Spencer Trappist Festive Lager

It’s been awhile since I had a Marzen, so let’s see how this was.

ABV: 7.5%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Trappist communities observe the counsel of the Rule of St. Benedict, a 6th century guide for monastic life, that stresses the importance of ora et labora or ‘pray and work.’ Monks are encouraged to be self-supportive and offer charitable assistance to others by producing and selling goods to the public. The bell tower rising skyward above the abbey church is one of the defining architectural features of our Spencer Abbey. Simple, solid, striking, beautiful, the tower guides many a wayfarer to their spiritual home. The font used in our Spencer logo is derived from the calligraphy inscribed upon the limestone end panels of the high altar of the abbey church, which was created by Br. David Holly, a monk and artist of Spencer at the time of its foundation in 1950. Our brewery project is one of necessity. For over 60 years, we have cooked and packed jams and jellies at our monastery under the Trappist Preserves label. This business has allowed us to support ourselves, while providing wholesome monastic work and charitable assistance to the poorer communities and persons in need. However, when we look to the future, as our community grows and ages, we see our need for an additional enterprise that supports our community and charities in the years to come. In our community, each monk’s work is assigned after matching up community need and the individual’s interests and abilities. A few years ago, one of our brothers expressed interest in brewing and even did some training at a local craft brewery. Over time, his passion for brewing affected some other monks, who recognized that brewing was a very traditional monastic enterprise. Thus, when the time came to re-chart the economic path for the monastery’s future, the idea of a brewery gained traction. However, before we could come to a decision, we had to develop the brewery idea into a realistic plan. With the blessing of the abbot, we embarked upon a two-year data-gathering mission. We visited each Trappist brewery to learn everything we could from our European brothers. Beginning at the Abbey of Westmalle, we slowly made our way around Belgium, staying at the monasteries and making friends, receiving good advice and drinking some of the world’s best beer. The final stop of our first trip was the Abbey of Sint Sixtus, brewer of the acclaimed Westvleteren ales; by the end of our second trip and more detailed discussions, we were confident that we had put together a realistic plan for a new brewery. Following monastic tradition, the monks voted and confirmed the project by an overwhelming majority – we would build America’s first Trappist brewery. Observing Trappist tradition we have named the brewery, and the beer, Spencer after our beloved town of Spencer, MA.”

Random: My parents always bring me some beer from this brewery when they come back from Massachusetts.

This beer poured with a half a finger of ecru colored head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, dark amber color with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had very little that I could pick up, but was generally sweet and fruity. The taste had slightly more depth with sweet malts and a touch of bready yeast. The alcohol was well-hidden. It had a moderately thick body with just enough carbonation. The finish was quick and sweet. I received this as a gift, so I’m not sure how much it was. I thought this beer was alright, just needed a bit more flavor.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Cigar City Oktoberfest Marzen

I’m still trying to get through my backlog of posts that date back to October, so this was in season when I drank it.

ABV: 5.8%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In Florida the changing of seasons is decidedly more subtle than in most other places. Palm fronds rarely turn brilliant red and orange the way leaves do in the rest of the country, and for Floridians sweaters exist only as rumor. We at Cigar City rely heavily on our seasonal beers to mark the passing of each month and few beers are better at heralding the arrival of autumn than our Oktoberfest Lager. Our Festbier nods firmly toward the style’s history with it’s amber color, bready malt complexity and restrained hop flavor and bitterness. At the heart of this beer is a malt bill of six different German malt varieties, including a generous helping of Munich malt. After adding Hallertauer Mittlefruh hops we ferment the beer with an authentic Bavarian lager yeast, resulting in a clean, dry and complex lager that’s at once intriguing and drinkable. As the temperature drops to the frosty mid-80’s and the snowbirds return to their cool-weather roosts, we can’t think of a better beer than Cigar City Oktoberfest to compliment the onset of autumn. Pour yourself a liter stein and let out a hearty prost!”

Random: This is a special release from the brewery.

This beer poured with a loose, two finger, slightly off white head. It dissipated quickly and left little lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, bright, orange-brown with moderate visible carbonation. The nose had some lightly toasted malts with a touch of caramel and floral hops. The taste was much of the same. It had a brown bread note along with some sweet caramel and toffee malts. The floral hop note was there, but was in the background. The body was light and had a lot of carbonation. It had a quick finish with caramel malt. A can of this was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. This was a decent beer, but nothing mind-blowing. I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

The Duck-Rabbit Marzen

Tonight’s beer is one that I had in October, but never got the chance to post. I’ve had a few outstanding beers from the brewery, so I was curious how this seasonal would be. It looks like on the website that this beer won silver at GABF in 2014. It’s also available on draft and in bottles. Since they don’t distribute to New Jersey, I had to get this beer in Maryland.

ABV: 4.6%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The Duck-Rabbit Märzen is the lightest of our German-style lagers. This is a beer designed for outdoor autumn festivals! Soft malt flavors take center stage here. This one is subtle and beguiling.”

Random: I’ve still not made my way down to North Carolina to visit breweries.

The beer poured with a half a finger of head that dissipated almost instantly. It didn’t leave any lacing on the glass. The body was clear and a dark brown color with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of sweet malts. I specifically picked up caramel and toffee along with some notes of Fall leaves. The taste started with some brown bread and caramel and toffee malts. It had a slight roastiness to it with hazelnuts. The body was overly light to me, bordering on watery. It had moderate carbonation. The finish was quick with caramel malt. A bottle of this was $1.61, which came to $.13 per ounce. This beer was alright, but not one I feel the need to revisit.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Banded Horn Oktoberfest Marzen Bier

While walking Commercial Street, Val and I found a place called 1620 Brewhouse. It had a decent selection of beers and the food was also quite good. They have clam fries, which is something I’ve never heard before, but picture a plate of fries with some New England clam chowder on top of them. I was definitely questioning how good they would be, but after ordering them, I’m a believer. They also had a kale soup that was really good. Since Provincetown used to be a big Portuguese town, almost every restaurant has their take on kale soup. The soup basically consists of kale, spicy sausage, potatoes and broth. It’s my new favorite. Anyways, this was the first beer I had there.

ABV: 5.2%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Classic German-style Märzenbier. Malty notes of toffee, biscuit, caramel + timelessness.”

Random: I visited this brewery with Val years ago and loved it. They had ping pong there.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. It left a small crown as well. The body was clear and bright orange-brown with moderate carbonation. The nose was sweet with some toasted malt. There was toffee present as well. The taste was light and sweet. There was a lot of malt and toffee with some honey as well. Biscuit and grain came through next. There was a touch of pine as well. The body was crisp and medium thickness with generous carbonation. It had a quick finish with toffee and biscuit. This beer went down easily, but just wasn’t my favorite of the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Bell’s Octoberfest Beer

Since Bell’s started getting distribution to New Jersey, I’ve been trying to pick up some of their seasonals that I’ve never gotten a chance to try. This one is one of their fall seasonals that I was interested in trying. I would be curious if Bell’s is considering updating their labels because they are a bit dated, but I guess all that matters is what’s inside.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Crafted as a flavorful session beer and perfect for autumn, Octoberfest spends a full six weeks fermenting. With herbal hop aromas, this balanced amber lager focuses on lightly toasted malt that lends body without too much sweetness. Perfect for a week-long wedding celebration in Germany or the start of the Michigan autumn.”

Random: This beer is not surprisingly a seasonal.

The beer poured with a half a finger of off-white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing behind. The body was clear and light amber in color with a lot of carbonation visible. There wasn’t much to the nose. I picked up some malt, some brown bread and a touch of hop spiciness. The taste was clean with the expected malt sweetness up front. It had some brown bread and went into some grass and spice from the hop. The body was on the medium side with a lot of carbonation. It had a quick finish with sweet malt. A bottle of this was $2.17, which came to $.18 per ounce. This was a good beer, but didn’t blow my socks off. I wouldn’t refuse it if it was handed to me though.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Marzen

One of the things on my bucket list is going to Oktoberfest in Germany. I’ve heard from people that it’s a lot of fun and a must-do for a beer nerd. I’ll get there eventually, until then, this will have to do.

ABV: 5.9%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to wikipedia.com, “Märzen (or alternatively Maerzen) has its origins in Bavaria, probably before the 16th century. A Bavarian brewing ordinance decreed in 1553 that beer may be brewed only between 29 September and 23 April. The Märzen was brewed in March (März in German is ‘March’) with more hops and slightly higher alcohol content that would allow the beer to last while the brewing of new beer was forbidden from 24 April to 28 September. The original Märzen was described as ‘dark brown, full-bodied, and bitter’. The beer was often kept in the cellar until late in the summer, and remaining bottles were served at the Oktoberfest.”

Random: I can’t believe that this was the first time I had this beer.

The beer poured with a thick, two finger, tan head. It took a long time to dissipate and left lacing on the glass. The body was clear and caramel colored. There was a decent amount of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with toasted grain and brown bread. The taste also started with roasted malt and caramel. It then went into a rye note along with brown bread. There was a touch of brown sugar sweetness as well. The body was on the medium side with moderate carbonation. It had a sticky and lengthy finish with caramel. A bottle of this was $1.75, which came to $.15 per ounce. I thought this beer was a good example of the style and paired well with food.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Revolution Oktoberfest

I’m now trying to tackle a giant backlog of posts on a new computer. The keyboard on the new Mac is definitely a different feel to me, so hopefully I get used to it really quickly. It does load webpages so much quicker though, which is absolutely amazing. My first Revolution beer was one I had out in Ohio. I was impressed by their stuff, so I’ve now started seeking them out.

ABV: 5.7%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Classic German-style Oktoberfest Lager that goes down smooth with a pleasant, toasty, malt flavor. The addition of traditional German Magnum and Hersbruker hops provide a crisp balanced bitterness and spicy/earthy aroma to round out this robust beer.”

Random: This beer comes in at 25 IBUs.

This beer poured with a huge, three finger, light tan head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a bright mahogany color with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with a lot of brown bread. It had some apple cider and grass as well, along with light molasses. The taste was a bit more herbal than the nose. It started with some grass and a touch of basil and quickly went into brown bread and molasses. The body was on the thicker side with lots of carbonation. The finish was sticky and lengthy and herbal. A can was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. This beer had some nice flavor and sweetness, but it wasn’t a best in style.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0