By Tim Rodgers, Charlie Pavlov, Howard Goldstein & Matt Goldstein
If Oktoberfest means drinking over 40 different beers in a 36 hour period, than yes, it’s a festival. Germans like to watch Fussball and Americans prefer Football, so in honor of the upcoming season, we did both. We started our Oktoberfest in fine European style down at PPL Park in Chester PA awaiting Sebastian LeToux and the Union going against the Chicago Fire. We continued the debauchery a mere 15 hours later in the parking lot of Lincoln Financial field awaiting the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles home opener. All the time, working tirelessly, sampling beer after, beer, after beer. We cleansed our palates between courses of Vietnam prawns, stone crab claws, filet mignon, and 3 pound whole lobsters. Sorry, no wienerschnitzel.
Why go through all of that trouble? Well, it’s the 200th anniversary of the German Tradition of Oktoberfest started in Munich Germany in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of some prince. But as Far as the German beer crafters are concerned, the Marzenbier (March) beers are brewed in March but drank in the fall as the craft of making such fine brews require the spring and summer to prepare. They are primarily full bodied, higher in gravity and alcohol as a result of having to be stored for those months.
The change of seasons from summer to fall is a beautiful thing, and so is the harvest of fine foods, but more importantly fine beers. So we found it necessary to sample all of the Oktoberfest Marzen beers that were available to us, and give you this year’s rankings:
Superb flavored malts, hints of coffee, well balanced, and excellent Oktoberfest.
2. Beck’s Oktoberfest, 5.0%, Germany:
Great orange color, caramel, toffee, and coffee notes, very complex flavors yet smooth. We know. We’re as surprised as you are.
3. Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest
5.8%, Germany. Smoothly carbonated, great flavor.
4. Flying Fish Oktoberfish
5.5%, Cherry Hill, NJ. Balances the hops with autumn malts and caramel of the Oktoberfest style.
5. HofBrau Oktoberfestbier
6.3%, Germany. Interesting pumpkin and spice notes.
6. Stoudt’s Oktoberfest
5.0%, Adamstown, PA. Very good balance of bitters, hops and malts.
7. Lefthand Marzen Oktoberfest
6.0%, Logmont, Colorado. Great flavors of coffee and caramel.
8. Magic Hat Hex Ourtoberfest
5.4%, South Burlington, VT. Pine and cherry notes, good, interesting.
9. Spaten Oktoberfestbier
5.4%, Easton, PA
11. Slyfox Oktoberfest
5.8% ABV, Phoenixville PA.
12. Dundee Oktoberfest
5.5%, Rochester, NY.
13. Lakefront Oktoberfest Lager Beer
5.7%, Milwaukee, WI.
14. Sam Adams Oktoberfest
5.3%, Boston, MA.
15. Heavy Seas Marzen
5.4%, Baltimore, MD.
16. Saranac Oktoberfest
5.4%, Utica, NY.
17. Victory Fest Bier
5.6%, Downingtown, PA.
18. Leinenkugels Oktoberfest
5.1%, Chippewa Falls, WI.
19. Paulaner Oktoberfest
20. Sierra Nevada Tumbler
5.5%, Chico, CA.
21. Southern Tier Harvest Ale
6.4%, Lakewood, NY. (Too Hoppy for an Oktoberfest)
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