The Kyle and I have been plotting another long-overdue blind tasting, and with the calendar and the weather being just right, we sat down Sunday afternoon to work our way through six commercial Oktoberfests, as well as my homebrewed Operatoberfestbier, the latter brewed for and leftover from a fundraiser we did on Friday to help restore our local, historic Opera House. (Kyle contributed a maibock and Monte tossed in an alt–both tasty).
Jake and Tom served as worthy stewards and reminded me that there’s yet another reason beyond hauling firewood that it’s good to get kids out of diapers and grow partway up.
Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen
Sam Adams Octoberfest
New Belgium Hoptober Golden Ale
Yep, I know. Hoptober was tossed into the mix to keep us honest. What was great is that we purchased the beers over a week ago and I really had forgotten exactly what all was included, so when this hoppy golden thing hit, we were both thrown for a loop. Boy, how smart we felt when we learned what beer #1 was. Yay! We are smart beer tasters.
The other extra was mine, which I think is a pretty respectable version of the style. However, it didn’t judge well, since it had been off CO2 for a couple of days and was a little flattish. (I had three kegs at the fundraiser and only two CO2 lines, so it had been just pushing off it’s tank pressure.) We both knew it was mine the minute we laid eyes on it, and yes, it wasn’t in prime condition at that moment.
Going in, I knew I liked the Sam Adams beer, but figured it would be down a few slots because it seems a little hoppier than most o-fests. I also expected Capital to do well because of all their lager love and I planned on Dogtober finishing number one. Dogtober had been a big favorite of mine last year and took GABF gold in 2008 and 2009 (but nothing this year).
As for our assessments, Sam Adams took first place, Capital took second and Dogtober took third. Leinie’s was expectedly lackluster and Hofbrau was expectedly light and pils-ish.
My questions are these: Has SA backed off the hops? and Has Flying Dog changed anything? These three beers were excellent, but Kyle and I unanimously chose our top three in this same order. They were gorgeous, all three, and had the malt-boom that the others lacked. (New Belgium didn’t really count–and for the record, it was yummy in it’s own right.
So there you have it: blind=truth. Sam Adams won this year.