Friday, October 12, 2007

A Microbrew Review of Penn Brewery's Oktoberfest Lager Beer

I live right here in Western Pennsylvania and have sampled some great Pennsylvania microbrews and craft beers from all across the state. But finally, just yesterday I picked up an unassuming looking bottle of from my local bottleshop. Wow, it took me this long to try out a beer from a local Pittsburgh area brewery? Yes, I am a slacker in some senses of the word. But of course, Pittsburgh is not exactly known for its microbreweries and craft beers now is it?

Anyways, this chilled 12 ounce brown bottle features a somewhat festive scene of a good ole German guy and gal in traditional German Oktoberfest celebratory garb (the guy hoisting only one stein of the German liquid gold while the young lady boasts six mugs at once. Pretty impressive for a young lady of any nationality. It's a decent label but nothing too extreme or off the beaten path of those found on many Oktoberfest beers. How much can you do with a theme like an Oktoberfest celebration in Germany?

I poured this beer into a standard, unchilled 10 ounce glass beer mug fairly aggressively. Not a whole lot of head frothing about or anything really going on here appearance-wise. I witnessed just shy of a one-finger white head on Penn Oktoberfest which really didn't hang around very long for more than a minute or two. Beer is very clear and a tawny reddish brown color. A very active culture of tiny bubbles migrate to the surface from every area of the bottom of the mug.

Aroma is not very assuming. Mildly bready and a mediocre malty scent presence. That's really about it here. There was nothing to write home about Penn Brewery's Oktoberfest in the way of an assault on the ole olfactory homefront. Nose is definitely average at best in making me want to take my first sip.

But sip I did. And my first sip provided a smooth but somewhat thin mouthful of beer. Sweet just a bit but a fair balance of hops to balance. There was not much zing on the palate even given the appearance of a high level of carbonation. It was hard to sense much carbonation at all in the mouthful. This went down very smooth and very easy and it only went easier as fifteen or twenty minutes went by and it warmed in my mug. Only after a while did I start to become a little more annoyed with the thin character of this craft beer. There was a mild sour aftertaste that definitely didn't add to a most positive experience.

I tried this beer after a long holdout of sampling and reviewing any of the products cranked out by Penn Brewery and after this beer, may wait quite a while longer before sampling and reviewing another microbrew from this Pittsburgh .

Aside from my experience with Pennsylvania Brewing Company's wintertime offering of St. Nikolaus Bock Bier, I just haven't been all that impressed with most of the others I've tried from this Western Pennsylvania microbrewery. I think they try, but maybe there's some room for one or two more "flagship" type beers that could help put them on the microbrew review map nationally. I hope the best for them as I do all microbrewers and brewers alike. More good breweries means more good beer for us all to try and enjoy.

My final word on Penn Oktoberfest Lager from Pennsylvania Brewing Company is that it is an average craft beer, and an average representation of an Oktoberfest style lager. Nothing too, too bad about it but nothing all that great either. I just didn't feel this beer defined itself or offered any separation from the other Octoberfest beers available on the beer market today. Maybe next fall's batch will be different and better overall but for this year, I'm giving Penn Brewery's Oktoberfest a 4.75 out of 10.00 points overall. It would be good for tailgating at the next Steelers game however. I don't know the alcohol by volume, but I'm guessing it's somewhere around 5% or so which would allow for consuming at least a few of these beers per sitting or event. Cheers!

If you enjoyed reading this microbrew beer review and love craft beers in particular, you can find more reviews of new and old microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review. Stop by and let me know what you liked or didn't like and what beers you might like to see me review next time!

Labels: , , , ,