Friday, September 4, 2009

Festbier, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA

Octoberfest beers are lagers that are brewed in a traditional German style, or at least in a way that mimics the traditional brewing techniques. Most Octoberfest beers have a prominent and usually sweet malt flavor with very little hop presence (i.e., neither the aroma nor taste of hops). The color is usually copper/amber brown, though some are more like a golden yellow.

There are many, many Octoberfest beers available, and I'm going to review what I can between now and November. (Note: all of the Octoberfest reviews on Beer Crusade can be found here.) If you have a favorite brewer, check to see if they make an Octoberfest beer. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Festbier from Victory Brewing Co. won a gold medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in the "German Style Octoberfest" category, so we are starting the reviews off with a strong candidate. Victory brews this beer with European malts and hops, probably trying to capture the essence of the original Octoberfest ingredients. The rich amber color and sweet malt aroma are terrific and inviting, and the first taste does not disappoint. However, as you swallow the beer, there is an interesting flavor, like toasted malt, which gives this beer a decidedly different finish. It could be from whatever yeast they are using, or they could be lightly toasting some of their grains, or it could be something else. Either way, it is a bit unexpected.

Like most Octoberfest beers, this one is very easy on the palate, and the ABV of 5.6% makes it pretty easy to drink. Grab a six pack, as you will probably want more than one.

Rating = 3.5

Next week: Thomas Hooker Oktoberfest Lager

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