Total Score: 90.0, A- Reviewed 11/21/2011
Unless I can find a single of Great Lakes Oktoberfest tomorrow on my lunch break, Brooklyn’s Oktoberfest may well be the last of the Oktoberfest reviews, at least for this year.
Brooklyn Brewery was founded in 1987 by the duo of Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. Hindy discovered brewing while working as a war correspondent in the mid-80s in Cairo, where he met a co-worker who had taken it up at his previous job in Saudi Arabia where all alcohol had been banned. When Hindy returned to the US he took up homebrewing as a hobby. Several years later he met Potter, and convinced the reluctant lending officer to go into business with him.
They started out contract brewing their beers at a brewery in upstate NY, and continue to brew their large-production beers, such as Brooklyn Lager (which accounts for a staggering 50% of their production), at a facility in Utica (let the hating commence). Some of their more special beers, such as their Brewmaster’s Reserve line, are brewed at the facility in Brooklyn which opened in 1996. When they were first starting they also owned a distribution company, which they have since sold to focus on the brewing side of things. Today Garrett Oliver seems to be the face of the brewery, who has been involved in the publishing over several books and has served as a judge at the Great American Beer Festival for 11 years. All told, the Brooklyn Brewery is an awesome example of a modern craft brewery with a good chuck of history behind it.
Brooklyn’s Oktoberfest is available from August through October. Brewed with Bavarian malts and two varieties of Hallertauer hops and sporting an ABV of 5.5%, it’s self-described as “true to the original style” and “full bodied and malty, with a bready aroma and light, brisk hop bitterness.” If so, this sounds good. Of course, I have yet to find a beer with an off-putting description, so let’s not read into this too much. Unfortunately, a request submitted to the brewery for more info on the beer was not answered, so that’s all I’ve got on it.
Time to pour…
Poured into Brooklyn mug from bottle with best-by date of January 2012. Just noticed that the label background pattern is very, very similar to that of Elevator’s 1810 Oktoberfest. Hmmm. [EDIT: As it turns out, this pattern is a variation of the flag of Bavaria. Makes more sense now.] Pours a nice darker amber, like the color of an old penny, but not quite mahogany. Head is decent, not huge but that may be a result of the large mug. Dwindles to a thin but opaque film of foam. Smells delicious, basically all nutty and bready malt. Straining to pick up just the faintest bit of hops, but really with the malts this well done it’s just fine without the hops (you won’t hear that from me too often). Taste parallels the smell perfectly. Sweet nutty malts blanket the tongue, permeated ever so slightly by floral noble hops. Good medium-full body with light carbonation. The finish is pretty unique: goes down very smooth followed by a bitterness that feels like it’s going to go super-dry but surprisingly remains quite restrained.
Overall Brooklyn has done a great job with their Oktoberfest. Very, very good, but the flavor and body didn’t quite blow me away like Victory’s did. Still, I would gladly buy this beer again. Definitely something that would improve any brisk October (or November) evening.
Looks: 9/10 Smell: 9/10 Taste: 9/10 All-Around: 9/10