I just don't crave the Oktoberfest beer style
I'll admit, Oktoberfest is one style of beer that I just don't get. For me in flavor, texture, and gusto It lies somewhere between an unfiltered wheat beer and a sweetish pale ale.
And I've sampled this oktober beer and that oktober beer over the years and just never found one that I'm really interested in trying again. On the other hand, I find them inoffensive, really kind of blah.
So anyway I get excited when I see the Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen bottle just arrived on the shelf... a 100% style rated brew by ratebeer, about as good and classic as an Oktoberfest can be...
So I'm sippin' this, it's alright but I'm missing the edge of bigger beers.
Does anyone really crave this style? If so, which brews?
>these days it is little different from everyday lagers
that's a little over generalizing, no? Some German breweries are still making the richer, darker Marzen style for export to the US. I've experienced a wide range of Ofests in the last decade ranging from nearly helles to nearly dopplebock in flavor/color.
I enjoy them once a year for a few weeks, but they couldn't fit into my regular rotation year round. I enjoy/appreciate a well made simple lager with depth of malt flavor (yellow eurolagers are one of my top 3 favorite "styles") - its a nice break from all the IPA's I drink on the regular - and just fits the mood when the cooler nights approach.
Also I don't think that craft beer fans style of drinking - always need to be wowed by big flavor, try one and then move on to something else- is maximizing this style's potential. I find the beauty in Festbiers and marzen's when I am about 2+ liters deep. ;-)
Believe it or not, I have enjoyed Beck's Oktobertfest (product of the USA) more than any other this year - had a nice bready/toasty flavor up front with a lingering caramel/toffee flavor on the back end, but was not cloyingly sweet.
THis is my ranking of what I've had so far this year:
Hacker Pschorr - usually my favorite
Theres something about fall and oktoberfests that i really enjoy. its still the only seasonal tasting we still do every year (we'll get like 20 different ones and try them all over the course of a few hours). The best ones used to be the german ones but Ive found the past few years the best ones come from local breweries. Maybe because they are actually trying hard to capture the essence of the true Marzen more so then bigger breweries or maybe its because they generally brew smaller batches and dont need to cater to broad tastes that are looking for something lighter in their Oktoberfest bier (or are looking for "Imperial Marzens"...).
In my area, Legend (Richmond) and DuClaw (Baltimore) have some very nice versions this year. In the past, Star Hill (Charlottesville) made a Marzen that was one of the best Ive tasted in a long long time. But it was just that one year. The other years its been just ok. Not sure how that happens...
I crave this style. I try to stick with seasonal beers, so maybe my palette gets sick of IPA's, Hefe's and Summer Ales, but when these come out I look forward to them and love them. To me, they are nice transitional beer before the cold weather kicks in, and goes well with the heavier foods I tend to eat in the fall. I will almost only drink these while they are available, and also have browns and dunkels (which are very similar in my opinion).
My favorites are: