Friday, November 03, 2006

Otter Creek Oktoberfest

If I was really on top of things I would have reviewed this beer several weeks ago when Oktoberfest was still going on. Of course, if I flip it around, I could just be starting the countdown till the next Oktoberfest eleven months early.

Stats:Brewery – Otter Creek Brewing Company in Middlebury, Vermont
Style – 3B. Oktoberfest/Märzen
OG - 12.3° Plato
FG - 3.5° Plato
ABV – 4.7%
IBUs - 19.0Serving Type – 12 oz. bottle

Oktoberfest is that special two-week time of year (this year it was Sep. 16th - Oct. 3rd, in 2007 it begins on Sep. 22nd) when you can gather with over 6 million of your closest friends on the Theresienwiese (d'Wiesn for short) in Munich, Germany to share a Maß (a one-liter-tankard). Or, if you are not lucky enough to be able to get to Munich during that time, there are several smaller festivals held all over the world at this time. The history of Oktoberfest stretches back almost 200 years, so let’s just look at how it started.

On October 12th, 1810 Crown Prince Ludwig (the future King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen were married and in commemoration of this event they had a horse race. The race took place five days later on the 17th so there is some dispute as to the actual date of the first Oktoberfest. The whole of Munich was invited and about 40,000 people showed up. They had such a good time that they decided to do it again the next year, only they would do it in conjunction with the state agricultural show.

The particular German Maerzen lager I’m enjoying now is brought to us by Otter Creek’s founder and brewmaster Lawrence Miller who opened up shop March 12, 1991.

Glass – Pint glass

Aroma – After one whiff I can’t help but think about autumn. It has an earthy/yeasty smell. The hops impart both a pine and citrus (orange) aroma. Initially it had a mild corn scent, but that dissipated quickly and was replaced by a touch of honey.

Appearance – The crown starts off with a big, frothy and off-white, and then becomes thin and stable. It looks hazy with a light amber-orange hue. There is virtually no lace left on the glass.

Flavor – There is a light toastyness and citrusyness to the palate, a floral taste across the middle of my tongue with a light bitterness, slightly tart, in the back of my mouth. It finishes dry and clean.

Mouthfeel – It started off with a lot of carbonation that was very prickly in my mouth. I swirled much of that out and was left with a light to medium body.

Final Thoughts – Well it doesn’t seem to match up with the Oktoberfest BJCP style guidelines very well, seems to be more of an American Amber. Other than not being as malty as I like from this type of beer, I found it crisp, clean and enjoyable. I could definitely hang out and have a few of these. One of the best things, as I mentioned in the aroma section, this beer just seems to scream that autumn is here.


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