Thursday, October 9, 2008

Weihenstephaner Festbier (2008 original review)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 30, 2010
Ok, these Oktoberfestbiers have really thrown me for a loop the last few weeks. Some are extremely dark and malty, others are basically the same as generic American lagers – I don’t get it. I don’t think Weihenstephaner Festbier is one of the official six Oktoberfest brews, although considering it’s ease of drinkability I could certainly picture crowds of Germans guzzling this beer while gorging on massive amounts of food.


I was quite surprised to see that Weihenstephaner poured to a very similar complexion of an American mass-market pilsner: bright blonde color with just the slightest cloudiness. It forms a fairly small, bright white, creamy head that never dissipates and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is standard as well: it smells like beer. The scent is fairly mild, compared to much harsher brews I’ve smelt over the years. I didn’t detect any key ingredients but I wasn’t repulsed, either (it was rather inviting, actually).


It’s very difficult to describe the flavor of a generic-tasting beer without comparing it to anything else. The best I can do is say that Weihenstephaner Festbier is very similar to many American mass-market lagers but doesn’t have any chemical tastes such as diethyl or acetaldehyde (side effects of the fermentation process).

In fact, this beer drinks like an American “lite” but with just a slightly sweeter taste, reminiscent of honey. The only problem is you really have to be looking for such distinct ingredients in order to taste them. I’d wager the average Joe Six Pack wouldn’t be able to discern between Budweiser and Weihenstephaner. The taste is very bland and watery, with just the slightest dry aftertaste. It’s definitely drinkable, but it isn’t especially appealing.


What really separates Weihenstephaner from its American counterparts is its surprisingly clean finish. Whether served very cold or even just cool, this beer has virtually no bite whatsoever. I was surprised by how smooth this beer drank after having recently struggled with a similar German “fest beer” (Hofbrau).


For such a light-looking pilsner, Weihenstephaner is surprisingly potent at 5.8% ABV. I drank two bottles after dinner and I felt buzzed, but not bloated. I’m not sure how many calories this beer has, but I’d say it’s medium-bodied at the most. Even though it looks like a “lite” and has a clean finish, it definitely doesn’t drink as such.


My qualms with Weihenstephaner Festbier are really only minor flaws, but the fact remains there isn’t anything great about this beer to merit more than an average rating. I’m not sorry I drank it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to try it again.

Grade: 6/10

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