More from the happy realm of Oktoberfests – can you guys tell I’m working my way through the Oktoberfest minitour at Old Chicago?
Name: Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen
Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
IBU: not given
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Olathe, KS
Now that I’ve reviewed a few Oktoberfests, this is a beer that is most easily talked about through comparisons. It’s darker than the Ayinger, more of a medium copper where the Ayinger was a lighter amber (or the Paulaner was a pale yellow/blonde), but it isn’t as dark as the Beck’s Oktoberfest (review to come soon). It has absolutely zero head retention, which (as I’ve stated before) is often fine in my world. However, I’ve had some nice heads on some of the other Oktoberfests, so I was sad to see it disappear on this one so quickly – the head was GONE before I made eye contact with my beer. I never even saw it.
It smells like beer.* Really – that’s the best I can do here. As with last time, I’m not sure to what degree this is due to the temperature of the beer (very cold when I got it – colder than it probably needs to be) and to what degree it’s just the beer itself.
Flavor-wise, this is sharp, then malty – I noticed the sensation of the beer before I noticed the actual malt taste, whereas I usually experience this combination in reverse (i.e., malt first, then sharp feeling). It might be because this beer was fairly thin – not quite watery, but not malty thick like brown ales or bocks. The malts are mid-range caramel, biscuit and brown types, with a slight hop bite. The biggest difference between the Spaten Oktoberfestbier and the other Oktoberfests out there is that I noticed a slight smoky hit in the back that lingered into the aftertaste. It’s the type of light smoke flavor that makes me want to drink this while plowing through a plate of barbecue.
Overall, not bad, but not my favorite. My favorite Oktoberfest so far this year is still the Boulevard, followed by the Paulaner. I may have to generate a ranking at the end of the Oktoberfest season, if for no other reason than to allow those of you drinking along at home to get a better sense of how my taste buds and biases compare to your own.
*When I say “it smells like beer,” what I mean is simply that I’m getting a scent of generic malt with a slight hit of generic hop. It’s exactly what you’d guess. However, I’ve been using the phrase enough lately that I thought I should give a quick clarification.