This week’s Beer Nut article

Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest a good alternative

Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2011, 10:20 AM

By George


I know a lot of readers — and beer drinkers in genera l—l ook forward to the end of summer for no other reason than it means Oktoberfest beers are on their way.

While I don’t share this extreme passion for the style, I do enjoy it, although the fact that they now start hitting the shelves in August annoys me a bit. But I already wrote a column about that particular peeve a few years ago, so I won’t do anything but note it today.

One dilemma I face each year when writing about Oktoberfests is choosing one to wrote about. I only have 52 of these columns a year and there are scores, if not hundreds of Oktoberfest brews I could feature here. And many of them are available for a brief window of time, so my choice is often akin to throwing a dart at the wall.

This year, however, I chose one based on a more mathematical formula: I haven’t written about Brooklyn Brewery in quite a while, and I really enjoy its beers, so I went in that direction

The brew pours a clean but medium-dark copper tone with a solid two-finger head of velvety foam that leaves a latticework of sticky lacing on the glass. The nose puts forth a comforting malty combination of homey bread and caramel aspects, escorted by some grassy hop notes.

The first sips reinforce the caramel character in the aroma, followed by some earthy malt dimensions. These are well-balanced and blended almost perfectly, enveloped in a blanket of roasted malt. But what really sold me on this brew is the way the hops kick in on the back end, preventing the brew from lingering cloyingly, as some Oktoberfests seem to do. This is not the case here, as the hops, while not dominant, keep the sweetness in check.

The mouthfeel and body are both a little thinner than many beers of this style, but not distractingly so. And because these beers are often showing up in August (sorry, I just had to whine about it again) a lighter body is actually somewhat welcome. Heavy beers in oppressive heat are not my thing. The beer finishes mostly clean, with a hint of hop bitterness.

The alcohol by volume is 5.5 percent, so it’s right in line with most Oktoberfests.

I would guess fans of very traditional German Oktoberfest brews (which are Märzen beers, as most readers of this column know) might find this brew just slightly a little outside the normal boundaries of the style. But for me, it’s a a great take on a style that I like, but don’t love.


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