Franz Oktoberfest

“An untraditional Oktoberfest bier”; 5.4% ABV, 20 IBU

Franz Oktoberfest

Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati, OH

By Bill Lau

Posted September 19, 2014

One of the things I enjoy about beer is the traditions of seasonal styles. Oktoberfest lager was the first of these seasonal beers that I became a fan of many years ago; the traditional, copper-colored versions, to be specific. I think I first read about the style in one of Michael Jackson’s great books on world beer styles. At the time I was quite fond of Vienna lagers (Leinenkugel Red Lager, then Great Lakes Eliot Ness). Oktoberfests became associated with football season for me, since the NFL season begins around the same time that Oktoberfests hit the shelves. (I was later quite shocked when I found out that many of the beers served at the actual event in Germany had evolved into lighter-hued variations – what happened to deeply-rooted brewing tradition? But I digress…)

So in the spirit of the season, I had to review at least one of these seasonal lagers this month, and went with a local brewery release. I’ve previously reviewed Rhinegeist Zen session pale ale, and have sampled a variety of their beers at the brewery tasting room (located up 3 flights of stairs, so you at least get a little exercise to “earn” that beer!). I like that they offer a good selection of sessionable beers. So many craft brewers seem to lean towards the bigger beers, and while I certainly enjoy those, I do find myself often seeking out brews of more modest strength (but still offering plenty of flavor, of course!).

Franz presented a nice, bright, pumpkiny-orange-amber appearance with crystal clarity. A pale beige head started out a finger’s width high and fell to a collar and thin film after a brief visit.

Crisp, juicy malt aromas carried a light Bavarian touch, with some toasted and caramelized notes.

Body was on the light side of medium with light carbonation; overall mouthfeel was slightly watery.

Franz started out bitter up front followed by caramel, juicy malt, then a distinctly Bavarian character (grainy, earthy, toasted) with a nutty note as well. Bittering seemed a little higher than most Oktoberfests and my perception was that it was more than the 20 IBU listed on the can (but this could be due to the lighter body and modest ABV); in any case, that sat well me! Seemed more German than many US versions, and definitely not a sweetish interpretation.

Very sessionable, in keeping with the Rhinegeist brewing philosophy. A scoche more mouthfeel would be welcome, but in all other aspects I thought this was a very nice Oktoberfest. Bring on the wursts and schnitzel!

Rating:     Appearance: 4.5/5     Aroma: 8/10     Palate: 3/5     Flavor: 8/10     Overall: 15.7/20

Prost!

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