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Local Players on the Oktoberfest Scene

OktBeer1

(Note: You'll have to excuse me, reader, for the occasional lapse in focus, as I am writing this article during the NFL season opener).

Ah, Autumn! Besides a break from the relentless heat, and the beginning of God's own field game, the Fall also heralds the release of some of the year's best beers: Das Oktoberfestbiers! Though release dates are pushed back annually, (with some being forced out as early as mid-August,) the weather has just taken a turn for the chilly, so I may finally indulge in my favorite beers of the year in their proper context.

I love these beers. Most are made in the Marzen style, a traditional German type of beer which is simultaneously rich, malty, crisp, drinkable, and ... OAHH! Favre is down!! Get up Grandpa! You can do it!!

....<cough>...sorry...

So being the polar opposite of a "Hophead," these sort of beers are right up my alley; the only hitch is most come from so far away! Just thinking about all that gasoline it takes to get my favorite Munich classics the 4000 some-odd miles from Bavaria to the grocery store shelves makes me a little ill. Thanks to the American Craft Brew Revolution, though, I'm glad to say we've now got plenty of home-grown options, many from within about 100 miles. Though very similar, each is as precious and individual as a snowflake; and nearly as fleeting! As follows are a few of my favorite local offerings, available for a limited time only at a store near you, for about $9 to $12 a sixer!



OktBeerFLY Flying Dog "Dogtoberfest"
5.30% Abv
Flying Dog Brewery: Frederick, MD

Appearance: Very dark amber with red highlights; light, short lived head.Nose: Subtle, with notes of malted barley and yeast. Rather dry, but some brown sugar, cinnamon, and mild red fruit.

Palate: Dry grains and malt dominate the front, along with some vanilla and caramel. Vivid effervescence gives a quite dry and pleasingly biting. Medium bodied, and vaguely creamy. More echos of red fruit on the mid-palate lead to a very dry, nutty finish.

Overall: Surprisingly complex and dry for the style, but possessed of all the elements of a great Marzen. Flying Dog does not produce a lot of beers I enjoy; this one is a pleasant outlier, and possibly my favorite of this lineup. Go out and grab it!

OktBeerSTOUDT Stoudts Oktober Fest
5.00% Abv.
Stoudts Brewing Company: Adamstown, PA

Appearance: Dark gold, with a slight red hue, and a short, off-white head.

Nose: Very dry and malty, with faint hints of roasted nuts and yeast.

Palate: Sweet malt leads the way on this light bodied, mildly effervescent lager. Corny flavors persist on the rather dry mid-palate, along with the surprising flavor of banana. Pleasing uptick of dark sugar sweetness on the finish.

Overall: Middle of the road and traditional. Not gonna blow your head off, but the sweetness will be comforting as the nights get cooler, and its mild texture makes this a great session beer.

OktBeerSTARR Starr Hill "Festie"
4.80% Abv.
Starr Hill Brewery: Croizet, VA

Appearance: Hazy golden-amber with reddish highlights; short, off white head.

Nose: Light, sweet and wheaty, with a slightly green grassy note, and some dark berries.

Palate: Bright and malty on the front; medium bodied, and relatively dry. Finish is dry, rather sharp for the style, with an almost mineralic quality.

Overall: Simple, but a great example of the more aggressive and dry side of the style. A solid pick for the fan of your more effervescent Czech pilseners, whose looking for a bit of nutty richness to ring in the season.

OktBeerCLIP Clipper City Heavy Seas Marzen
5.40% Abv
Clipper City Brewing Company: Baltimore, MD

Appearance: Clear golden-brown, with light, short lived head.

Nose: Light notes of brown sugar, yeast, and some spice.

Palate: Rather sweet on the attack, giving way to cinnamon and malted grains on the weighty mid-palate. More brown sugar sweetness lingering on the finish of this hefty dark lager.Overall: This replacement for the old Clipper City "Balto-Marzhon" is a good pick for those looking for a heavier, sweeter offering. Though typical of the Oktoberfest/Marzen style, this one is actually a year-round offering from Clipper City, so live it up!

Comments

Chris

Flying dog is really growing on me. If you're up for an adventure, grab a Nitrogen pour of the Double Dog (hefty at 11.5%) at galaxy Hut while they still have some. I'm coming around to the Snake Bite IPA, too, and I tend to enjoy almost all of their beers on tap (with a special nod going to the raging Bitch for being extra good on tap)

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