Fest Beer | Lancaster Brewing Company

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53 Ratings

Brewed by:
Lancaster Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by woodychandler on 01-21-2006

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Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of therealJAYZ
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BeerIsland
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

17 January 2005 was a memorable day for beer drinkers in eastern PA. It was Old Ben’s 300th birthday and the return of Franklinfest. Although the popular press and many other sources have attributed a well known beer related quote to Ben Franklin, that item appears to have been convincingly laid to rest by Sandy Mitchell in the last issue of Mid Atlantic Brewing News. Of more immediate interest is the reappearance of Franklinfest at Lancaster Brewing Co today after more than 5 years. Head Brewer Bill Moore uncovered his old recipe, a GABF bronze medal winner in 1998, dusted it off and created a near perfect replica of this acclaimed brew. This smooth and refreshing lager appears orange/copper colored in the glass with a fairly quickly dissipating frothy head (25 oz mugs have a way of doing that!). I couldn’t detect much nose despite some serious sniffing. The first impression is a complex non-toasty malt flavor which leads to a nicely bittered hop finish. Bill was busy hosing out a brew kettle but had time to provide some details (I particularly enjoyed his wearing an old Pretzel City tee shirt for the dirty work!). He said that there were about six or seven varieties of malt in the bill, making up about 1000 lbs overall. The Franklinfest weighs in at about 5.5% ABV which is not too daunting for a session beer. The overall result is a very fresh tasting, tangy (slightly citrusy?) brew that is not overwhelming but extremely drinkable and much better than LBC’s regular Octoberfest. LBC plans to get this item in the bottle soon so it may appear at your local retailer in a couple months.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears amber with a slight copper tone to it forms a nice off white tannish orange head leaves even streaks of lacing nice. Aroma contains toasty nut edge semi sweet caramel notes herbal hop notes warm bready character overall. Taste is upfront herbal noble hops quality leafiness to ite sweet toasted malt brings it altogether very nice fest bier not overly swet travels nicely on the palate. Mouthfeel light to medium in body evenly carbonated very smooth going down. Drinkability is amazingly refreshing and very very drinkable it is what you want from a quality fest bier no cloying malt sweetness not hop less in any regard good mix of flavors from what I here quite a classic recipe for the Philly area, definitely one of my favorite lagers I imbibed on at the Beats, Brews, and BBQ the other lager was the Pikeland Pils from Sly Fox good stuff.

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Photo of Rootdog316
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy amber color with a fairly thin head. In fact, the head disappeared rather quickly. The smell was not very strong, and the initial taste of the beer was somewhat sweet. Somewhat of a malty taste too. Overall, not a bad Marzen but certainly not the best.

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Photo of tempest
2.61/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I don't know what's going on here, maybe this sucker was made for the Yuengling crowd. It just has a plain, tangy (almost sour) amber lager taste. No decent hops that I could detect and it doesn't go down that smooth either, though it's by no means awful. This beer just drinks like a cheap amber lager.

 303 characters

Photo of Bdel34
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Bapplebaum
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of akorsak
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Harrisburg location.

A: The festbier is a straw-like orange-yellow combination. A remarkable clarity within the beer is pleasing. The glass had little head that never amounted to more than a ring.

S: The nose is caramel grain with some underlying fruit sweetness and some dabs of hop bitterness. Overall it is very unassuming.

T: The body of the beer is generally nondescript. Caramel maltiness sets the stage for a fruity taste that throws out lighter fruits (red apples but not raisins). A touch of hops adds a needed bitterness to prevent things from tilting too far on the sweet spectrum. The finishing note is caramel maltiness.

M: The flavors blend nicely but never rise up to create a commotion. This is a simple beer done right.

D: Very sessionable with a low abv is solid taste. This is a belly-to-the-bar kind of beer.

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Photo of Mudawg
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Shafaegalo
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of Phatz
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very unique beer. I like to be forced to think about it and that was the case here. This is different from most of the Oktoberfest beers that I have had. Also, I was fortunate enough to be sitting with Woody while enjoying this beer and he gave me some of the history of the beer, that is of Bill Moore (the brewer) and his past at Independence Brewing Company in Philadelphia. Fascinating. It all adds to the expier3ence. But now onto the beer.

Appearance: It was served to me with a nice creamy head and sat in the glass a very translucent golden amber color.

Smell: The smell was very gentle, clean, and easy to take in. Sweet malts, a hint of caramel and a nice gently spicy hop attribute.

Taste: It has the velvet glove character going for it here. A solid body but no cloying attributes. It is nicely sweet but not too much so, (maybe a bit less than typical for the style). And then there is a pleasant hop presence tending to dry at the finish becoming a bit lip-smacking (almost like a granny smith apple). Very tasty and very approachable.

Mouthfeel: Crisp around the edges and yet the medium body felt nice and creamy in the mouth.

Drinkability: Outstanding. This is a beer for drinking! Certainly quite sessionable. I highly recommend.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.99/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Ale Mary's in Baltimore. Poured an amber hinted chesnut. Splotchy eggshell head with limited retention and lacing. Nutty caramelly aroma with some light herbal hops tossed in.
Sweet, chewy toasted bready, and nutty all wrapped into one with the flavor. Just sweet enough to not be cloying. Enough noble hops in there to call it complex. Light to medium mouthfeel with enough carbonation to keep it springy

Overall a great session brew that was a surprise (a marzen on tap in February...) Worthy of many

 525 characters

Photo of GinDC
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into my huge mug of doom.

A- pours a cloudy light shade of amber with a one finger white head. Laces beautifully. Can't complain about anything here.

S- very very light smelling...mild hops. Not getting a huge whiff, but what I'm getting is nice.

T- very light flavor...tastes like a really weak Marzen. There is a slightly sweet taste to it...can't put my finger on many hops though. Slightly malty.

M- good feel. Body is light, but the thinness of it doesn't really hurt the beer at all.

D- no way is this 5.5%. Drinks so smooth. Think of a more tasty Yuengling. Works for me!

 597 characters

Photo of beerfinder
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of TeachChefs
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of IPAchris
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of woodychandler
4.68/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was Bill Moore's signature beer when he was at Independence BC in PHL (RIP) and one of the main reasons that I was so excited at the news that he was coming to brew at LNCBC back in August 2005. Welcome back, Franklinfest!

It arrived with a thick, off-white/eggshell-colored head. I noted an extreme clarity in a bright amber liquid. The mouthfeel was full, tending to creamy. There was a light sweetness on the tongue, but the finish was extremely clean and refreshing with a lingering sweetness after swallowing. It was eminently drinkable. This is my vision of a okoberfest-style lager: sweet, but not overwhelmingly so and posessing an ABV that makes it a session candidate.

Here we have the embodiment of one of my dreams. Now, if only that buxom redhead would make her appearance, I'd be all set.

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Photo of Redstar137
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Gavage
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear amber color with a 1" head. The head lasted a while. No lacing developed on the glass. Only a handful of carbonation bubbles were seen rising.

Smell: only some malt was detectable by the nose.

Taste: a simple malty brew with some mild bitterness, hint of ripe fruits, and a touch of pepper. Some honey sweetness arrived at the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium in body. Lightly crisp at the start and finish.

Drinkability: I was excited to see this on tap at LBC 'cause I remember this beer when it was bottled years ago under Independence name. This is a simple and basic session beer that doesn't overwhelm you, but it is an easy drinker and well done. There were beers I preferred on tap at LBC, but this was worth the flashback.

 756 characters

Photo of hockenbeer
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of DaveHack
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Smells like stale caramel, had a weird aftertaste

49 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of PorterThwarter
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

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Fest Beer from Lancaster Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 53 ratings