Welcome to week two of my Octoberfest experiment! While I’ve never been to the real deal in Germany, Octoberfest seasonal brews are probably my favorite seasonal offerings of the year. Over the duration of September and into October, I am going to be trying many of the seasonal brews available in San Antonio, with the aim of crowning the best Octoberfest brew. You can see the results of week one here.
This week, the tree Octoberfest brews I tried included those from Karbach, Sierra Nevada and Nine Band. Karbach is a relatively well known Texas-based brewer, whose rapid growth saw it acquired by AB InBev. Sierra Nevada is about as close to a household name in craft beer as any other brand, maybe only rivaled by Samuel Adams. Nine Band is a smaller, Texas based brewery with a reputation for great beer and interesting can art.
I started with the Karbach. The coloration of Karbach was surprisingly light. It was very highly carbonated and grew a decent head. Its predominant tone is toasted malt. Taste wise, it’s more or less what could be expected. The toasted malt flavors come through strong, supported by a slight hoppy-ness and are carried by a fairly thin, crisp body. It’s very easy to drink and I feel it would be suitable for beer drinkers of any persuasion.
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Second, I moved on to Nine Band’s Ghost Cow brew. This one had a much deeper, more pronounced flavor profile than the Karbach. It’s toasted malts heavy, slightly earthy and has a much thicker mouthfeel. Surprisingly the flavor is rounded out by an unexpected sweetness. It also has very little carbonation, which I suppose is unsurprising given the thickness of the body.
Last but not least, I tried the Sierra Nevada. This was and interesting one. While the beer itself is a decent one, it doesn’t really fit the Octoberfest style. It’s very light, malty and thin. Honestly, it tastes more like a summer seasonal brew than an Octoberfest one. The malts aren’t toasted and it just doesn’t mesh with fall. But, as I said, it is a nice beer, and I would definitely be happy to drink this again.
Ranking Week Two
In last place, I have to select Sierra Nevada. This isn’t a bad beer at all, but the criteria for this competition are which is the best Octoberfest beer. It seems, to me, that the Sierra Nevada offering is Octoberfest in name alone. While I’m generally not a stickler for this kind of stuff, I feel that such a historic style requires adherence to certain parameters that Sierra Nevada simply didn’t uphold.
In second, I am ranking Nine Band. This is purely a matter of preference as both remaining beers are excellent. For me, the deep, earthy, toasted malt flavors were less enjoyable than what Karbach had on offer. But realistically speaking, all three beers from this week were enjoyable.
Obviously, Karbach takes the week two title. I enjoyed that it remained true to the Octoberfest style, but also managed to put a nice spin on it. The beer was crisp and refreshing, whereas the Octoberfest brew can often be thick and heavy. I think this speaks volumes to the geographic region of Karbach. In Texas, it could very well be hitting 90 degrees Fahrenheit on any given day of the Octoberfest season. I like the lightness that keeps things fresh for the heat.
Octoberfest seasonal brew season has barely begun and I have plenty more beer to review. Go ahead and check out my Youtube channel for the upcoming Octoberfest videos and many more. You can also connect with me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I hope to see you back again soon!