to hear something ironic? I haven’t reviewed an Ellicottville beer in
three years, so I thought they were due. When I was at the beer store I
saw Ellicottville Fall Festival Lager and picked it up since it
describes itself as a copper lager rather than a Marzen per se. Sure
enough, it turns out that this is indeed their Marzen brew – which was the last beer of theirs that I had reviewed – simply under a new name.
Not much has changed about it in three years, though I will say I enjoy
it just a little better now.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.60 ($0.22 per ounce).
Appearance: Hazy shade of pale copper/orange. Consistent bubbles and fairly large froth which retains and laces very well.
Smell: Fairly sweet malt scent along with significant floral component. Does seem to have that classic lager aroma, though.
Taste: I recently held a blind taste test of 12 German and American Oktoberfest/Marzen brews, but this was not included in the group.
Tasting it now, I’m sorry I overlooked it since this is definitely one
of the stronger and better-tasting American beers of the style. I notice
a touch of biscuity malt, a hint of nuttiness, but plenty of amber malt
sweetness (though it’s not nearly as robust as Samuel Adams
Octoberfest). What’s really interesting about it is the fact the hops
are so prominent. Floral aroma carries through to the palette with
significant (but tame) bitterness with a dry finish. Maybe not the
greatest example of the style ever made, but definitely a memorable one.
Drinkability: I have to say it was pretty fun drinking a mug of
Ellicottville Fall Festival Lager. The mouthfeel is perfectly medium
bodied with consistent carbonation and a crisp finish. There is a
lingering dry sensation on the tongue after each swig, but it’s easily
tolerable. It doesn’t quite seem to make full use of its 5.6% ABV, but
there’s plenty of flavor and body for the potency.