Well, we’re getting further and further into the Fall season here at The Brew Club, and we’ve tried a bunch of Oktoberfest Beers as well as a few Pumpkin Ales. I’ve come to find my preferences in both styles, and I’ve tried beers that I thought were great, and some that were not-so-great. Today’s beer review is Harpoon Brewery’s Oktoberfest Beer. Where will it fall on my beer rating spectrum???
Harpoon has facilities in Vermont as well as Massachusetts in case you were wondering, so this ends up being another New England beer we try out for you. Harpoon also claims to be New England’s largest craft beer brewer.
The 5.5% ABV Harpoon Oktoberfest seems to be on par with other Oktoberfest beers as far as color and clarity are concerned. Harpoon’s website calls the beer’s color ‘garnet red’ and its a result of the Munich, chocolate and pale malts used, but it looks more like dark amber to me! Perhaps its a technical distinction? Any assists from the crowd?
While we’re on ingredients, Harpoon uses Tettnang and Willamettehops hops in their Oktoberfest brew to provide some ‘bitterness and aroma to balance sweetness from the malt’.
The beer does create a tight foamy head when poured, and it really looks good in the glass. The aroma is slightly bready, although less so than other Oktoberfest beers I’ve tried recently like the Oktoberfish. Harpoon’s Oktoberfest comes off more subtle to me – less malty, less bready, but more hoppy. Perhaps just less bold than others?
The taste of the beer is similar to the smell. Compared to other Oktoberfest beers, the Harpoon version is less malty, more bitter, and somewhat dryer feeling. I also felt it was a bit more hoppy than others and there’s a bit of a spicy bite that you usually don’t get in Oktoberfest brews. Another interesting note, this Oktoberfest, like the Flying Fish Oktoberfish, is an Ale, not a lager as traditional Marzens are.
Being someone who prefers a malty brew, this characteristic is less appealing to me but it might be right up your alley! Still, its not overly ‘hopped’ or anything, I’m just saying that compared to other Oktoberfest beers, this one from Harpoon is a bit hoppier.
Overall, I thought the Harpoon Oktoberfest was so-so. Solidly average as in its not a bad beer at all, but I’ve had better Oktoberfests as well. I’ve also found that this beer in particular tested much, much better as it warms. 10 minutes out of the fridge was really not enough to get the most out of this beer. If you have it, let is warm up a bit I think you’ll enjoy it more than if its too cold.
Harpoon’s Oktoberfest isn’t bad, it just isn’t standing out as all that memorable to me or something I would get again. This is my first brew from Harpoon, and I’ve heard many good things about their beers so I’m not going to let this one stop me from trying their other beers in the future. So, I’m giving it a 2.5 out of 5.
What do you think? Ever have the Harpoon Oktoberfest?