Purchased: 12oz bottle from a 6-pack bought at Binny's in Naperville, Illinois; 2014 (Bottled on 07/07/2014)
Style/ABV: Oktoberfest/Märzen, 5.0%
Reported IBUs: 24
Tonight I'm looking at a beer from the folks at Firestone Walker Brewing. The brewery was founded by brothers-in-law Adam Firestone (son of Brooks Firestone) and David Walker (husband of Adam's sister). The brothers brewed their first beer in 1996, in a small facility rented from the Firestone Vineyard estate in Santa Barbara County. In 2001, the brothers-in-law purchased SLO Brewing Company in Paso Robles, CA, and set up camp. Despite being relatively new to craft beer, the brewery has a ton of accolades, and is known for their Reserve line and their oak barrel brewing system. You can learn more about the history of the brewery here and here.The Oaktoberfest is an Oktoberfest/Marzen style beer. Per Brewbound: "The name Oaktoberfest is a nod to the brewery’s hometown of Paso Robles—Spanish for “Pass of The Oaks”—as well as the longtime presence of oak barrels as a central part of the Firestone Walker brewing operation. The checkered blue and white pattern on the label echoes the Bavarian flag and pays homage to the style." This one is fermented in stainless steel, and brewed using Weyermann Pilsner, Weyermann & Vienna, Munich, Cara-Hell, and Cara-Red malts; and German Hallertau hops. Punching in at 5.0% and 24 IBUs, this one is available as a seasonal release.
This one pours into a dark golden-amber body, kicking up a finger of gold-tinged head. The head retains nicely for a Lager, and there is good carbonation. The carbonation is also persistent and lasts long for a Lager. There is some nice lacing, and a centimeter of head is hanging around for what looks to be the long haul.
On the aroma, I'm getting lots of gentle malts. There's some honey, toast, biscuit, biscuit-grain, light grassy hops, and lots of bread. It's a gentle, malt-forward nose.
This is straightforward and drinkable...this has big grainy bread, biscuit, toasted malts, some nice honey notes, and grassy hops that show up to clean things up towards the back. There's a Pilsner-like biscuit note on the back end, and this has a nicely attenuated and dry finish. If you take big mouthfulls, the malts really dominate with bread and toasted notes. It's clean, drinkable, and really very nice.
This is medium to light-bodied. It's clean and refreshing, with good palate depth and complexity for the style. At 5.0% you can drink lots of this. I think that's the point. Up front: sweet toasted malts, bready malts, biscuit; the mids roll into honey, toast, some grassy hops; the back end goes full biscuit, with a clean, dry, and attenuated finish. This is reminiscent of a Vienna, Pilsner, and Marzen...kinda rolled up into a nice and refined package.
Rating: Above-Average (4.0/5.0 Untappd)
I'm feeling a Strong Above-Average on this. This is super clean and super drinkable...I'd pick this up again to pair with some football and Fall weather. It's probably not as good as Two Brothers' Atom Smasher, or Ayinger's Oktoberfest, but it should compliment your one liter glass and your sausage and pretzel dish.
Random Thought: I bet this tastes fantastic when racked on oak. I'm still looking for that world-class Oktoberfest...