Procrastination will kill me. I write this review on Halloween.
For once, Jim Koch and his cronies have produced a beer that
approximates what its name leads one to expect. It's been several
years since I've had a beer in the genuine Oktoberfest style, but
unless alcohol and age have made my memory as flabby as my belly,
Samuel Adams October Fest is more or less in the right style, and
a good drink.
What's wanted is a strong beer with a definite taste of alcohol,
malty, and not too heavy on the bittering hops -- or so I recall.
October Fest -- and for once, what commendable modesty Koch and
crew show by anglicizing the name -- gets these right. There's enough
malt to make one's lips a bit sticky, a balancing bitterness that seems
to derive as much from a measure of dark-roasted malt as from hops, and
alcohol that's clearly present but not overwhelming. The hops provide
flavor and aroma more than bitterness, arguably a bit much for the style,
but these aren't immoderate. The rich brown-ale color is appealing and
more or less authentic. I taste a hint of sourness -- not as much as
in Guinness -- but that doesn't bother me.
I couldn't spot any obvious lies on the label. Perhaps the
litigious Mr. Koch imagines that other people think the way he does
and fears lawsuits, or perhaps he's just grown tired of telling whoppers.
This is a beer worth buying if despite my dilatory habits it's still
on the shelves when you read this review.