Okto - Festival Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
German Altbier/Oktoberfest Ale
Widmer Brothers make a variety of different beer styles, although their hefeweizen seems to be what they are most famous for. And with their Hefeweizen, many people seem to add a slice of orange, which I find interesting, yet odd. Personally, I'd rather not add fruit to my beer. If I want fruity beer, I will just get a flavored lambic, but hey that's just me. Last year, however, Widmer Brothers released Okto, an Oktoberfest ale in the classic German altbier style. Honestly, this was my favorite overall Oktoberfest seasonal beer last year, although there were a couple others I tried that were stiff competition.
Poured, it is actually a bit darker than the picture shows, a dark copper color. The smell is exactly how an Oktoberfest ale should smell, warm, moderately hoppy, caramely, with an almost wheat-like background. Taste-wise, it was exactly how one would expect from the smell: sweet, malty, wheat-y, with some lingering hops. It is perfect for the Fall months and really quite easy-drinking and delicious. I stocked up on this while I could and drank a few six-packs over the course of last winter.
While checking out the Widmer Brothers website, I noticed they have changed the label for this year's Oktoberfest (Okto) release and lowered the ABV from 5.5% to 5.3%, although interestingly, the IBU's have gone from 25 to 28 for the new release. It will be interesting to see how the 2011 version compares to last year's. I hope it can compete with last year's. We shall see!
Drink This: if you want a classic, well-balanced German-style altbier, perfect for Oktoberfest. I just hope the 2011 version is as good as last year's. Goes well with bratwurst and sauerkraut, but don't most beers?
Don't Drink This: if you don't like beer or glasses of deliciousness. But hey, if you like beer and it's the Fall, then definitely see if you can at least try this. When I think Oktoberfest, I think of beers like this. Grab a glass, put on your lederhosen, and enjoy! :)