Fall is in the Air, But Oktoberfest is on My Tongue!
by Belly Buddy Mark Stevens
At A Glance
Beer: Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen
Pros: Nutty malt flavor with smooth, soft body
Cons: Oh to be in Munich!
The Bottom Line: Looking for something with a nice, malty, nutty flavor but that’s not too strong? Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen might be the brew for you!
September means just one thing to any real beer drinker (and that one thing is decidedly not football!).
September means Oktoberfest, pure and simple. The leaves on the trees turning from green to yellow to the orange color of a well-brewed oktoberfest beer can’t help but leave my tongue begging me for a tall, cool glass of oktoberfest beer.
With fall on my mind and the flavor of hearty oktoberfest beers on my tongue, I snagged a few six packs of this year’s crop of Oktoberfest beers during my regular jaunt to the beer warehouse. So without further ado, let’s pop the top of the Paulaner and see what kind of treat our friends in Munich have brewed up for us…
A Tall Cool Glass of Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen
Pilsner glasses might have been made to highlight the clarity of pale lagers, but I sure think they do a stellar job showcasing the beauty of this fine amber lager!
Jim Koch used to do these radio ads saying that Samuel Adams poured with a “head so thick you can float a bottle cap on it.” I’m glad I don’t hear those ads any more, but there is something to be said for a beer that pours with a super tight head. Paulaner Oktoberfest is one of those beers. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the thick, rocky head of foam that kicked up as I poured this beer into my glass. The head took its time settling down, and it left a fine trail of Belgian lace all the way down to the bottom of the glass.
Paulaner Oktoberfest is a brilliantly clear beer with a luxuriously amber-orange color. It reminds me of the turning of leaves and of being outside on a cool October afternoon.
Very sweet. The soft caramel toffee smell of malt almost reminds me of the scent of melting sugar in a pan to make rock candy. I get no hops on this one, but just a hint of alcohol (which surprises me a bit since I rarely pick up on that in German beers other than dopplebocks).
Very soft and smooth with a decidedly nutty light roast edge on the malt. The emphasis is definitely on malt sweetness, although the beer is really very well balanced. There’s just the barest hint of hop flavor as the beer crosses my tongue, although there’s a definite dryness to the finish with a bit of light pepperiness to the hops. The beer feels a bit heavier than normal on the palate, but it’s by no means a “big” beer. The starting gravity is probably around 14 degrees Plato.
This is one of the finest amber lagers you can buy. Between this and masterpieces like Spaten’s Ur-Marzen, I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Fortunately, I don’t have to — my local beer retailer will gladly sell me both!
I love the soft, nutty maltiness on this beer, and I love the rich, luxuriant body. This is a brew that I could drink quite a bit of. I might not be able to get to Oktoberfest in person, but a few glasses of Paulaner Oktoberfest can sure put me in the seasonal mood (though I sure miss the oom-pah bands and dancing on the tables with pretty Frauleins…)
Bottom line: This is a beer that will appeal to a lot of people. It’s sweeter and nuttier than most popular brands, but it’s a beer with a long brewing tradition. If you’re looking for something with a nice, malty, nutty flavor but that’s not too strong, then I think an oktoberfest beer might be something you’d like. And among oktoberfest beers, Paulaner is one of the authentic premier brands from Germany. Give it a try, you might even be ready to join me in a chorus of “Roll Out the Barrel”…
Footnote About the Brewery
Paulaner is one of Munich’s most respected breweries, and for good reason. The brewery produces many of the region’s best beers, and has been doing so for almost four centuries.
The brewery was started by Pauline monks in 1634, and the monks actually operated the facility themselves up until the early 19th century when day-to-day operations were turned over to a non-religious brewmaster. (There seems to be some confusion about this with some people thinking that the brewery was run by Franciscans, however, Michael Jackson (the world’s undisputed top authority on all things malty) says that this is not the case — the monks who ran the brewery were Pauline monks, and they named the facility in honor of the patron saint of their own order — Saint Francis of Paula.)
Until next time, see you in the beer aisle. I’ll be digging around for a few more lusciously malty samples of my favorite fall styles!