Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Oktoberfest beer style is boring; So prove to me it's not!

The summer seasonals are currently taking their final bow for the year as they will soon be replaced by a tsunami of Oktoberfest & pumpkin beers, along with other fall seasonals. To some of my longer term readers, you may have noticed that during the fall months, you don't see too many Oktoberfest beers being reviewed, if any at all. Well there's a reason for that and I know some of you are going to hate me for this but frankly, I think this just needs to be said:

The Oktoberfest is one of the most boring, bland and uninspired beer styles out there and I think many of us are afraid to admit it.

Now before you get those pitchforks and torches ready, let me explain. Speaking in my capacity as a beer writer, my big gripe with the style is that I think that they all taste the same. I feel like regardless of where the beer comes from, there is virtually little to nothing that makes them stand out from one another.

I have honestly yet to see an Oktoberfest beer that people will actively go out of their way for, just to try it out. As boring and as uninspired as the style is, part of that fault lies with brewers. I get it, you want to honor what is a classic German style and draw in a larger crowd, but where is that innovation and creativity that I see in styles like IPAs, Imperial Stouts, Saisons, and even Pilsners? Actually, a better question would be: Is the Oktoberfest style even capable of being amazing? Is the style so restrictive to the point that putting even a slight twist on it will totally ruin the style?

As someone who has taken graduate-level economics courses along with keeping close marks on the brewing industry, I know that Oktoberfest beers are huge sellers for the likes of breweries like Sam Adams, Leinenkugel's and Goose Island; Which explains why numerous craft breweries always seem to have Oktoberfest beers at the ready and that's understandable. However, if you're going to release an Oktoberfest beer, make it stand out from the others. Hell, making your beer stand out from the rest is one of the main foundations of craft beer. Without it, we wouldn't have the likes of Heady Topper, Surly Darkness, Pliny The Elder, & Three Floyds' Zombie Dust.

I understand that the casual beer drinker will drink up any Oktoberfest beer out there, and that is their right to do so....but that doesn't mean we have to keep it plain and simple. The craft beer drinking community deserves so much more than just an army of what I consider to be an indistinguishable array of one type of beer style every year. We've come too far along to settle for something like that.

The Challenge

So I'm going to throw down a challenge to all my readers who don't agree with me regarding my views on Oktoberfest beers: Prove it. Prove to me that there is an Oktoberfest-style beer out there that will knock my socks off. Send me an email or a tweet and let me know which Oktoberfest beer I should have. In fact, send me a beer mail in the event that a supposedly amazing Oktoberfest beer isn't available in my area. I want to be able to prove to people that there is an Oktoberfest beer out there that can floor any seasoned craft beer drinker.

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