The month of October is almost over, and Munich’s Theresienwiese has been empty for weeks. Perhaps it’s about time for me to move on from my festbier stint. But before I do I must try a few domestic Oktoberfests. After all, they say the highest-selling festbier is not Bavarian, but American (Sam Adams). I won’t be trying that one tonight, but I do have a few good selections from Left Hand of Longmont, Colorado, Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Michigan, and August Schell out of New Ulm, Minnesota.
The Left Hand Oktoberfest pours an orange-amber with a little creamy straw head. The nose is very thin. A bit of herbal hops and the faintest hint of malt are overpowered by a strange vegetal character and cider aroma. A smooth malty flavor makes up for this. Rich toast character is backed up by a residual sweetness that is perhaps a little too strong, leaving a bit of a cloying sensation.
Bell’s Octoberfest is a yellower goldenrod with the same amount of white head. It also has a light aroma, with a good noble hop character and some toast. This same balance is reflected in the flavor, featuring a rich herbal and notably bitter hop profile accompanied by a clean malt taste. Just a bit of mouthcoating despite active carbonation.
The Schell Octoberfest is a gamboge color with a bit of bone-white head. A sweet, mildly malty nose almost escapes taint from the cider aroma. A sweet, mildly malty flavor almost escapes taint from the DMS corn taste. The high level of residual sweetness and lack of bitterness throw the balance all out of whack.
Left Hand Oktoberfest