Monday, October 01, 2007

A Microbrew Review of Great Lakes Brewing Company's Oktoberfest

Yes, October is here, fall weather is starting to make its entrance and it's finally time to enjoy all the wondrous variations of Ocktoberfest beers in all their glory. I've not always had the best experiences with microbrews and craft beers of the Octoberfest style (and had even less success with the so-called "pumpkin beers") but I'm still a craft beer enthusiast and, doggone it, I'm always open to trying new beers. That's why this craft beer blog was created in the first place.

Well tonight, I decided on trying out Great Lakes Brewing Company's Oktoberfest amber lager. If you didn't already know, Great Lakes Brewing is a Cleveland, Ohio-based craft beer brewery with a great track record of producing some pretty fine beers over the years. It's certainly been one brewery that I never hestitate to try something new from.

Great Lakes Oktoberfest lager was served tonight from an approximately 45-50 degree chilled brown bottle into a standard 10 ounce, unchilled, glass beer mug. A nifty black & white photo of several assumed German patrons in their local beer garden enjoying their harvest of brew during is featured on the label. In addition, an "enjoy by" date of 10/13/07 is stamped on the label (not exactly leaving a whole lot of time to imbibe in this one being that it's Oct. 1st already. But I'm a trooper and I'll make the effort to try this one out under the pressure. I prefer a bottled on date myself but that's a personal preference I guess.

Pouring the beer into my mug, I discover that is, as promised, an amber lager of great clarity. Not alot of carbonation going on here and the head is minimal at best and short lasting, even with an aggressive pour. Overall, the beer does look fairly handsome sitting in my mug. Nothing all that shocking in an extremely good or bad way either way.

This microbrew smells sweet, very heavy on the malt and almost sticky in its scent. There is a hint of spiciness to it as well (nutmeg?). I'm apt to believe at first wiff that this beer might be an autumn spiced seasonal judging just from the aroma. But, I digress.

First sip is hearty. It's a little chewier than I expected and the malty sweetness really dominates this craft beer. The malt does not go over the top however, and judging by the style, fits in right perfect on the scale. I don't taste anything in the way of added spicing. There are some hops in there, a fairly respectable backbone offsetting the malty sweetness just a tad. But this beer is not about hoppy bitterness. It's Oktoberfest afterall isn't it?

One thing I noticed is how easy the beer does go down, especially as it warms. Alcohol is more noticeable as it creeps closer and closer to room temp. I could see myself having several of this Great Lakes Brewing offering at a single sitting. That might not be all that bad, but this is a microbrew boasting a 6.5% alcohol by volume rating, at least on the label which I have no reason to doubt. By all accounts though, I thought this was pretty smooth and easy drinking.

My microbrew review rating of this fall seasonal beer is good for the style. I'd say it's substantially above average in my book. It did win a Silver Medal at the World Beer Championships afterall (according to the label which does not list the year that is won silver). I would certainly recommend this to any of my microbrew and craft beer enthusiast friends, even those who may not be crazy about this style. It does fit the style well and matches a good to great to the fall season which is what it should be striving to accomplish anyway.

I'm giving Great Lakes Brewing Company's Oktoberfest Amber Lager a 7.00 rating for the Octoberfest style and will surely enjoy several more of these before the month passes. I've got 30 days left though so there's plenty of time to enjoy a few other Octoberfest beers and pumpkin beers and you can bet good friend that enjoy them I will! I give Great Lakes Oktoberfest a thumbs up and I think you would also. Try it!

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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