If you haven’t gathered by now, I am a fairly large sports fan, both literally and figuratively. I sometimes compare the process of beer reviews much like the scouting of athletes. You read and hear rumblings of good players from this town, gather information, and maybe head to a AAU or All Star camp to see what is going on. Most of the time the big guns are on display and they impress everyone and draw all the attention. The good scouters and coaches can both look at those and find the diamonds in the rough. The players everyone might not be seeing, and see real potential in something else.
This process played out for me this week on a random trip to my closest Virginia brewery. As I was scouting out the Gold Medal Winning Herb Beer from this year’s Virginia Craft Brewers Festival, I came across another beer that was just as impressive. And for a strong Marzen fan such as myself, it really was pretty special.
Oktoberfest, St. George Brewing Company (Hampton, VA)
Marzen/Oktoberfest, ABV%: 6.0, IBU: 25
Presentation: Tap pour into plastic cup. Preferred is pint or stein but this is perfectly fine. I still have not found where glass shape has made a significant difference when it comes to Oktoberfests.
Appearance: Deep pumpkin orange to brown with color thinning at edges, clear, slightly off white head, one finger head, dissipated normally.
Aroma: Solid malt and caramel, lager bready. Very clean with little sweetness.
Taste: Straight medium body. Malt flavors shows up quick and upfront, moves to traditional lager yeast/bread in the middle, hops balance malt towards the end leaving it clean.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: Darker lager quality in mouthfeel. Crisp, clean, balance in weight and malt/hop. ABV slightly noticeable, and IBU for balance and mouth reset.
Overall: Easily in the discussion for top Marzen in the state. You might even see this at an upcoming tailgate throwdown with some German beers next to it. (In fact, you will). A lot of the the Marzen prerequisites gets checked off in this brew. We have said before that St. George can put together a great dark beer and this is definitely one that is on that list. This is a seasonal beer so look for it now through early winter. Keep this one on you Virginia Beer short list for this season, especially paired with your favorite German or tailgating food.