Since Oktoberfest is officially on and going, it seems appropriate to keep on keeping on with Oktoberfest reviews. Here’s the Ayinger version:
Name: Ayinger Oktober Fest – Märzen
Origin: Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG/ Brauerei Aying
Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
IBU: not given
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Olathe, KS
If you’ve had anything by Ayinger before, chances are it was their Celebrator Doppelbock, which is a) fantastic and b) memorable because the bottles come with little white plastic goats hanging around the necks. Great beer, fun little toy to hang over your rear view mirror.
But all of that doesn’t really say anything about their Oktoberfest. The Ayinger Oktober Fest is a lovely amber color with a head that starts thick but disintegrates within minutes – the head was mostly gone by the time the waitress got it to the table, and was gone another minute later.
It doesn’t have a particularly strong scent profile. This is a problem I’ve noticed with many of the Oktoberfests I’ve been drinking lately – when I smell them, I don’t smell much of anything. My notes inevitably say some version of “this smells like beer,” which is both helpful and, well, not. I can’t decide if the problem is that the beers themselves don’t have much of a scent or if it’s that the bars are serving them too cold for any scent to escape. Knowing that the breweries tend to be really good, I’m going to blame the temperature for the time being.
Flavor-wise, the Ayinger Oktober Fest (they split the word up, so I’m following their style here) is a cross between a standard lager and the malt profile that I associate with the Celebrator Doppelbock. It’s a sweet, syrup-y flavored malt, caramel-biscuit-honey style, with the bite of some hops in the back. This is one of those beers where the hops aren’t noticeable as a flavor so much as a sensation – they start to sting on the tongue after a minute. As far as Oktoberfests go, this is one of the sweeter offerings I’ve had this year – that’s probably why the Doppelbock comes to mind (doppelbocks, being very high in alcohol, tend to be really malty sweet). That said, it isn’t a syrup-like texture – it’s lightly fizzy and easy to drink.
The aftertaste is buttered sourdough wheat biscuits. Specifically, there’s really a butter note here. Not what I was expecting in a beer. Strange, but not bad. It’s a much better aftertaste than the Sam Adams Octoberfest, at any rate.
All in all, this was a decent beer. However, if I’m plopping down the roughly $8 to get an Ayinger beer, I’ll be skipping this next time and going for the Celebrator Doppelbock, which is far superior in my humble opinion. And if I’m in the mood for an Oktoberfest, I’ll probably go for one of the cheaper ones. This was good, but there are plenty that are just as good that won’t set your wallet back quite so far (see every other Oktoberfest I’ve reviewed this year).