Midwest Made Oktoberfests

Discussion in 'Midwest' started by ZAP, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    It's that time of the year. Leaves are turning colors, a crispness in the air. Regular season football games are kicking in. Well, maybe none of that yet but the Oktoberfests are starting to hit the shelves and being its one of my favorite styles I can't hold back hitting them early. I thought a thread on impressions of this years Midwest made Oktoberfests would be interesting. Shoot, you can even toss in other Oktoberfest thoughts and I don't think too many people will complain.

    So far I've had two. Leinie's and Beaver Island (now in 16 ounce cans).

    Leine's is more of a dark American Lager. It's drinkable but not close to being a solid ofest.

    Beaver Island is outstanding. Maybe the best U.S. made Oktoberfest I've had. Spot on for style. I'll be drinking a ton of this this fall. Real toasty maltiness with a nice depth of malt flavors while lacking that caramel flavor a lot of US made ofests have. I actually enjoy some of those a lot too but this one is the closest I've found to a amber german ofest. (Beaver Island also did a fantastic Maibock and is very quietly kicking out some top notch lagers.)
  2. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Too late to edit...re-reading and meant Leinie Ofest an amber lager not dark...
  3. DriftlessFarmer

    DriftlessFarmer Initiate (138) Dec 15, 2016 Iowa

    It's not Midwest per this forum, but New Glarus Staghorn is one of my favorite Marzens.

    Within this forum's boundaries, I'd go with Summit, Schell's, Schlafly, Backpocket (begrudgingly -Hawktoberfest offends my Cyclone sensibilities) and Confluence.

    I realize it's not at all to style, but I love SurlyFest too.
    Benj68 likes this.
  4. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Well, since the OP mentioned a WI beer, I'd say you're OK. The Census Bureau definition of "midwest" is Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

    My favorites from the midwest last year were Schell's and Bell's.

    Speaking of offending sensibilities, when discussing the Märzen / Oktoberfest style beers, SurlyFest offends my sensibilities. I do enjoy it, but IMO, its style is a fall seasonal for IPA drinkers, not an Oktoberfest! :wink:
    DriftlessFarmer and Hookstrat like this.
  5. DriftlessFarmer

    DriftlessFarmer Initiate (138) Dec 15, 2016 Iowa

    My definition of Midwest is a little different. I'd cut off Ohio and Michigan altogether. To me the Midwest is all of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, and Montana.

    I realize this is a pedantic side bar, but I'm kind of a geography nerd and this is just my opinion. Basically, to me the Midwest is the areas that were once prairies and got turned into crop production. Ohio and Michigan are just too close to the Atlantic.

    I had a Leine's Oktoberfest today and it was better than I remember. Maybe I was just jonesin.
    MNBeerGeek likes this.
  6. barrybeerdog

    barrybeerdog Initiate (171) Aug 17, 2012 South Dakota

    My apologies to EVERYONE else that doesn't give a shit about the geography nerd's opinion, but if you're basing your definition of Midwest on: "prairies to crops", I gotta call bullshit on "all of Iowa". Explain to me how the north east corner of your state is/was prairie & now crop land? Have you driven NE from Decorah to the Mississippi River? That my friend is no prairie/crop land...Never was, never will be...

    Carry on & let's get back to the best Midwest Oktoberfest's, my vote goes to Schell's
    #6 barrybeerdog, Aug 12, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    dj420, nogophers and MNBeerGeek like this.
  7. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    You are describing the Great Plains, not the Midwest. Besides, your definition from a geography persepctive would also need to include parts of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

    That's my vote from last year. Maybe I'll try a few others this year as well.
  8. MNBeerGeek

    MNBeerGeek Zealot (557) Jun 25, 2013 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I think what this forum has always been missing is arguments about geography.
  9. Victory_Sabre1973

    Victory_Sabre1973 Meyvn (1,059) Sep 15, 2015 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I'm surprised about Beaver Island. They do some great beers - Sweet Miss, Hazy Daisy, but others aren't that good in my opinion - Ripple, Union Suit. I'll have to give it a try and see.
  10. DriftlessFarmer

    DriftlessFarmer Initiate (138) Dec 15, 2016 Iowa

    Give me Canada or give me death
  11. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,966) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    Here I was going to make a post stating the using the term midwest on the BA forums it would be defined by the categories set by the BA forums. Glad I did not make that mistake:slight_smile:.

    Schell's O-fest was never a favorite of mine. Just a bit too sweet. Summit's is too big. I love Surlyfest but it is a hoppy rye lager and not an O-fest. Some others that I have enjoyed but some are festbiers and not Oktoberfests:
    Millstream Oktoberfest
    Fair State Festbier
    Bauhaus Schwantoberfest
    Boulevard Bob's '47
    Enki Fest
    Waconia's Oktoberfest
    Fargo O'fest

    And does everyone remember the brilliance of Summit's Fest Bier? But again it is not an Oktoberfest.
    LittleGus likes this.
  12. Hookstrat

    Hookstrat Aspirant (205) Jan 15, 2006 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    How are you defining these styles? It seems like you are trying to differentiate Märzen from lighter "festbier"? If that's what you are getting at, I think better just to call the darker ones Märzen, because both styles are served at Oktoberfest. And "festbiers" are categorized as Märzen/Oktoberfest on this website.
  13. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,966) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    I am trying to differentiate the lighter beers from the Marzen because if I didn't there would be countless posts pointing out that that beer is not actually an Marzen/Oktoberfest.
  14. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (578) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    I prefer Fest Bier, to traditional OFest.
    LittleGus, garymuchow and dragonaut like this.
  15. Hookstrat

    Hookstrat Aspirant (205) Jan 15, 2006 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Gotcha. I just think Oktoberfest is not such a circumscribed style and it's confusing to say "festbiers are not Oktoberfest beers". Either call them all Oktoberfests, call the darker ones Marzen, or come up with another name for the lighter ones.
  16. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    The names Oktoberfest, Marzën, and Festbier are not clearly delineated from each other, especially as used by American craft brewers.

    The following is from my reading on the topic; I don't represent myself as any expert; just more-or-less repeating what I've read...

    Marzën (March beer) was the original style for the München (Munich) festival, and originally was much darker than what is called Marzën today. 'Round about the late 1800's, Spaten brewed a lighter version for the festival to take advantage of the popularity of lighter beers in Europe. It is known today as "original Marzën", although it is no such thing. This style took over as the style of the festival.

    About a hundred years later, Paulaner decided to lighten the festival beer even further. This became Festbier, and is the only beer now served at the festival, where it is known as Oktoberfestbier (a trademarked name, supplied for the festival by six breweries: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner-Bräu, Hofbräu-München, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr).

    Most (all?) of the German brewers of Oktoberfestbier also still brew a Marzën, especially for export.

    American brewers, of course, call the beer what they want to call it. Color will range from pale to amber.
    dragonaut and Hookstrat like this.
  17. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (70) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    Utepils is coming out with one soon. Should be solid I would think........
    MNAle likes this.
  18. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I hope they can it!
    JMN44 likes this.
  19. dragonaut

    dragonaut Devotee (410) May 29, 2005 Iowa
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I really favor a paler festbier, so I gravitate towards Paualener Weisn, Sierra Nevada's collaborations and am really wanting to try KC Bier Co's Festbier this year based on my positive experiences with their Helles, Pils, Dunkel and Hefe. I'd also love to make it out to Chicago to try Dovetail's. Regionally, Schell's and Millstream's are personal favorites but I'd love to see them take a stab at the paler (and more traditional based on the festival in Munich) festbier style.
  20. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Zealot (595) Jan 12, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    I consider myself a Geo-geek as well and also have my bachelor's degree in Geography, but your definition of the Midwest is just insane. The Midwest region has virtually nothing to do with physical geography, like your definition seems to imply (which is actually quite varied from plains, to loess hills, to mountains, to massive river valleys, to large portions of mainly forest, to limestone caverns). Crop production really has nothing to do with it. What you are describing is a sub-sect of states that derive what is traditionally known as the "Corn Belt" or "Bread Basket" states, which are economic geography terms, not physical geography terms.

    Oh...and Schell's makes my favorite Midwest Oktoberfest. Most of them produced in the Midwest are too sweet, as I like the drier versions.
  21. barrybeerdog

    barrybeerdog Initiate (171) Aug 17, 2012 South Dakota

    "Corn Belt" or "Bread Basket" states, which are economic geography terms

    economic geography terms + "Corn Belt" = GRAIN BELT:stuck_out_tongue:!!!!!!
  22. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Zealot (595) Jan 12, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    ^^^Barry gets it! :slight_smile:
    Metalsnota and DriftlessFarmer like this.
  23. DriftlessFarmer

    DriftlessFarmer Initiate (138) Dec 15, 2016 Iowa

    I can see that the census bureau definitely agrees with you, but I don't think my definition is insane at all. I've traveled those areas extensively and find a lot of geographical and cultural similarities, tied back to the similarity in economics. The census bureau might not call it the Midwest, but they have a relatively similar culture that derives from a shared economy which is dictated by the geography.

    In those partial states, I'm pretty much excluding the mountainous areas (like the Ozarks, for example - much more in common with Appalachia), or the heavily forested places (northern Minnesota and Wisconsin; Southern Illinois/Indiana).

    I realize it's not the academically accepted definition, but I think there's an argument for it.
  24. Metalsnota

    Metalsnota Disciple (357) Feb 6, 2015 Minnesota

    I just had Beaver Island's Oktoberfest for the first time. It's very solid! I would definitely recommend.
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.
  25. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Had a few others now:

    New Glarus Staghorn: Well done. Right there with Beaver Island.

    Central Waters: Muddied, too sweet

    Capitol: Enjoyable. Better than CW...a little sweetish and probably not to style but I like it.

    Also had Paulaner which I always love but won't include as I don't want to start a debate on if Germany fits in the midwest or not. Then again, it might be fun to read the back and forth!
    JMN44 and SipIt like this.
  26. DriftlessFarmer

    DriftlessFarmer Initiate (138) Dec 15, 2016 Iowa

    It's not a cultural stretch. Lotta Germans out here.

    (I'm making fun of myself)
    Bruno415, gudbrande and ZAP like this.
  27. siouxbrew

    siouxbrew Initiate (143) Nov 22, 2007 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Bob's 47
  28. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,966) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    Waconia Brewing releases their Oktoberfest this Saturday.
  29. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Upon further review...Staghorn is boozier and more along the lines of Summit. I'm getting a lot of Vienna malt from Beaver Island. Capital is the closest to a true German amber Ofest. I plan on a blind side by side with Paulaner. Central Waters is terrible.
  30. Victory_Sabre1973

    Victory_Sabre1973 Meyvn (1,059) Sep 15, 2015 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I enjoyed Beaver Island's tonight, and it was good. I picked up several Oktoberfest beers, and will give my full take when done.
  31. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (578) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    Honestly, what is a true German Ofest?
  32. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    An Oktoberfestbier brewed by Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner-Bräu, Hofbräu-München, Paulaner or Hacker-Pschorr! :sunglasses:
    KarlHungus, Benj68 and Hookstrat like this.
  33. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    There are others more qualified to answer this but to me (and I'm talking Amber Ofest, not the wisn lighter style which borders closer to a Pilsner in my opinion).

    -It should have toasted malts from Munich or Vienna malting. Not be boozy or sharp....not have too much of a hop impression (just enough to back the malt)....It should be clean drinking....it should lack apple fruit like notes or any fruitiness....I find the amber German version to have a hard water mineral like component and a little more depth to a richer but slightly less toasty malt (perhaps from decoction?) . Caramel and heavy sweet flavors are a no-no if you are talking true to style.

    Now I think even the ofests not true to style a lot of times are decent enough beers and quite enjoyable. But to answer your question that is what I think. Drink a Hacker-Pschorr or Paulaner and then some American one and you will see the flavor difference. Like I mentioned Capital is the closest I've found to that German flavor.
    Squire123 and KarlHungus like this.
  34. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Thanks for your comments re: Capital and Central Waters. I'll see if I can pick up a 6-pack of the Capital.

    Checking my data base, I've only had 6 different beers of the style. Ayinger is my highest rated (and it is not even one of the "official" Oktoberfestbier brewers), and Summit is the lowest.

    I suppose I could also grab some Central Waters and another 6 pack of Summit for a kind of perverse taste test for who "wins" the bottom! :stuck_out_tongue:
  35. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,520) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    I can drink Summit. It's just a little boozy and rich but not a bad beer. CW this year is not very good in my opinion.
  36. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Zealot (595) Jan 12, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Anyone tried Urban Chestnut's Oktoberfest?
  37. Dizmal

    Dizmal Initiate (132) Oct 28, 2009 Minnesota

    Is Beaver Island distributed in the NW metro yet? I had the Ofest last year at the brewery when they had their Ofest in the back parking lot. I too was impressed with it then but I'm not heading up to St. Cloud anytime soon.
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.
  38. d18daddy

    d18daddy Initiate (112) Mar 3, 2015 Minnesota

    We go as far South as Otswego.
    Victory_Sabre1973 likes this.
  39. spark66

    spark66 Aspirant (234) Jan 30, 2017 Iowa
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Picked up a 4 pack at the Urbandale Hy-Vee last week for $5.99. IMO a great Oktoberfest: Malty, smooth, and all around easy to drink. Plus it came in their sweet lidless cans!
    skunkmark23 and BottleCaps80 like this.
  40. MNAle

    MNAle Champion (856) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Over on the Beer Talk forum, there is a thread about a Spet 23 Oktoberfest tasting.

    I'm considering participating.

    The Märzen / Oktoberfest beers in my database (meaning I have had them & rated them) are Ayinger, Schell's , Hacker-Pschorr, Bell's, Hofbräu , and Summit. (Since Surly does not consider their Festbier to be a Märzen / Oktoberfest, neither do I! -- despite what this site says it is...)

    Anyway, I'm thinking of including Schell's as the only repeat (for reference to prior ratings, more or less), plus another German beer, plus one or at most two MN/Midwest beers.

    I think the German beer will be the Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen, due to availability (even though that is an export beer, not the one they brew for the festival in Munich).

    For the MN/Midwest selection(s), it must be packaged for retail (can or bottle, in south metro liquor stores), not tap or growler/crowler at the brewery only.

    My candidates are (1 or at most 2 of these):
    Fair State Festbier Oktoberfest
    Capital Brewery Oktoberfest
    Utepils Oktoberfest (if available by then & they put it in cans)


    Anyone tried the Third Street Oktoberfest?
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