Big Rock Gerstenmeister Marzen

big-rock-family-jewels_baseBrewer: Big Rock, Calgary AB
Style: Marzen
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Consistent with the popular Oktoberfest-style of German Lager, the Gerstenmeister combines (what I believe are) Munich malts with a mild hopping, which is then aged for six months of cool confinement to effect a rich, malty, and mildy hoppy flavor.

Tasting Notes: As Marzen’s go, this beer was a little light for my taste. Still, it had all the right things going for it – a rich malt, base, smooth character, a light tang, and some sweet notes that reminded me of shortbread and toffee. And despite generally being on the lighter side, I have found Big Rock’s wares always comes through where it counts. This beer is the first sampling from my most recent procurement from the local beer stores post-holiday surpluses. It’s known as the Family Jewels Pack, and stay tuned, because there are a few more to come!

Appearance: Orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, biscuits, toffee, mild floral hops, minerals
Taste: Sweet malt, mild tang, shortbread, toffee, mild dry hops, minerals
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, minerals and mild tang
Overall: 7.8/10

Advertisements

P49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

P49_schadenfreudeBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style:  Pumpkin/Marzen Lager
Alc/Vol: 5%

Description: Parallel 49’s seasonal beer, this Pumpkin Oktoberfest melds together a Pumpkin-style beer with an Marzen lager that is spiced with a combination of allspice and vanilla. Much like the name, it is a mashup, but one that brings together the best of two seasonal worlds to achieve a balance of flavor.

Tasting Notes: This beer came highly recommended, and from a fellow beer snob, no less (hi Mike!). And this year, I was lucky enough to find myself some before it went out of stock. As pumpkin ales go, this one was both interesting and quite appealing. As per usual, the P49 folks have committed to a hybrid that marries two separate but not unrelated styles. In addition to the rich, viscous malts of a Marzen, it employs the spice palette and infusion of flavor that comes from being a Pumpkin, and manages to finishes very clean and refreshing. I was especially impressed with this; whereas many pumpkin ales seem to land too heavy or too light (in my experience), this one lands right where it needs to!

Appearance: Golden orange, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, pumpkin flesh, hint of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, notes of vanilla, allspice, pumpkin pie
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, pumpkin and spice notes, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

Russel Marzen Oktobefest Lager

russel_marzenBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey BC
Style: Marzen Lager
Alc/Vol: 5.5%

Description: Brewed in honor of Oktoberfest, this seasonal Fall release from Russel is fashioned using traditional German malts and Noble hops. The end result is a beer consistent with this darker, maltier variety of lager made especially to toast the Fall harvest.

Tasting Notes: I am a sucker for Marzen and I’ve come to be a fan of what Russel has been doing of late. And I was an instant fan when I drank this one for the first time. In addition to its lovely dark color, rich malt, and subtle noble hop flavor, it has a smooth, refreshing taste that really won me over. Definitely a drinking experience I hope to repeat during the course of this season!

Appearance: Dark amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, syrup, minerality, gentle hop notes
Taste: Rich malt, slight sweetness, nice tang, mild dry, grassy and herbal hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, tang, and mild hop bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Hoyne Helios Golden Lager

hoyne_helios_labelBrewer: Hoyne Brewery
Style: Dortmunder Export Lager
Alc/Vol: 6%

Description: The Helios is the latest limited release by Hoyne Brewing, brewed in the style of a Dortmunder Export, which is a slightly stronger and darker malt-forward take on the traditional lager. According to the brewmaster himself (Sean Hoyne) it is made using Vienna, Munich and other German malts and bittered with a variety of Hallertau hops.

Tasting Notes: I am a big fan of Marzen, Oktoberfest, and other forms of stronger, maltier lagers. And this beer was definitely no slouch when it came to delivering on the quintessential flavors these beers are famous for. In addition to its smooth and slightly tangy start, the malt flavor really comes through in the middle with characteristically grainy and slightly sweet Vienna and Munich accents. It then accompanies this with an infusion of subtle, dry and bitter Noble hops. A clean finish and a beautiful orange hue make it a delight all around. I strongly recommend beer lovers in the Victoria area get a growler of this lager while they can. Limited releases tend to run out after just two weeks at the Hoyne brewery, so be quick about it!

Appearance: Golden-orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Discernible Munich-style malts, grainy, subtle notes of Noble hops
Taste: Grainy start, slight tang, hint of sweetness and syrupy malt, dry, herbal hops
Aftertaste: Mild, lingering hop bitterness, mainly clean finish
Overall: 9.5/10