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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Still life with Oktoberfest, pretzels, & radishes

Still life with Oktoberfest, pretzels, & radishes

So that you won't have to, Virginia, USA-based beer blogger Alistair Reece (at Fuggled) blind taste-tested 18 Oktoberfest beers this year, imported and USA-domestic. He began here; winnowed things down in round two, here; and concluded here.

Spoiler alert:
Do not look at the photo above (or read below) for his choice as winner.

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Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

For the past few summer/autumns, California, USA-headquartered Sierra Nevada Brewing has collaborated with a different German brewery each year to brew an Oktoberfest lager. This fascinating exercise has organoleptically demonstrated the brewing creativity possible using only barley malt, hops, water, and yeast, within a strict set of parameters. No extraneous froufrou needed or used.

This year, its partner is Bitburger Brauerei, of Bitburg, Germany.

We teamed up with Germany’s Bitburger Brewery for a festbier [with] a rich amber color and smooth malty flavor. We brewed Oktoberfest with Bitburger’s custom yeast and secret hop blend called Siegelhopfen, meaning 'Sealed Hops'—two house ingredients never shared outside their walls until now.

Specifications:
  • Malts: Pilsner, Munich, caramelized malts.
  • Hops: Bitburger Siegelhopfen, German Magnum, Loral.
  • Yeast: Lager
  • Alcohol: 6% (by volume)
  • IBUS (international bittering units): 20

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And the winner is

In case you hadn't guessed it yet, Fuggled's 2019 choice for Oktoberfest (and I concur) is...

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2019, brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing, at its Mills River, North Carolina plant.

Mr. Reece wrote:
  • Sight - deep orange, tight ivory head, excellent retention
  • Smell - toasted cereal, light cinnamon, bready malt
  • Taste - brown sugar, juicy sweet malt, citrus hops, subtle lemon and lime, clean finish
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 2.5/5
If you are having a session and want a beer that doesn't just fade into the background, go for the Sierra Nevada.

I say:
Orange-red appearance, Sierra Nevada/Bitburger Oktoberfest pours from the bottle with a scant head but lasting carbonation. There's an aroma of toasted cracker...and, in distant second and third: plums and spent matches. In flavor, add brown sugar and hints of lemon peel and mowed grass (the "secret" hop blend?). The finish is Goldilocksean: not too sweet, not too bitter, not too short, not too long. American Oktoberfests sometimes have a fruity/marshmallow character and/or a burned malt flavor. Not this.

I enjoyed (that is, drank) my bottle, purchased in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on 25 September 2019. It's this week's Pic(k) of the Week.

-----more-----
  • Sierra Nevada's 2018 Oktoberfest, with Weihenstephan: here. In 2017, with Brauhaus Miltenberger: here.
  • The official Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Bavaria, Germany began this year on 21 September and continues through 5 October 2019.
  • Einstein and Oktoberfest? Yes. More at YFGF.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of images posted on Saturdays, and occasionally with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • Photo 39 of 52, for year 2019. See it on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 II.
    • Lens: Lumix G 20/F1.7 II.
    • Settings: 20 mm | 1/4 | ISO 200 | f/16
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

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