Sometimes, I forget that lagers can be more than fizzy yellow water! Two types of lagers that remind me of that fact are the black lager (like the one from Sam Adams) and the Märzen, which are often known as Oktoberfest beers.
Festbier, from Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company is probably one of the best domestic Oktoberfest beers I’ve ever had the opportunity to try! Makes sense I guess as it won a gold medal at the 2007 GABF for German-Style Oktoberfest beers!
Generally, there’s a certain similarity to this style of beer, so its in the subtleties that seem to make Victory Festbier stand out a bit from the rest.
See, these Märzen lagers are always a bit more malty than your run-of-the-mill lager. In addition, they seem to exhibit a bit more of that breadyness and a well-rounded, but not over-done sweetness too. (I think that my brain thinks its an ale of some kind!)
So what makes Festbier so special? According to the label, Victory uses imported German malts, which I think lends itself to the authenticity of the beer, but maybe even to the overall flavor and quality? I say yes.
Festbier gets off to a strong start. Just looking at it, I’m in the mood for cooler weather and warming, malty beers. Its a beautiful clear amber color – not much head on it, but that’s just fine. The aroma is equally enticing (to me) because its dominated by malt and sweet.
Getting to the important bits, Festbier is first off, super, super smooth. An easy drinker that doesn’t have any kind of unpleasant burn or flavor imbalance. I found myself really enjoying every malty sip.
Second, those aforementioned malty sips. Mmmmmm. Malty. Festbier isn’t a malt-bomb, but its definitely a sweet malty fellow and I just appreciate that! Mr. Malt’s supporting flavor-cast includes Mr. Bready, Mr. Nutty, and there’s a cameo by Mr. Hop who shows up at the end of every sip in a supportive role.
Overall, its a great cast, and Victory has really tweaked this 5.7% ABV Oktoberfest recipe into a real winner.
I’ve got no problems giving this seasonal lager 4 stars, and if you’re looking to try an excellent domestic craft Oktoberfest, this one from Victory will not disappoint.