I picked up the Samuel Adams Octoberfest as part of my yearly ritual of trying different Octoberfest and Pumpkin Ales for the Fall season. This particular beer was part of the Sam Adams Harvest Variety Pack which also included their new Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Dunkelweizen (reviews shortly).
Strangely, the variety pack also has the Irish Red, Black Lager and Boston Lager which I’m not sure of the reasoning behind their inclusion. I’d much prefer it stocked with the limited seasonal beers, but that’s just me.
Anyway…I’m also psyched that the word is spelled Octoberfest and not Oktoberfest which always seemed weird to me as an American.
Sam Adams Octoberfest is a 5.3% ABV Märzen, which is actually a lager that gets its name from the month the brewing process began. Back in the day before refrigeration, this beer was started in March, which was the last month that beer could be stored (lagered). It was left to lager over the spring and summer, and then was ready to go around this time of year. Autumn!
So, the märzen has become a traditional favorite for this time of year – and that’s a good thing! Its one of my favorite styles of lager because it typically has a more malty flavor, and nice sweetness thas makes a good märzen a real treat!
The Sam Adams Octoberfest does well I think in comparison to the other Oktoberfest beers I’ve tried over the last few years. Its a beautiful clear amber color – perfect for fall, and it creates a nice, slightly amberish head that compliments the beer nicely.
Aroma is typical I think for the style. Malt and a biscuty sweetness come forth and there is a little bit of hop that comes through as well.
The taste is also typical of the style. Malts dominate, but don’t overpower. There’s a sweetness that’s reminiscent of toffee and the hops do well to balance it out by providing a little bitterness and bite toward the finish.
Overall, not bad. Perhaps the Sam Adams Octoberfest is not the excellent Ayinger Oktoberfest (the best of the style I’ve ever tried), but its certainly good enough for me to buy again this season, or recommend to you to give a try. Pretty good, but not great.
Good thing about Sam Adams beers is they are pretty much all over the place so its easy to find! Have you tried it? What do you think of it compared to other Octoberfest beers?