Monday, September 14, 2009

Oktoberfest weekend

This weekend was a busy weekend. There were a few events going on, and I decided to skip the big one at Widmer Brothers, and instead make an effort to try as many Oktoberfest style beers as I could. Interesting the differences, and similarities.
So, a quick run down. We had the Oktoberfest at New Old Lompoc's Hedge House, one at Fanno Creek Brewpub, Deschute's offering at their Pearl pub, and Bayern's at Higgins.
First up was Lompoc. Their Oktoberfest was 5%, and was described as a pale lager. The pale lager had a vivid, red hue. It was poured with little head. It smelt malty and sweet. The taste was very light, mild hops to add a bit of a floral flavor to it, and was sweet from the malts. It was clean, crisp, and a nice way to start the day.
The one thing I noted, at least for the Oktoberfest beers I tried, one shouldn't look forward to big bold flavors. Those seeking the next 100 IBU beer, or a beer with an ABV of over 8 will be dissapointed. They are traditiionly in the 4-7% range, and lean more to the malty side, than hoppy.
Moving on, (I also had a Belgian style at each place, that I will write about in a separate post) our next stop the Fanno Creek Brewpub in Tigard. They were having an Oktoberfest of their own that didn't quite pack 'em in like Widmer does. But that's ok, they had a great accordion player that, in addition to German classics, added in the theme from Indiana Jones, and even the music from Chalmun's Cantina (any Star Wars nerds out there?). Their Oktoberfest beer was higher than most others, at 6.3%. It poured with a nice head, and was golden in color. It had a citrus nose, with a little funk. This is when I would like to say, again, I wish a brewery would provide tasting notes for their beers. This beer had none, as I find strange since the Oktoberfest beer at their Oktoberfest is kind of important. That being said, it was balanced, approaching boring. I have had a lot of Fanno Creek brews that I really liked, but this one I didn't. It was ok, but dull.
The next day, we started out at Deschute's in the Pearl. I love Deschute's brews, but do not really like the Pearl outpost. The staff is very nice, the food is good, but I hate the room. Except for the bar area, the place feels like a Golden Corral. I feel like I should be walking up to the buffet grabbing some salad, jello, french fries, and crab legs. I don't even know if I can put my finger on it, but that's how it makes me feel. Their Portland brewed, 5.3% Oktoberfest was served in a honest pint, and pretty good. It was a light amber color, and the nose had notes of grain, and some tropical fruit. It tasted fine, and was balanced, but really tasted like an amber. It was made with German Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts, but I could not detect much of a malty taste.
Lastly was Bayern's at Higgins. Much different than the others. Very dark, and malty. It is 6% ABV, and brewed with hops from Bavaria, and Czech Republic. It was an interesting beer, and better than some of the other Bayern beers I have had.
Overall, it was interesting compare all of these. None of them for me really stood out, but all were worth a try. What I am excited about is to write about the Belgian style ales I tried. Some were amazing, and one was horrible.

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