Sierra Nevada 2016 Oktoberfest Festival Lager

Sierra Nevada 2016 Oktoberfest Festival Lager

By Bill Lau | A Potable Pastime

Oktoberfest lager, 6.0% ABV, collaboration brew with Mahrs Bräu of Bamberg, Germany. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA & Mills River, NC.

Brewed with heritage German barley and Record hops.

As this weekend marks the official start of the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Germany (as well as the one in Cincinnati, although that one only runs for this weekend, not for more than two weeks like the original – now that’s quite a party!) it’s the perfect time to put up my annual review of a festival-style beer. I’ve previously expressed my preference for the more traditional, amber-colored version in such reviews as:

Left Hand Oktoberfest
Rhinegheist Franz
Fat Head Oktoberfest
Hinterland Oktoberfest

Nice sampling there. (And there are many more I’ve tried over the years before I started this blog. So yeah, I have a bit of a history with the beer, even if I’ve never been to the Real Deal.) That said, I figured it was about time to dive into the more modern, lighter-hued interpretation of the style and give it a fresh look-see. Especially seeing as this one hails from the good folks at Sierra Nevada, in conjunction with an established German brewery.

The label states “Packaged 07/06/16”. So here we go!

Appearance (4/5): Brilliant, clear yellow-gold hue. Pours with a good quarter inch or more of white foam composed mostly of minuscule bubbles; this gradually recedes to a very thin layer.

Aroma (8/10): Crisp, hoppy & malty aromas; floral & spicy, with grainy, lightly toasted malt. Has that authentic character.

Palate (4/5): Moderately light-bodied with fine, effervescent carbonation. Possesses a bit of silky smoothness across the tongue.

Taste (8/10): Opens with a blend of malt and hops. The hop element combines some floral and spicy elements, while the malty component is luscious, with a decocted (brewing process during which small portions of the mash are brought to a boil separately, then added back to the main mash, sometimes repeated 2 or 3 times, and producing a distinct malt profile), lightly toasted & caramelized note. Again, this presents that Old World character. Bittering gently builds to a rather pleasing finish which accentuates the hops with its own unique resiny touch. I’m impressed.

Overall (16/20): Well, I guess I’ll have to be more open-minded about the modern style of Oktoberfest lager being brewed & served these days, because this is very tasty and enjoyable! Recommended with all your favorite fest fare – Oktoberfest chicken, roast pork, wursts, big soft pretzels, etc. Prost!

Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.


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