Put On Your Lederhosen and Fill Those Steins
It's that time of year again. Oktoberfest beers are showing up at The Hop Yard. With that in mind, we decided to sit down and taste through a selection of the Oktoberfest options you will find on our shelves. Given the seasonal nature of these beers, we encourage you to stop by The Hop Yard soon and grab some for yourself. Then pull up a chair, fill your stein, and taste along with The Hop Yard crew. Lederhosen is optional.
Saranac 1888 Octoberfest
About The Beer: Saranac’s 1888 Octoberfest is a true Octoberfest brewed with German hops – Perle and Saphir. This recipe has been with the Matt family for 4 generations. When F.X. Matt founded the company, he made it a point to only allow English to be spoken at the brewery.
Malts: Pilsener, Carapils
Original Gravity: 13° Plato
Hops: Perle, Saphir
What We Tasted: Bready malts, medium-light bodied, readiness. Faint herbal hop notes. Hints of a honey-like sweetness on the backend. "Honey wheat pretzel."
Bell's Octoberfest Beer
About The Beer: Crafted as a flavorful session beer and perfect for autumn, Octoberfest spends a full six weeks fermenting. With herbal hop aromas, this balanced amber lager focuses on lightly toasted malt that lends body without too much sweetness. Perfect for a week-long wedding celebration in Germany or the start of the Michigan autumn.
What We Tasted: Caramel malty sweetness and raisin/dried fruit aromas. Rich, full mouthfeel. Despite the caramel sweet notes in the aroma, pleasantly balanced with light toasted bread undertones and a dry finish.
Deep River Marzen
What We Tasted: Toasted bread and a faint whiff of floral hops. Medium bodied. Spicier in flavor than the rest of the lineup.
Goose Island Fest Bier
About The Beer: Goose Fest Bier is brimming with notes of toasted malt and freshly baked rye bread. This light-bodied German lager is clean and crisp with a fine noble hop character and mild earthy bitterness that is the hallmark of Hallertau hops. Raise a few steins of Goose Fest Bier this fall and celebrate this time-honored tradition, Prost!
Hops: Hallertau Tradition
Malts: 2-Row, C-20, C-40, Munich
What We Tasted: Light malty caramel sweetness, bready malt. Medium low noble hops. Mild bitterness.
Ballast Point Dead Ringer
About The Beer: Dead Ringer Oktoberfest lager is inspired by old-style Märzen brews customarily enjoyed during Bavaria’s world-famous beer festival. Thanks to an abundance of toasted malt and a lower hop bitterness, this dark reddish brown lager is loaded with sweet, caramel toffee flavors and aromas. All the taste and celebration of Oktoberfest packed into one bottle; no lederhosen required. 6% ABV 26 IBUs
What We Tasted: Pours a richer, deep red hue than the rest of the lineup. Stronger roasted malt take with touches of chocolate. Despite the rating of 26IBUs, the medium-high perceived bitterness component was the highest amongst the lineup.
Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest
About The Beer: A lightly colored, but toasty, rich and full-bodied Marzen style lager, brewed with traditional German malt and the finest noble hops. A spicy hop finish and aroma balance out the abundance of malt flavor.
Grain: 2 Row, Munich, Vienna, Caramel & Pilsen
Hops: Hallertau Mittlefrue & German Spalt Select
O.G.: 13 Plato
What We Tasted: Medium-bodied with a toasted bready maltiness, and spicy hop flavor in the finish. Bitterness supports the malt component without going over the top.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest
About The Beer: Prost! Our take on this classic German style is a celebration of maltiness— packed with rustic, autumnal flavors to put a little more oomph into your oom-pah-pah. 6.5% ABV 20 IBU
What We Tasted: Balanced aroma between the spicy hop and toasty malts. Touch of caramel sweetness up front with a dry, noble hop finish.
"About This Beer" information sourced directly from brewery websites, where applicable. Tasting notes courtesy of Brian Johnson (Owner - The Hop Yard, Cicerone Certified Beer Server, and BJCP Certified Judge) and Kevin Reed (Avid Patron - The Hop Yard, All Around Cool Dude)