I realize I haven’t done one of these in a while. It’s not that I’ve not been drinking beer, it’s that I’ve been drinking beer that I can’t honestly recommend. And if the Sprecher debacle taught me anything, it’s that the old adage is true: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
But I’ve got tons to say about Sam Adams Octoberfest and it’s all nice. Except the name. The festival of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Theresa of Saxe-Hildburghausen is called “Oktoberfest.” I don’t see a reason to change the ‘k’ to a ‘c.’ But anyway, I find no fault in the beer.
It’s what the label says: Everything we wish fall to be. As a Mai Bock is normally topped up with Noble hops and a Winter Ale is thick, malty, and sweet, this beer seems to be the perfect balance of the two, without messing with the traditional Märzenbier formula of a sweet variety of fine malts coupled with just enough hops to keep it lively.
It pours the perfect shade of Märzenbier medium-dark amber and has a medium macrofoam head that sadly dissipates quickly, leaving almost no lacing. The aroma is floral, under the influence of at least one Noble hop, and sweet malts. The first sip is similar to an American amber, with fine malts being the star players. The mid taste balances the malt sweetness with the hop bitterness. The rear taste is more hop than malt but then it finishes just like an Oktoberfestbier should: crisp and clean with a hint of fading flowers.
I’m still going to drink my Paulaner, Spaten, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, and Hacker-Pschorr at the official Oktoberfest, but at home I’ve got no complaints against Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Except the name.