I don’t usually associate Oktoberfest beers with being sweet, but since
I’m not a huge fan of the style to begin with, it’s nice to find
something that deviates from the style. Sly Fox Oktoberfest definitely
is sweeter than most of the marzen style, but that’s okay because it’s
tasty without being cloying and still an easy beer to drink. I wish more
were like this.
Appearance: Surprisingly bright orange hue, but very cloudy. Micro
carbonation bubbles still visible, though. Forms a large, ivory, foamy
head at first, but is dissipates somewhat quickly and doesn’t leave much
lacing on the glass.
Smell: Sweet maltiness for sure - caramel mostly and a hint of butterscotch. A hint of earthiness, too.
Taste: Prominent caramel sweetness up front, not unlike a lollipop or
some kind of candy flavor. Usually I hate this type of taste in a beer
but it works very well in this instance. There’s a subtle hoppy spice
through the middle, followed with a mild toffee or butterscotch
sweetness on the finish. The dry hoppy bitterness lingers momentarily,
but fades away almost completely clean.
This is what I would consider a favorable palate. Rather complex and
robust for a lager, but nothing gimmicky or over the top. Sweeter than
your average Oktoberfest, which is fine by me, as that makes it quite
versatile. A good beer to pair with food or to drink on its own.
Drinkability: Though the can says "lager" in fairly big letters, I’d
probably think Sly Fox Oktoberfest was an ale were I drinking it blind.
It’s not crisp and clean like your usual brew of the style, but rather
richer, smoother, and bigger in body. Soft, comfortable texture and
refreshing while it’s in the mouth, so it’s hard not to drink this
quickly. I can understand why it’s 5.8% ABV as it has more flavor and
energy than your average lager. Too big to session, but back-to-back
servings are understandable.