture so many details that were otherwise stored in the back of your head.

This beer from Magic Hat was not bad at all. I know that is not high praise, but this just isn’t my favorite style. The color is just right, medium amber. It is lighter than most oktoberfest in the sweetness category and the bitterness is minimal which I would then call it a classic German octoberfest (as opposed to your American variety), but they use an Alt Ale yeast…? Maybe that is why they call it “Ourtoberfest”. They also used some smoked malt in it, but apparently very little as I didn’t detect it all. Maybe I should have another.

Best part of it is that it didn’t have any of that perfume like notes that some Magic Hat beers have that I don’t like. Magic Hat continues to put out new products and are willing to try new things (although not as extreme as say Dogfish Head). Anyway, I think these guys get better every year.

Beer news sampler

A six-pack of items that recently caught our eye.

Prophet vs profit: dilemma for brewing monks
[B]rewing monks are facing a new and unexpected challenge: commercial success. Frankly, even though it will make it difficult for me to ever try a Westmalle Dubbel, I hope they never give in.

Europe’s beer gardens of Eden
The author’s “pilgrimage” from Prague to Munich. Too bad he trots out that old—and incorrect—chestnut that Franklin supposedly said about beer and God.

Sierra Nevada, actual monks to brew new beers
Speaking of Trappist monks, a group of monks from the Abbey of New Clairvaux are partnering with Sierra Nevada to create three limited-edition beers. The proceeds from these beers will help restore a 12th century, early-gothic Cistercian chapter house that William Randolph Hearst purchased and moved to California in the 1930s.

No More Gluek Beer
Jay Brooks said it best: “Regardless of Gluek’s ultimate place in American brewing history, it’s always sad to see another old brand consigned to the scrap heap of discontinued brands, but then I’m sentimental that way.”

How Jimmy Carter Saved American Beer
It’s got nothing to do with his brother Billy or Billy Beer, but rather how the deregulation of the beer industry removed the stranglehold held by Anheuser-Busch and their ilk and allowed the explosion of craft breweries.

AB InBev loses Budweiser trademark case
AB InBev still has agreements in several countries to use the Budweiser brand, but this would have allowed them to claim the trademark in all members of the European Union. Budejovicky Budvar just gets to keep the registrations it currently has. (And let’s hope that this is the last we see of this issue.)

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

Beer-a-Day #296
Paulaner Oktoberfest

This is, perhaps, the quintessential Märzen.

Not quite as orange as Americanized versions of the style, clear, with a nice off-white head. Mild aroma with some roastiness. Malty, of course, with caramel and a hint of the hops. Good stuff. Now I’m craving bratwurst and sauerkraut.


Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest

Beer-a-Day #279Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest

Available August through October each year, our traditional Marzen-style bier is brewed with Munich, Caramel, and a blend of Pale malts. Hallertau, Tettnang, Perle, and Cluster hops provide the aroma for this well-balanced, smooth, festive lager.

Clear and gold with some orange highlights. Hops aroma is light. Medium body with a little toastiness. Good, and now I’m craving bratwurst.

Leinenkugel’s® Oktoberfest

Blue Point Oktoberfest

Beer-a-Day #274Blue Point Oktoberfest

This is one of the prettiest beer labels I’ve ever seen.

Nice harvest gold color with two fingers of head. Nice caramel-like aroma from the malt with a bit of grassiness from the hops. Not as sweet as I expected; clean, with medium body. It’s pretty good; I’d gladly have that again.

Blue Point Brewing Company

Leinenkugel Oktoberfest Review

We consider ourselves somewhat of experts when it comes to Octoberfest. We know how to serve up brats, party all day & night, and raise our liters of beer in celebration. We may even go as far as to consider ourselves experts on the Oktoberfest beer style, even though we are both a bit of hop heads.

The Oktoberfest style of beer is a medium bodied beer that is sweet yet balanced out with Noble hops. The sweet malt should be the dominant flavor. It comes in a variety of color ranges, from light orange to dark copper. You will find light toasty notes in the malt. Caramel/toffee flavors are also acceptable for the style. Additionally, bread or biscuit like flavors may be present. The aroma will be notable, but low to medium, and clean.

There is also an American Oktoberfest style where the only difference is a slightly stronger hop presence, but sweetness remains the predominant characteristic of the beer.

We’ve had several bake-offs and Brooklyn’s Oktoberfest remains the champion of champions when it comes to this style. It fits the American Oktoberfest description which is how I like it

Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest is their autumn seasonal offering and is new to me. The new label design looks great and I hope it tastes as good as it looks. It pours super clean and is amber, or light copper, in color. There is a light hops presence as the frothy head stands up and hangs on to the glass.

The beer is very light in body and barely sweet, but there is light hop character to it. The best word I can come up with to describe it is dry. I would say this beer adheres to the original German definition of the style quite accurately and is balanced if a tad light on sweetness. It is definitely a high quality product with no off flavors; 5.1% ABV & 20 IBUs.

I enjoyed this beer, but it is certainly not my favorite for Oktoberfest. It just doesn’t have enough malt sweetness and elevated bitterness for my tastes. If you like Paulaner Oktoberfest but find it too sweet, you may want to give this a try.

One last thing… while I was on their website, I found Peg’s Kitchen and there were some nice looking recipes.

Ofest 2008 – list of beers

Our “Octoberfest” weekend has come and gone for 2008. Every year it seems to be shorter; the planning for it seems to more difficult, less detailed, and yet more harried; and the drive home longer and more arduous. It’s worth it, though.

The beer list seems to get longer every year, too. And we each seem to bring more home as well.

Here’s a list of what we had this year, in no particular order (although I put the Oktoberfest/Marzen beers near the end since we used those in our “Bake-Off“). I suspect that I’m even missing a couple from this list.

In addition to all of those, I also brough a few bottles of homebrewed Dubbel (which was very good) and Strong Scottish Ale (which was so-so). There are also the samples we had at Captain Lawrence Brewing.