The Fridge.

For some reason, we continue to find more beers to try and then we have to write about them….

This edition finds Bob and I trying some Marzen Oktoberfests. The first is local macro brewer Michelob Marzen and the second is Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen, and then we will be finishing up this jag with Coney Island Freaktoberfest.

This will be the first, and definitely not the last, time we try any of the AB Family of beers up against a counterpart from another company.

The style is characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavour and a clean dry finish. In Germany, the term covers beers which vary in colour from pale (Helles Märzen), through amber to dark brown (Dunkles Märzen) (source). How do these three beers compare to each other?

Michelob Marzen (ABV 5.1%)

Marzen by Michelob

Nik: This was my first try with this beer. Normally, I find Michelob to be the best of the AB Family of beers and they have a better quality flavor to them. I will normally drink these without any fuss. For their Marzen, I was pleasantly surprised. It definitely had a nice smoothness, which most Michelob Beers have in my experience. It had a very pleasing malty flavor and went down well. It didn’t have anything special to it. I could tell that it was a macro beer. With other better alternatives, I wouldn’t seek this one out, but it was close enough for government work.

Bob: I first tasted this Oktoberfest-style rendition from A-B several years ago, when it was only available seasonally in a variety pack. It was the best of the bunch and I always wished they would release it for individual sale. Now that they have I picked up a six-pack and was sorry to find it wasn’t quite as good this time around. Don’t know if they actually changed the formulation or if my taste buds have just become that much more sophisticated. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, just not the superior brew I remembered. It comes off fairly malty, but with a hop bitterness that I was not particularly fond of (probably I just don’t like the hop variety they used all that much. My main complaint, however, is that it has too much carbonation and too little taste for my liking, as do many of A-B’s products. Lighter beers like this are OK in the summer, when I’m just looking for a thirst-quencher after working in the hot sun, but too thin for a beer that I want to drink during those cold, dreary fall and winter days.

Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen (ABV 5.8%)

Paulaner Otoberfest Marzen

Nik: I’ve had and loved this beer before. It’s just a touch heavier than most beers, and that’s always a nice little plus. It got a short lived head and a great amber color and I think a sharp color yields a sharp beer, and this is no exception. It smells sweet and has a nice, full, smooth, and malty flavor. Great for a warm summer’s day.

Bob: Paulaner has a rich, malty flavor. Pours nicely in the glass, with a good, long-lasting tan head and deep amber-brown color. Tastes just as good at the end of the glass as at the beginning, with a great balance between maltiness and hops. Nice chewy aftertaste. All in all, my current standard of excellence for what a marzen/oktoberfest should be. Sells for about $10 a six-pack and well worth it, making the ones I got for less than half that at my close-out place quite a bargain. They were bottled in autumn 2007 but have lost absolutely nothing in the bottle. A wonderful brew.

Freaktoberfest by Shmaltz Brewing (6.66% ABV)

Coney Island Freaktoberfest

Nik: On the label, they state that this is not an Oktoberfest, but a Freaktoberfest, a blood red lager, and fits that bill. It has a very deep red color.  It smells of fruit, and really reminded me of wine. It’s a lager with a very fruity finish, and I just hated this beer. I couldn’t finish my glass, and I didn’t pour it very deeply…

Never again.

Bob: This is a dark lager that surprised me with a rich, pleasing taste that compared favorably to other mid-range marzen-type beers. I considered it a novelty brew and wasn’t expecting much, but it was good enough to drink again, especially at the discount price I got it from my close-out odds-and-ends supplier. Better than Michelob Marzen, but nowhere near as good as Paulaner Oktoberfest.

  1. South beach says:

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