A lot of my beer reviews end up being related to beers that are somewhat hard to find. One of my favorite aspects of having started this blog is the thrill of the hunt. I’ll hear that there is some rare or seasonal brew coming out. Typically I’ll check with my normal stores to see if they have it, but if they don’t, it’s time to hunt it down. I’ll call stores and have them put it on hold for me if I have to. Other times it’s just fun to go into new places and see what things they have that I haven’t had. Going to see family in NJ and PA, I like to try to stop into stores and see what they have available. Half the fun is in the chase.
I’m not sure this always makes it practical for all of my readers though. I’ll put up a post, link it to facebook, and typically emphasize the difficulty in finding the brew. Most normal people aren’t going to put in the effort to find it. So, for this review, I tried to stick to something I felt will be a little less difficult to find.
Flying Dog is basically a local brewer to this area. They are out of Fredricksburg, MD, and they brew some really good beers. I typically tend to overlook their products when I’m in the store. I try not to buy things I could get at a local bar, but this was one of those create your own six pack situations, and I had never had their Marzen before.
Marzen is the type of beer we typically call Octoberfest in the states. Although at one time I could count it among my favorite types of beers, I can’t help but feel like my tastes have changed some. The first marzen I ever had was Sam Adams’s Octoberfest. I can still remember finding this beer to be amazing; however, as time has gone on, I don’t look forward to it in quite the same way I used to. Therefore, it was time to look around and see if there were other marzens out there that would help me fall back in love with the beer.
This beer pours out a very rich reddish auburn color. There really isn’t much haze in the beer itself. It has fairly good clarity that makes me think it should have some fairly good clean and crisp aspects. There is a slight white head that develops on the top of the beer. Although, there really isn’t much there. Also, swirling the glass brings back a little head, but not too much of it at all. The swirl also results in a very small amount of lacing. It is also not all that significant, and it really doesn’t stick around very long. Although I feel like I haven’t invested myself into too many marzens, or it’s at least been a while, this is pretty typical of the marzen style.
The smell had a very fall feel to it. There is a very malty bready richness to it. It definitely smells a little sweet with a sort of light caramel and toffee scent. Although this isn’t overwhelming, it has that warming effect. I do pull out something almost like apple as well. I think this could add to the fall effect. Apples always remind me of fall. We always went apple picking in the fall back in the day. There are definitely a few light hop scents here as well.
The onset of the taste is very clean and malty. It has a very rich quality without feeling thick. In the middle I pull out that apple taste. I think it is almost an apple cinnamon taste, but it may be that caramel quality combining with the rest of the flavors. Following the apple flavor, there is the definite slight hint of the caramel flavor. I think the caramel aspect is what brings that richer quality to it as well. The finish comes quickly through a quick bite of hops . The hops provide a slight piney floral quality to the end that mix well with the rest of the beer. The hops do extend into the aftertaste, but aren’t significant enough to have someone thinking that they went overboard. It just adds to the complexity of the flavor.
The mouthfeel is very well-balanced here. The carbonation works nicely. It definitely is an adequate amount. It seems almost intense at the start; however, it begins to mellow as the taste develops. So it lingers throughout the whole thing, but doesn’t feel overwhelming. The hops do linger slightly, which makes it finish slightly like an ipa, but it doesn’t create a bad aftertaste for those who don’t like ipas.
Ultimately, this is a very good marzen. Having had a few octoberfest brews that are more in keeping with tradition, it isn’t the best, but it is good. As I said, I was hoping to review something that others could find a little more easily. Therefore, if you haven’t tried a lot of different types of brews before, take a look at a current seasonal. Dogtoberfest is a good example of a good marzen to start with.
Teacher Grade: B+