Friday, November 4, 2011

Coney Island Freaktoberfest

It only makes sense that I'm reviewing a Shmaltz beer with Winton aka since Shmaltz's headquarters are in San Francisco (where he lives), but their beers are contract brewed in Saratoga Springs (30 miles north of me). So Winton and I both can claim hometown pride in Schmaltz (sorta). Anyway, this is their "Freaktoberfest" - a beer that lives up to its name for sure. But is it any GOOD? Watch and find out...

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (563) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 4, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into an Oktoberfest mug.

Appearance: Unnatural blood red color with a pinkish hue - dark but translucent. Forms a soapy, pink head which retains well but doesn’t lace much.

Smell: Extremely malty and sweet with slight sourness, but a prominent lager aroma at the core.

Taste: Given the brewery, the name, and the marketing of this beer it’s no surprise it’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Of course, that’s not to say that originality automatically equals quality. Coney Island Freaktoberfest is made with six hops, six malts, and food coloring is obviously added to give it that blood red color. This is a beer meant to throw you for a loop and it definitely did me.

It begins with a sweet, confectionery, almost artificial flavor (high fructose corn syrup?). It’s reminiscent of a doppelbock, but with much more bitterness throughout. It’s not a citrusy, piney or flowery bitterness - just a general dry bitterness. There’s a slight sour or tartness as well, very much in the style of cranberry juice. It finishes with a classic lager taste, but nothing adjunct-y. The most prominent flavor is a sticky, malty, syrup-like sweetness. It’s akin to that you might find in a German doppelbock, but not nearly as strong and the taste isn’t as refined. That’s a shame because if it had opted more for that traditional taste instead of clouding it with the "freaky" spirit this might have been pretty amazing instead of just plain interesting.

Mouthfeel: Quite full-bodied and thick for a lager. Dry, sticky, slightly bitter aftertaste - but easily tolerable.

Drinkability: The palate to Coney Island Freaktoberfest is indeed unusual, but it’s anything but bland. It’s remarkable how smooth it is - thick and soft, but not tepid (and certainly not fizzy). At 6.66% ABV it seems right on the money - plenty of energy and flavor without feeling obese. The only problem is I’m not sure how, where, and when this beer should be consumed. Too sweet for a meal, but it’s not a liquid dessert, either. Certainly worth trying for the originality of it all, though.
Grade: 7/10

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