The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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AS THE DAYS BEGIN TO SHORTEN, FANS BEGIN TO SEEK OUT OKTOBERFEST BREWS Sixpack Gadd’s Hofbräu Oktoberfest The official state brewery provides this stuff to Munich’s historic beer bash, which began as a wedding celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig in 1810. The prince later turned into Mad King Ludwig, but don’t blame the beer. While not quite among the ranks of Germany’s best brews, it’s still nothing if not gulpable, which, after all, is the whole point of Oktoberfest. HOFBRÄU AMERICA Spaten Oktoberfest Urmärzen The nose conjures up the subtext of a Grimm Brothers fairy tale—raw, meaty, tempting, dangerous and alive with ugly trolls demanding an exorbitant bridge toll for passage into their magical land. Cough up it, Hansel! A liquid trip into the German psyche. SPATEN NORTH AMERICA Leinenkugel Oktoberfest German-Style Märzen It’s doubtful that founder Jacob Leinenkugel—or any other German— would recognize this simulacrum of a Bavarian Märzen, since the Leinenkugel family’s Wisconsin brewing heritage was assimi- lated lock, stock and brew-barrel by Miller in 1988. Designed to offend no one, this brew also excites no one; but even Aunt Phyllis deserves an Oktoberfest beer, and this is it. SABMILLER 56 / the tasting panel / september 2010 Avery Kaiser Imperial Octoberfest Lager No one ever accused Avery of making wallflower beers. This well-above-nine- percenter comes on like turpentine and mastic, reminding me of my penurious days as a bohemian painter, addicted to Art Forum and high on mineral spirits. Like Kaiser Wilhelm himself: difficult to love, but impossible to ignore. Beck’s Oktoberfest This north-German rendition of an Oktoberfest beer sports a torched- meringue head that’s redolent of stone fruits with just a hint of yeast. In the mouth, it’s an entirely drinkable (hey, it’s beer) but it’s somehow a bit staid, always managing to remind us we’re in Bremen, not Bavaria. ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen Amber Malty and rich in all the right places, this right-on- the-Deutschmark original is a gemütlich brew with the surefootedness of a BMW and loads of charm and style. Slap on your lederhosen or your dirty-dancing dirndl and let’s polka. PAULANER HP USA

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