|Product: Leinenkugel Oktoberfest Beer|
Producer: Leinenkugel Brewery
Approximate Retail Value: $8.99 for a 6 pack
Country of Origin: Wisconsin, USA
Reviewer: D. Kearney Sparano
Flavor – Malty, with hints of sweetness.
Feel – Full body, slightly heavy.
Finish – Clean, with a slight bite.
By: D. Kearney Sparano
I love October. It is a wonderful time of year in my opinion. It’s cool but not cold, the weather is usually pretty nice and there is the beautiful fall foliage. Also within the month are two of my favorite things of all time, Halloween and Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is like the grown man’s carnival. If there is one in your area that you can make it to, I suggest you get there as soon as you can. With all this October goodness ready to be unfurled, I decided to go on a search for some good Oktoberfest beer. However, before we get into all that, a little background on the festival and the beer.
Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration of then Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. From that beginning the festival grew rather organically, with each year something being added. In 1816, carnival booths arrived, in 1819 Munich assumed ownership of the festival, 1835 saw the first parade held in King Ludwig and Queen Therese honor and in 1850 is was established as a yearly festival. In its nearly 200-year history it has only been cancelled 24 times due to war, disease or some other form of emergency. The beer that is produced and shares its name with the festival is a Lager. The specific style is named Marzen, with two dots over the A. Marzen goes as far back at the 16th centaury. In 1539, a German brewing ordinance stated that beer could only be brewed from the end of September to late April. This was to decrease the chance of fires during the summer. Beer was stored in caverns or cellars, called lagers, throughout the summer to keep in from going bad. Later on, at the end of the summer, the remaining beer was used in the Oktoberfest.
The Oktoberfest I am drinking today was made by the Leinenkugel Brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. They have been located there since 1867 and the brewery has been passed down through five generations. They produce a wide variety of beers and are distributed mainly throughout the Midwest. I happen to have found them simply by going to my local beer distributor. There, Oktoberfest is a seasonal beer and is brewed/sold between August and October. It is made with a blend of Pale, Caramel and Munich malts as well as Tettnag, Perle, Cluster, and Hallertau hops.
When I pour the Oktoberfest into my glass, what I notice immediately and love about all Oktoberfests is the dark amber color. It tells me that this isn’t going to be a watery light beer. This will be a hearty beer, maybe not as powerful as a stout, but certainly something with real flavor. The Oktoberfest doesn’t disappoint. The flavor that comes forth is beer, full bodied, malty, assertive but not overpowering. It brings to mind hearty autumn foods that fill the stomach and can keep someone going for hours. The flavor isn’t too hoppy and actually leans toward malty with a slight hint of sweetness. It is an all-around good Oktoberfest. I can easily see this going with good German food on a cool crisp day. It is well balanced for the season.
Lienenkugels Oktoberfest is good. I recommend that you get it while you can. If you are a beer fan, and specifically an Oktoberfest fan, you should enjoy this beer. If you like Corona or Bud Lite, this probably isn’t your speed. A possible problem with it though could be with the distribution. If you have a local beer distributor you should be able to get it; however, not every supermarket might have it. Finally, remember it is an Oktoberfest, so if you live in a warmer climate, you might not take to it like I have. There is just something about cold weather that makes this beer more palatable. If I were somewhere in the Southern California region or in the South, I am not sure if it would appeal to me as much as it is right now in the Northeast.