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.