Friday, September 19, 2008

Beck's Oktoberfest

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 23, 2010
There’s something very ironic about Beck’s Oktoberfest – it’s a beer made in Germany, the home of the Oktoberfest celebration, and yet it’s not technically an Oktoberfest beer. It would be like a whiskey made somewhere in Tennessee by someone other than Jack Daniels that was sold overseas as “Tennessee Whiskey.” It doesn’t make it authentic, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, either.

That’s how Beck’s Oktoberfest drinks – a fairly close take on the original style, but isn’t quite as good as the real deal.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

The nice thing about Oktoberfest beers is their appearance, and Beck’s is one attractive brew. It pours smoothly to a dark amber/reddish-orange color resembling a pumpkin beer. It forms a fairly small, off-white, foamy head which lingers for quite a while before it completely dissipates. There is constant carbonation action throughout the life of the drink.

The aroma is more sweet than spicy as it’s clearly a malt-based beer. In fact, the scent itself is a little dry, which is indicative of the taste.

TASTE

I’m still trying to come around on the Oktoberfest style and since Beck’s is actually a German import I figured it would have a more genuine taste than our American takes on the style. But since Oktoberfest beers are of the marzen style, they tend to be more malty than spicy.

Beck’s flavor is definitely derived from its malts, which has a sweet, caramel-style taste. The problem is the flavor is hindered by an overall dry coating. Whether you drink this brew cold or allow it to warm in order to unlock the flavor, the dry, wine-like taste is noticeable.

This beer is definitely drinkable and certainly has components to it that are interesting, but overall it isn’t very satisfying.

FINISH

I find myself running out of ways to describe beers that have an average finish. How many ways can I say that a beer isn’t exactly silky smooth but isn’t harsh as bargain-basement brews? And how do I convey that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing? For those with experience, Becks’ Oktoberfest isn’t a challenge to drink, but for lightweights the finish might seem a bit too dry and biting.

BODY

I was actually surprised at how quickly and easily I was able to down two bottles of Beck’s Oktoberfest, especially considering I wasn’t crazy about the taste. For such a dark beer it is surprisingly light in weight at only 155 calories. It doesn’t bog you down either at only 5% ABV.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m sure there are plenty of amateur American beer drinkers who will opt for Beck’s Oktoberfest under the impression that it’s authentic and will be surprised by how relatively easy it is to drink for a dark beer. And if those drinkers are out there and really enjoy this beer, then that’s actually a good thing because maybe they’ll move up to something of higher quality. For true connoisseurs, this brew is simply average, but it can still be a nice change of pace. 
Grade: 6/10