3.5AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
I’ve been sampling a lot of Oktoberfest beers lately and most of them have been average at best. Although I’ve tried a few I’ve genuinely enjoyed, I’m still looking for that 5-star brew. Hacker-Pschorr is not that beer, but it’s still superior to most of the style.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
I had a feeling Hacker-Pschorr was going to be a good beer before I even took a taste. It poured very smoothly to a dark amber/rust-colored clear complexion. Most American “Octoberfest” beers pour to a gimmicky shade of orange, but the genuine German brews take on a more rugged appearance.
The beer didn’t produce much of a head, only a small, off-white soapy one that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. Although there seemed to be a lot of carbonation action upon the initial pour, it became tepid fairly quickly.
The aroma at least compensated for an underwhelming pour. It was malty but subtle in its scent; it certainly was not sweet and gimmicky.
The problem with wannabe “Octoberfest” beers is they have a tendency to saturate their palates with nothing but malts, and in essence turn their beers into dry-tasting porters. The authentic German beers have a taste that is similar, but at the same time totally different.
Much like Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr has a vivid taste composed mostly of nuts, malts, caramel and a hint of toffee. The taste is quite sweet but isn’t dry at all. It’s an extremely well-balanced flavor so that no one ingredient stands out. In fact, it’s actually quite mild compared to Paulaner and I think would be easily drinkable and enjoyed by any Joe Six Pack.
Usually the sweeter the beer the drier the finish, but Hacker-Pschorr is extremely smooth, probably because its sweetness is secondary to its true marzen-style taste. It’s not a highly-carbonated beer, either. Its easy finish compliments its complex-but-mild taste perfectly.
I was quite surprised how easy it was to drink two bottles of Hacker-Pschorr back-to-back, especially considering I had just eaten a big meal and that it is highly potent at 5.8% ABV. I wasn’t able to find out its calorie count, but I’d wager it’s less than 200. Still, for a beer of this type to be this smooth, this potent, and not to be over-filling is surprising and commendable.
As of this writing I have tried three of the six official Munich Oktoberfest beers and I think I liked Hacker-Pschorr the best due to its well-balanced, mild taste and its ease of drinkability. I think this would appeal to any American beer drinker no matter their level of expertise or appreciation for craft, seasonal or imported brews.