Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top 5 Oktoberfest Beers (2012)

I've had the chance to enjoy several Marzen/Oktoberfest beers this season, and like last year, I've decided to give you my top 5. I'm really interested to hear what you think, since invariably, there are Oktoberfest beers I haven't had a chance to try, so this list is necessarily lacking. That said, let's begin.

5: Victory Festbier (Victory Brewing Company, 5.6) - I was disappointed by this.  It's got a spicy smell and taste, but the spices seem off and out of place.  It's also overly bitter and possibly too heavily hopped.  The spices taste old and linger for much too long.  If you're looking for something exceptional, pass on this.

4: Stoudts Oktober Fest (Stoudts Brewing Co., 5.0) - This was a pretty average Oktoberfest beer.  There's just a kiss of hops to it, and it's crisp with a good mouthfeel, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

3: Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen (Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG, 5.8) - The first Oktoberfest of the season for me, Ayinger brought a nice solid selection, as they do regularly.  There are spices that make it smell warm, and other than being a little thin up front, there's not much terribly wrong with it.  I have it rated as average, but it's a solid selection for Oktoberfest, and you really won't go wrong with it.

2: Narragansett Fest (Narragansett Brewing Co., 5.5 abv) - Who'd have thought something so good could come from a can?  It's a mellow beer with a subtle sweetness that lingers long after the last sip, mixed with some bitterness.  It's got plenty of body and a creamy texture.  It's a good find if you can get your hands on it.

1: Samuel Adams Octoberfest (Boston Beer Company, 5.3 abv) - Say what you will about Sam Adams, but they deliver. Every year their Oktoberfest offering (they spell it with a "c") is good, but this year it's amazing.  It's very smooth and mellow, with perfect carbonation that allows it to coat your mouth with deliciousness without any bite.  The flavor is slightly bitter but it mellows out by the end.  It's an excellent beer.

I know you must have tried some--good or bad, share with us all below, and find us on Facebook and venture to Beer Advocate to learn more about your favorite brews.


  1. I have never had 3-5. Narragansett is a great beer. But I disagree with Sam Adams as #1. It is over rated and just marketing.

  2. I knew that type of response was coming. I agree that Sam has saturated the market with advertising, and they make 100 specialty beers for every conceivable occasion, and that they are hyped way up, but their Octoberfest is just really good. I can't deny it its proper place simply because I think the company is too commercial and generally overrated. I didn't buy the hype, it's number 1 because it's the best Oktoberfest beer I've had this year.

  3. Späten Oktoberfest is my pick

  4. Good choice, Dennis. Haven't had it this year, but in years past it's always been very solid. It's a classic German example of the Marzen style.