A dedicated stand alone lager review. I am pretty much an ale man and most lagers I try are the last two or three bottles in one of those handy US variety 12-packs. Now that the Red Sox have won, however, I can once again let the new New Yorkness of my inner me come out and tell the world, I like pretty much anything Brooklyn Brewery puts out, including this lager, Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest.
Octoberfest is a style that can be traced to a man and a party: Gabriel Sedlmayr III at the 1872 Octoberfest in Munich. Due to a few previous stages of development, it can also be called marzen, after the month of March in which it is brewed, or Vienna after the city whose style it mimicks. But it was at the 1872 that the style took off - at least for the best part of a century. It is not the fuzzy pale straw stuff you get there now - that's the liebfraumilch of brew - but rather the original, a bright rich brown / brick red (think second year of circulation penny) malty brew that bridges the seasons of IPAs after lawn mowing to that of dubbles and stouts after shovelling snow. Autumnal. Keatsean.
In a cold glass, the brew is malty with a great nutmeggy spicy hop edge, big enough not to die off in the cold, a lager with flavour. Advocatonians approve. One unhappy lad giving it a 3.05/5 writes:
Weird smell, more like an IPA than a Marzen, didn't really like the smell. Looked like the color of pine sap (a really cool, translucent amber.) Good carbonation, decent head. Taste was also kind of bizzare ("smell is a big part of taste" is proven here.) Tastes like a spiced ale with pine nuts, filtered through a grassy knoll. Has a snappy hoppiness but kind of a thin, watery mouthfeel. Has the body of a summer beer, just too weird for me really to give it a thumbs-up, will have to go back for a second one to confirm.Filtered though a grassy knoll? That part could only be weirder if he wrote "gnome" instead of "knoll".
Anyway, it is a creamy beer. Cream ale is a slightly different thing, a beer traditionally brewed at a warmer temperature using lager yeast and ale grains and hops, a compromise of technology and culture coming out of the anglo-german areas such as central New York. But if you like cream ale, it is a good step towards this one which, in turn, would introduce you to the maltier German marzens.