Fest Bier – German Styles, Mostly Märzen
I’m wrapping up my Autumn German theme. Starting off this set, Growler & Gill did a tasting to show off a range of German styles OTHER than Oktoberfests.
This is a classic Dooplebock, very dark cola brown with a generous persistent tan head that fades slowly heavily lacing the glass. Toasted caramel nose with a pruny quality over massive dark malt with roasty notes and chocolate liqueur. Flavor starts raisiny with caramel and a dash of hops.It’s quite crisp for a dark beer and the chocolate and toasty malts play back and forth. All this carries into the finish with the hops building, but there’s a sense of having eaten spiked dark chocolate, lingering a long time. Very satisfactory! 6.7% ABV
The most lager-like of the ales, this Kölsch pours crystal clear gold with a brief white head. The aroma is fruity nose otherwise similar to what many would call “typical lager.” The flavor has a light sweet melon fruitiness with a hop zing. On the finish the fruit lingers and fades gradually, quite a long finish featuring slightly spicy noble hops. 4.8% ABV
As a Hefe, this is the classic hazy straw with a generous lingering white head, heavily lacing the glass. From the world’s oldest brewery, this provides the definition of the style with a yeasty nose of banana and orange over biscuit malt. Even fruitier in the flavor with a light caramel sweetness and full body. Hops dry out the finish. 5.4% ABV [I'm amazed that I don't have a photo of this, so I'm cheating using their Festbier.]
This “Black Beer” pours opaque brown with a moderate sand colored head. It leads with a roasty malt nose with light fruit. On the palate you get a light body and smooth light caramel flavor with a touch of roastiness. Gets sweeter into the finish, very low hoppiness. This is another wakeup call for those who think a dark beer has to be heavy. 4.8% ABV
Leaving the tasting, let’s move on to some more Oktoberfests, now that Oktoberfest ended five weeks ago.
Medium amber in the glass with a generous bubbly white head. The aroma is a strong blend of noble hops and bready malt with maybe a hint of sourdough. This is more strongly flavored than the Munich Oktoberfests, showing a ton of malt with lots of hop flavor. The finish continues this though not very persistently, a medium length finish. Less crisp and more flavor than the average Märzen, but more like Paulaner than Hofbräu. 5.9% ABV.
This pours pale gold with a generous white head. The aroma features light malt and balanced hops with a hint of stone fruit. Light, crisp and refreshing, this time more like Hofbräu than Paulaner. The malt is quite persistent on the finish. 5.7% ABV
A classic Oktoberfest, medium amber and a moderate white head. It delivers a malty mouthful with restrained caramel leading into a medium finish of malt and spicy hops similar to the Spaten. The picture shows what happens if you pour too gently into the Maßkrug. It is most un-German to fail to generate a robust head, though as a result I got about 1.2 liters! 5.6% ABV
Crossing the pond but continuing the theme, here is a pair of American Oktoberfest-style beers.
Dark amber in the glass with a fairly brief off white head, it starts with a very light nose of biscuit malt. On the palate come lots of caramel or crystal malt making it mildly sweet. There is much more flavor than aroma. There is something vegetable in the finish I find it to be a bit too light in body, and the same in finish as the flavor fades quickly. Distinctly the weakest of this group of Oktoberfests. 5.3% ABV
Pours chestnut amber with a moderate cream head. Very malty nose of caramel with malt and malt (did I mention malt?) Toffee leads the flavor with a ton of malt right behind and a hint of stone fruit. This continues into the finish but is joined by a touch of drying hops. This is stronger than the German Oktoberfest Bier, but holds its own in flavor. 6.4% ABV 17 IBU