3.1AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
I think I dislike bland beers even more than bad-tasting ones. Why? Because they make my job as a critic very difficult. How can I comment on something so neutral? Left Hand Oktoberfest is one of the most average beers I’ve ever drank. I wouldn’t call it bad but I honestly can’t call it good, either. So now I’ve got to find a way to describe a beer that defies most adjectives.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Oktoberfestbiers tend to be very thin in body so it’s actually difficult to achieve a thick head on the pour. This was true of Left Hand, which I intentionally poured rough to generate an average-sized off-white, foamy head which dissipated quickly and left little to no lacing on the glass.
The beer has a classic Oktoberfest look of a dark copper shade with a bit of noticeable orange. The complexion was crystal clear and there was very little carbonation evident.
Trying to comment on the aroma of this beer is difficult since there was barely a scent noticeable. I could detect a faint trace of sweet malts, but otherwise it was virtually odorless.
Much like the aroma, the taste to Left Hand Oktoberfest is almost non-existent. It has an extremely bland flavor of a generic malt mixture with no distinct ingredients noticeable. It’s only partially sweet, and it does have a mild hop bite, but otherwise this beer doesn’t exactly dance on your palate.
If anything the beer might actually be slightly more dry than anything else, but again, just barely so. As someone who drinks beer for their taste I’m not at all impressed by this brew, but perhaps Joe and Jane Six Pack would like it because it’s not bad-tasting.
If a beer is this bland, chances are it’ll at least finish smoothly and that is exactly how Left Hand Oktoberfest goes down. This drinks almost like a light beer, but because it’s a specialty brew and so lightly carbonated, it doesn’t even tingle at all.
I’ve never understood why some Oktoberfestbiers have such heavy bodies. This type of beer was specifically intended to be drunk while eating large amounts of food, so a light body is necessary. Left Hand Oktoberfest is surprisingly weighty at 6% ABV and probably close to 200 calories (information not available on the brewer’s web site). If the beer was full of flavor this would be understandable, but there isn’t much reason for such a bland beer to be so potent and so seemingly full-bodied.
This is very likely the last Oktoberfestbier I’ll drink this season and it’s too bad the style is going out on a sour note. There isn’t anything heinous to Left Hand Oktoberfest, but it certainly doesn’t have much of anything as far as compliments are concerned.