Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Octoberfests, pt. 5 – a teutonic head-to-head

I've been keeping these bottles in my fridge for more than a week now as I've tried to lighten up on the drinking. Anyway, it was finally time for the head-to-head—call it mourning for the baseball season.

1. Spaten Oktoberfest Märzen lager
With apologies to all the great American Octoberfests, none of them quite hold a candle to the real thing. The body of the Spaten is near-perfect—light, but with just enough heft to make you long for crisp days and almost-frosty nights. Then comes the taste, with complex layers upon layers. There is none of the overwhelming maltiness of some of the American brews. Instead, the malts bring out a certain caramel flavor that begins to hint of nutmeg and cinnamon on later sips. The hops don't jump out, but there are just enough floral notes on the nose to remind you that the hops are an essential building block of this beer.

2. Aktien Oktoberfest
This one comes in a bigger bottle--happy, happy! Overall, the beer's character is very similar to the Spaten--its body and malt. The nose is more balanced, however, and the flavor is more even. It's up to you whether this is a positive. Damn fine beer, I say.