What’s up y’all? Its early September which means it’s almost Octoberfest! While I have never been, but would love to go, to a proper Bavarian Octoberfest celebration, I still enjoy the Octoberfest seasonal beers. To be honest, this is BY FAR my favorite time of the year from a seasonal beer perspective.
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In the interest of celebrating Octoberfest and keeping up with my reviews, I have decided to conduct a month-long review cycle in which I will compare three Octoberfest brews per week, culminating in a three beer “beer-off” at the end of the month.
In this first week, it was an all-Texan showdown, where compared the seasonal offerings of Shiner, Southern Star and Saint Arnold Breweries. You can check out the video review below.
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So let’s break them down:
Southern Star Octoberfest
While all of these breweries are some of my favorites based in Texas, Southern Star holds a special place in my heart. Many moons ago, when this site was in its infancy, I picked up a can of Southern Star’s Bombshell Blonde on a whim. I was building a 6-pack at Central Market and had one spot left. The vibrant can design and playful name caused me to choose their beer (branding works y’all) and I am SO GLAD that I chose it. Read the full review here.
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Southern Star’s Octoberfest offering is a great one. It combines a deep, powerful flavor profile with a nice, crisp mouthfeel that doesn’t leave a significant aftertaste. It is amber in color and tastes very malty. Little hops exist, making for a seasonal brew than can appeal to a wide range of beer drinkers; from casual drinkers to bonafide beer nerds. This is the first seasonal beer I consumed, but it set the bar really high.
If you live in, or have ever visited, Texas, then you almost certainly have heard of Shiner. One of the most prevalent craft beers in the state of Texas, Shiner has developed a solid reputation for excellent beer, particularly through its flagship Shiner Bock. While I haven’t enjoyed every Shiner beer I’ve tried, more often than not their beers really hit the spot.
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Their Octoberfest offering is a solid one. Like Southern Star’s, and as is typically of the style, Shiner produced a malt-forward seasonal brew. Whereas the Southern Star brew was very light and crisp, Shiner’s offering has a thicker mouthfeel and a more developed, hoppy flavor profile. All in all, this is a great brew.
Saint Arnold Octoberfest
While I haven’t know Saint Arnold long, they’ve made a massive impact on my perception of beer. Most of their beers that I’ve tried have been thin, light, refreshing lagers and so this was a departure from my standard. That said, it was a good beer.
Whereas the other two had light, malty flavors, Saint Arnold’s approach was deeper, with a toasted malts (and potentially barley-esque) flavor profile. I’m inclined to think that this is a bit of creative license. While I have never experienced an Octoberfest in Germany, nor have I yet tried a seasonal offering of German origin (yet, stay tuned), I can only assume that this deep flavor profile is unusual for the style.
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Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed this beer, but it just didn’t really meet my expectations. You should try it, you will almost certainly like it.
Ranking Week One
In third place, I have to put Saint Arnold. Keep in mind that I enjoyed all three of these beers, I just didn’t like this one as much. The toasted/barley flavor profile was a bit of a shock to me and, personally, isn’t my favorite.
In second place, Shiner’s seasonal offering. Both Shiner and Souther Star made highly enjoyable beer, but I personally preferred Souther Star’s. Shiner is a nice malt-forward brew with a hint of hops that makes for a nice brew. I could easily work my way through a six pack of this, and I probably will do just that before this season expires.
Southern Star takes out week one of my Octoberfest experiment. The beer has a solid, reasonably complex, malty body but remained quite light and very easy to drink. Keeping in mind the antics of Octoberfest, I think this would be my preferred brew to drink stein after stein of as I try to sing along in German. In the coming weeks, I will consider Octoberfest brews from Germany, which on paper should put Southern Star to shame. But I’m not sure it will work out that way. This is a wonderful beer and the bar is nice and high.
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Octoberfest seasonal brew season is in its infancy and I have plenty more beer to review. Go ahead and check out my Youtube channel for the corresponding video and many more. You can also connect with me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I hope to see you back again soon!
I’ll have to try the Oktoberfest from Southern Star, but imo St. Arnold’s Oktoberfest is one of the best of the genre I’ve ever had.
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Interesting, as I said, it’s a good beer. I honestly think Octoberfest beers are the best seasonal variety out there.