This Left Hand Oktoberfest is the first ‘domestic Marzen’ that I’m trying for The Brew Club. Purists may note that there are really only six brewers that make ‘real’ Oktoberfest beers and they are all German. Some we’ve already reviewed here like Paulaner, Spaten and Hacker-Pschorr.
Others, like Beck’s Oktoberfest are also German, but for some reason are not part of the ‘big six’ club of Bavarian beer masters that brew this style. Technically, there is a geographical restriction that determines where the ‘true’ Oktoberfests come from. Breweries in Munich, Germany. Das ist alles.
Regardless, we’re trying a domestic marzen by the Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado and I don’t care what the Bavarians say about it!
This 6% ABV Oktoberfest pours a perfectly clear coppery or amber color, and it created a decently sized foamy had that had good retention and nice lacing as well. The head remained actually, in a lesser form of course to the very end!
Taking a good whiff of the Left Hand Oktoberfest, I picked up a rich malty smell that also had some of that bready kind of aroma as well. This seems to be fairly common with this style – it reminded me a lot of how the Beck’s Oktoberfest smelled. Nothing surprising here I guess, but so far so good.
Getting on to the taste, I actually stopped after the first sip with an audible ‘huh!’. I know you’re thinking, ‘calm down Scott!’ but I don’t usually do that. I just liked how this beer tasted right off the bat.
Its on the sweet side in the beginning which was nice and there was a nice maltyness to it as well. Left Hand Oktoberfest finishes a touch dry and overall I’d say is makes for a nicely balanced beer. Mouthfeel is good, its not watery or too thick, nice medium body and even a really enjoyable aftertaste. I’m thinking ‘yum’ as I drink this beer!
So, what do I think. Well, I really liked this particular interpretation of the Marzen style of beer quite a bit and I would definitely have this beer again. I think it was more flavorful than its German Oktoberfest counterparts, even though the website says its made with German ‘Magnum’ and ‘Vanguard’ hops and German Munich and Pilsner Malts.
Maybe it the water then, but this sucker is three and a half stars good! That means only the Paulaner was better – to me. I thought Left Hand Brewing Company did a really nice job on this beer.
What do you think? Do you think domestic Marzen’s are as good as the German beers? What about Left Hand Brewing? Like their stuff? For the record this is the second beer I’ve tried from them that I was really impressed with. The other was their Milk Stout which we reviewed over at our friend’s place, Dr. Beer Love.