Hofbräu München Oktoberfest is the first ‘real’ Oktoberfest beer I’ve had in a long time! You have to go way back to previous year’s reviews of Löenbraü, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner to read about the authentic stuff.
What’s this hoo-ha about ‘real’ Oktoberfest beers, you ask? Isn’t my Sam Adams Octoberfest real? Well, yes and no. According to German tradition, ‘real’ Oktoberfest beers are brewed by only the big six breweries within the city limits of München, Germany. Everybody else is a poseur. (It actually says that in the rule book.) You can write it off I suppose as this is America and we don’t really bother with that stuff, but the Germans started the whole Oktoberfest thing back in 1810 so we should at least pretend, right?
Anyway, I’m happy to have another one of the ‘big six’ feather in The Brew Club hat! This one is from Hofbräu München, and so we’ve only got to try something from Augustiner to complete ‘real Oktoberfest beer’ set!
Hofbräu München started out much differently than what I’ve been used to trying. First thing I noticed is the color. While most American Oktoberfest beers seem to be amberish in color, (many of the German ones too) this brew is yellow like a Pilsner. Hmmmm.
Second thing that stood out was the massive, foamy white head that formed. Again, most domestics I’ve been trying lately had much smaller heads on them.
Third, and most disturbing, was the aroma. Did someone let a skunk in? There was a noticeable skunky thing going on here. I noticed this beer is in a green bottle and the sell-by date is well within range, so I’m going to guess this is just a sulphury-smelling brew!
Getting on to the taste, I’ll say that the skunky aroma was not an indication of a bad beer. It tasted pretty good actually. Much lighter and more subtle than the domestic Oktoberfest beers of late, but its hard to really tell what makes this particular German Oktoberfest special. It looks like a regular lager (even though it says ALE on the label?) and while the taste is OK bringing forth some malt sweetness, there was not much else going on.
I will say that it was very smooth, and to my surprise had a good body to it. Not watery as I had expected. Very drinkable, smooth and not much alcohol comes through either.
So, what do I think of the Hofbräu München Oktoberfest? Well, I liked that its smooth, and despite the off-putting look and aroma, the taste wasn’t bad at all. Its light and crisp even, maybe a good choice for people who only drink macro lagers. That’s not a dig either, I just don’t think this beer is so extreme that non-craft beer drinkers would enjoy it.
On the other hand, its really very blah – especially compared to some of the excellent domestic Oktoberfest beers I’ve been able to try. (I think we get a little spoiled here!) If I didn’t have any other choices, I’d say this German Oktoberfest was pretty good. Its definitely better than the Spaten and the Hacker-Pschorr I think, but not as good as the Paulaner or any of the domestics!
In that light, its a good brew, but I have better choices!