Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Beer of Autumn 2015

Last autumn I bought myself a mixed 12 pack of Sierra Nevada beers consisting of three bottles of Pale Ale, Vienna Lager, Oktoberfest and the Tumbler Brown Ale. Each and every beer was a delight, as you would expect from such an august brewing company as SN. With the heat of summer finally on the wane, I kept my eyes open for this year's version, looking forward to, in particular, the Oktoberfest. I don't remember which shop I was in, but there was an absence of the mix pack, but six packs of the Oktoberfest were already on the shelves (at the end of August but that's a different post), so I picked one up and took it home for a Friday night of beer and films, oh yes, I know how to party.

As I poured 3 bottles into my 1 litre Paulaner glass, which is my preferred glass for most lagers, I had a moment of cognitive dissonance as I was expecting a much darker beer, a hunch which was confirmed with a quick scan of my Instagram feed. It was only then that I bothered to read the label properly and discovered that gone was the deep red Oktoberfest I had loved, and in its place a collaboration with Brauhaus Riegele from Augsburg in Germany. One of my constant gripes about many an American made Oktoberfest lager is a tendency toward sweetness derived from caramel malts rather than Munich malts, with a German brewery on board though I figured this would be something more Teutonic.

As you can see from the pictures, this is no deep red lager, it is a lovely rich golden, bordering on copper, and that big white head just seems to linger, and linger. Tastewise we are talking full on German style lager, clean, crisp, slightly grainy and with a cracker dry finish, there is some juicy sweetness from Munich malt that prevents the beer from being puckering and then there is the hop bite, again crystal clear and sharply defined. A touch of lemon, some floral notes, and all of this perfectly married together in a 6.0% abv beer that makes a chap want to dash off to Lowe's, buy a wooden picnic table, hire an Oompah band, dress Mrs V up in dirndl, and get merrily sloshed under the oak tree in our back yard. Yes it really is that good.

I have said many times before that really I am a very unfussy drinker. Make something that is delicious, well made, and not laden with silly shit and I'll happily drink it until it runs out, and this beer has filled that role perfectly so far this autumn. I think I am on something like my 3rd case of it, and given that I expect supplies to start being shifted on for the next big seasonal thing, I am looking forward to the knockdown price 12 packs to stock up well into November.

I also love this promo video on the Sierra Nevada website...

Apparently Sierra Nevada will be picking a different German brewery each year to collaborate with on the Oktoberfest, and there is a part of me that would love to see them work with Brauerei Carl Betz from Celle in northern Germany, for no other reason than I lived in Celle for about 5 years as a child.

1 comment:

  1. This really is a great beer, and I've been drinking lots of it lately. It reminds me of a similar Oktoberfest beer I had from Köstritzer a few years ago, which I have been unable to find again.


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