Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Seasonals or Fail Seasonals

I am going to write on a point I have been thinking about a lot over the past month or so. It may be something that a lot of other people out there disagree with. Maybe there are more of you out there thinking like me. Whatever, it does not matter in the grand scheme of things.

So, here is my thesis statement: Octoberfest beers are overrated!

It seems like every podunk brewery out there puts out an octoberfest beer and more often than not, they are complete crap. Ok ok, maybe not crap, but they are mediocre at best. I am tired of the same malty, unimaginitive amber marzen style lager that is just like anyone of a hundred other styles out there. I know the marzen style is a style that is easy to drink and in general is not going to be bad. But, man, it certainly doesn't stand out.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good ones out there that I come across, but for the most part I find that if you have had one, you have had them all. I want tasty, unique, interesting beers and I am finding that so many of these marzens are just.... well.... boring! Where is the craft in this craft beer? Maybe these are difficult style to create. I don't know. I am not a home-brewer and can't speak to that. It is just the lack of difference that leaves me wanting something different.

I think that is one reason I was so happy when I saw that Sierra Nevada put out a different type of seasonal this year. They made a nice, flavorful "Autumn Brown Ale" with their Tumbler. I loved it. I drank a lot of it. And I drank that because I just was not interested in having any of the marzens. I don't think it was exceptional or great, but it was solid and different (for a seasonal). It made me happy.

I am hoping that more brewers will start becoming more creative with their seasonals. Why can't a fall seasonal be as wide-ranging as a summer seasonal. There you get lagers, pale ales, hefeweizens (another rant for another time), or even IPA's. Why are so many seasonals in the fall Octoberfests? The germans are great, don't get me wrong, but think outside the box people. The American craft beer movement is known for its innovative and creative takes on beers. This is the one area that I haven't seen that. I want it. I hope that someone maybe someday reads this and does something to shake things up. As innovators, I expect nothing less from you guys. Go for it!


  1. My feeling on why so many create Oktoberfests is because that is what the general drinkers are expecting, and buying. I am not the biggest fan of Oktoberfests (feel the same as you), but I do like to have a couple because A. they are easy to drink B. there are a wide variety of brewers that make them C. sometimes one surprises me with how good it is.

  2. I agree with you on the easy to drink for sure. They are sort of the craft beer version of the macro-appeal beer. There are surprises and I still try a bunch but tend to be disappointed by most. Weihenstephaner Fest Bier (yeah, I have been drinking a LOT of their beers lately) ended up being a nice treat for me. More hops, drier, and extremely satisfying. I would like to try more German Marzens I think. Heck, I have been drinking many more German beers in general lately.