Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oktoberfest beers

Oktoberfest has been tempting me for years. I have wanted to go to Munich to be part of the festivities, but so far it has not been possible. Next year there will be a new opportunity, and if everything goes well I can sit in one of the tents at Theresienwiese enjoying schweinehaxe with sauerkraut and a Oktoberfestbier or three.

Fortunately the Oktoberfest beers are available outside Germany, so it is possible for us not attending to try the different beers. Here in Norway well stocked bars can have some of the beers available, but you will not find them in supermarkets and shops. Due to their strength at about 6% alcohol, these beers could only be sold at the state owned Vinmonopolet outlets. This year I have not seen any bottles in the Vinmonopolet shops I visit, and Oktoberfest beers are not among the 15 German beers in the web catalogue.

A short trip to Sweden made several Oktoberfest beers available to me, as the Swedish alcohol outlet Systembolaget sells several of them during Autumn. Here I will review some of these beers.

Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier was sold with several cartoony labels. In the glass this was a pale lager with some carbonation and a large head. There was fruit and yeast in the nose, while the taste was malty with hints of bread and yeast before a fruity finish. I liked this beer quite a lot, but with a strength of over 6% alcohol it could never become a session beer.

I liked Spaten Oktoberfestbier even more. In the nose there was fruit and sweetness, and the fruitiness was also present in the mouth. It had notes of apple and biscuit before a nice finish with a hint of hops. This was another pale lager that felt sessionable, but at 5.8% alcohol I can see that it would be better to stop after a litre glass or two. Spaten's Oktoberfestbier was also fullbodied and a nice treat.

Weltenburger Kloster Festbier had a coppery look. It had a large head and some carbonation. The aromas were of fruit and burntness. In taste this was a typical Baviarian style beer with a combination of caramel, a hint of toffee and the burnt notes. I liked this beer as well, but Spaten's effort was my favourite among these beers.

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