News Flask! News On Booze:
Eins, zwei, drei, get ready for Oktoberfest!
The 16-day German holiday is kicked off by the very appropriate tapping of a keg at the end of September and is followed by a few weeks of drinking, dancing, and celebrating Bavarian culture. All around the world, beer makers are brewing up delicious Bavarian Märzen beer to commemorate the holiday, but in the U.S., Oktoberfest runs right into the Halloween season, which we all know means pumpkin spice everything. Everything. I’m not kidding; pumpkin spice dog treats are a real thing that exists. While I’m not one to stock up on pumpkin spice organic kale chips (again, a completely real thing), I do have a soft spot for the season’s best beers.
To kick off this year’s Oktoberfest and fall celebrations, we looked back at our 2017 Fintech InfoSource™ data to find the most popular Oktoberfest or fall-flavored ales that were processed through our electronic payment system last year. And, since we’re big-time beer lovers here at Fintech, we held an official taste test to choose our favorites from eight of the top processed brews from last year, as well as two local beers we love for this season. Prost!
**As a note, apparently some people don’t consider it fall when it’s still 97° outside, so some beers haven’t made it this far south yet. Honorable mentions go out to Spaten Oktoberfest, Jack O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy, and Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest! (We’ll try them in October when the rest of our state catches up to our enthusiasm).
Sam Adams Oktoberfest
Brewed by: Boston Beer Company, MA
Our thoughts: It’s no wonder why this was our most-processed fall beer for last year! Sam Adams hit the nail on the head with this Märzen. It’s a rich amber color, incredibly smooth and made us want to turn on college football. Break out the Uggs, it’s fall y’all!
Leinenkugels Seasonal – This one’s a two-for! We tested out both the Leinenkugels Oktoberfest AND the Harvest Patch Shandy!
Brewed by: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co, WI
ABV: 4.20% (Shandy), 5.1% Oktoberfest
Our thoughts: While Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is still their crown jewel, the Harvest Patch Shandy is a delicious alternative during the cooler months! While it smells like the biggest piece of pumpkin pie, it doesn’t taste too pumpkin-y (if that’s a real thing). The Oktoberfest is good and has a lot of the same flavor notes as the Sam Adams, but isn’t quite as robust. We’d be happy with either option while picking out our perfect carving pumpkin!
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat
Brewed by: Coors Brewing Company, CO
Our thoughts: Bright, warming, and delicious! Harvest Pumpkin Wheat has all the same wonderful wheat-forward flavors as Blue Moon’s signature wheat ale, but has subtle hints of pumpkin and spice. It smells like autumn in a cup and has us dreaming of trick or treating!
Brewed by: Shipyard Brewing Company, ME
Our thoughts: This ale looks and smells similar to a typical light beer, but has a flavor that stands out. It’s not too pumpkin forward, but still packs a punch with the cinnamon and spice flavors. This would be the perfect beer to drink during your annual Halloween party!
Brewed by: Southern Tier Brewing Company
Our thoughts: Carmel malts dominate this true pumpkin ale! It’s definitely full-bodied, and has a specific pumpkin aftertaste. The smell is nice, like pie, but it’s not too sweet. Drink this as a night cap on your perfect fall meal!
Brewed by: Paulaner Brauerei, Germany
Our thoughts: This beer was fizzy! The carbonation is a lot more powerful with Paulaner, but since it’s the only real German beer on our list, maybe it’s supposed to be that way. (At this point I think it’s safe to admit we’re clearly more beer novices than experts.) It’s malty like all the other Oktoberfests, following the same caramel, toasty path, but this differs a bit in the sense that it also has a somewhat earthy aftertaste. Overall, it’s bright and delicious!
Brewed by: Yuengling Brewing, PA
Our thoughts: Yuengling, one of the world’s oldest breweries, knocks another one out of the park with their take on a traditional Bavarian Märzen! This beer is a gorgeous amber, honey color, and smells similar to a traditional Yeungling Lager. The malty aftertaste is the perfect complement to this fall classic!
Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider
Brewed by: California Cider Company, CA
Our thoughts: If you’re a cider fan, this is definitely the fall beverage for you! Not too sweet, not too dry, and perfectly balanced. We loved the cross between pumpkin and apple flavors, and enjoyed the carbonation level. Throw on a scarf, kick back your camping chair, and enjoy this bright beverage beside a campfire!
Cigar City Oktoberfest
Brewed by: Cigar City Tampa, FL
Our thoughts: WE LOVED THIS BEER. Okay, maybe we’re being homers, but Cigar City’s Oktoberfest definitely ranked near the top of our list. Malty, caramely, and smooth. There’s not a real strong aftertaste, which is nice considering how complex the flavors are with each sip. We can almost hear the leaves (palm fronds) crunching under our boots!
Gourd’s Gone Wild
Brewed by: Tampa Bay Brewing Company Tampa, FL
Our thoughts: What’s that? You asked for Thanksgiving dessert in a can? Well look no further! Gourd’s Gone Wild is an amazing combination of pumpkin and yams, and is a darkly delicious amber color. We loved the spicy, sweet balance this beer brought to the bar, and really enjoyed the caramel aftertaste. This year, throw some whipped cream on top and drink your dessert!
So there you have our favorite fall brews! With so many delicious options available, from big names to home-brews, it’s no wonder that the most processed beers in fall 2017 were Oktoberfests, Pumpkin Ales, and seasonal beers alone! What’ your favorite fall beer?