Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beer Review - Octoberfest Beers

Octoberfest Beers - Texas vs. Germany

Octoberfest beers also known in Germany as Marzen are brewed in Bavaria during the Winter months from September to March (Marzen...get it?).  They are typically characterized by being malty, full bodied with an amber to dark brown color and a bit dry.  With Texas' affection to their distant German non-heritage, we thought it would be fun to compare the best Octoberfest brews being produced by theTexas breweries to the German counterparts along with Sam Adams Octoberfest, the best selling American produced Octoberfest beer.

With no basis other than  my personal taste these are ranked from least to most favorite.

6.  Sam Adams Octoberfest.  The largest American owned brewery left in the U.S., I cannot fathom why their beers are so popular.  I try them ever so often to see if it is me, perhaps I am missing something....nope, not me.  Marketed as a microbrew, their flavors make them slightly better than the mass produced swill that your father grew up drinking.  Their Octobefest is muted in color and flavor much like the rest of their specialty lines.  Let's call it the Stella Artois of the Octoberfest beers.

5.  Live Oak Oaktoberfest.  Richly malted and a bit hoppier than a typical Octoberfest beer, the dark color and flavor make it more like a brown ale than a typical Octoberfest.  Good though.

4. Warsteiner Oktoberfest.   Suprisingly fail for a German brewery.  With a very light color..almost orange, light nose, lightly carbonated and boring.  This is a very forgettable version of the marzen style.

3.  St. Arnold Oktoberfest.  Much like the Live Oak, the St. Arnold Octoberfest is also a tiny bit hoppier than the typical marzen.  The color is that of an Octoberfest beer, but the flavor is not so much like an Octoberfest beer.  They could also rename this as a brown ale and it would sell fine.

2. Franconia Oktoberfest. Wonderful ruby/amber color and great nose and great flavor, the darkest of the bunch. Fraconia beers tend to be a bit sweeter than I prefer, added to a beer that is slightly sweet by nature it was just too candy for me. Tone down the sugar a bit and this would be magnificent.

1. Paulaner Oktoberfest.  Nutty, malty, slightly sweet, balanced...ahhh, this is what an Octoberfest beer should be.  The rich flavors and light carbonnation makes this the perfect beer to sit on a patio, eating sausages and potatoes and drinking until you fall off of your chair.  Sounds good, off to Stan's to make that happen.

Synopsis - The Texas versions of the Octoberfest beers are worthy of a second glance, but they really need to do a bit of research about what a marzen beer is.  An Octoberfest beer should say 'autumn'...clear fall color, rich balanced flavor, lightly carbonnated, malty beer that would make you want to sit and drink all evening if you wished.    All in all the Texas versions that I tried are pretty good and to be fair to Germany, I did not include the best of the German brews, Ayinger, Spaten and Hoffbrau which are really fantastic Octoberfest beers and are not to be missed.  But they are still better than Sam Adams and with a bit more practice they could even match up with their German counterparts, but then again, this here ain't Germany, is it?

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