9/25/19: Left Hand Brewing Company's Oktoberfest Märzen Lager

3:47 PM

This is an Oktoberfest beer I've been meaning to get to since, oh, about 2016. Back then, my dad sent me a text praising the lager and letting me know that I should try it. For the last two years, I've found it too late for my Oktoberfest season. This year, though, I made sure to seek it out early.


Without further ado, it's time to crack into the can. Here we are: Left Hand's Oktoberfest Märzen Lager.

Left Hand was founded in 1993 by homebrew advocate Dick Doore and his buddy, Eric Wallace. Located in Longmont, CO, the brewery's named for Chief Niwot, who spent winters with his people in the Boulder Valley area. After winning gold at the Great American Beer Festival with their flagship a year after opening, Left Hand's growth has been exponential. They merged with Denver's Tabernash Brewing in 1998, expanded their physical operation numerous times, became employee-owned in 2015, and started canning in 2016. If you'd like to know more than just the brief highlights I hit upon here, head on over to the brewery's "History of Left Hand" page.

Brewed with Munich and Pilsner malt and both Hallertau Mittlefrüh and CTZ hops, Oktoberfest clocks in at a fine 6.6% ABV. The brewery writes that the märzen's fore is all biscuit and malt while the finish features a spicy dryness. All of this information, by the way, comes directly from the lager's official spot on Left Hand's website.

I can really get behind Oktoberfest's bouquet: It's all biscuit on the fore, packaged neatly with caramel and toffee from the malt. There's a crispness to the aroma that is most likely lended to it from the hops. My can is fresh from the fridge, so I assume that the notes here will change and/or become more pronounced as the lager warms a little, but, damn, is this a tempting nose. Purrl, for her part, give it eight hearty whiffs--it's almost like this might be her thing.

I apologize. My camera decided to focus on the can instead of Purrl. These pictures aren't super replicable. 
The sweetness from the malt doesn't really carry over into the lager's flavor (which is good--I think the sweet American Oktoberfest trend is on its way out) (I hope it is, at least). Oktoberfest definitely has a biscuitiness here that's nice and pronounced. The finish is, as promised, dry and spicy, but not overly so of either. The spice, for instance, isn't what you'd expect from a Christmas ale--it's just shadowed in that hue. Overall, I can see why my dad dug this so much.

Mouthfeel is straight lager. Easy drinking, mild carbonation that begets swig after swig. If you've ever consumed a lager (and I'm positive you have if you're on a beer blog) you know exactly what this is part of the beer is like

Two years ago, Michelle and I went to a farm with her sister and her sister's boyfriend. It was in October and in the evening so, of course, it was pitch black out. The farm was open for the Halloween season: There was a place to buy cider, hot sandwiches, and the like. There were pumpkins for sale. You could take a hayride (which we did--that's why I wanted to go!). There was a corn maze that I was psyched for but the group I was with didn't want to attempt it in the dark. There was a giant bouncy thing on which kids and adults alike could jump. Jump we did.

It was good Halloween-time fun. But what sticks with me the most is that hay ride. The tractor trundled along the length of the corn field. The hay upon which we sat had an almost biscuity straw aroma, and that's what recalling as I sit on my porch drinking this märzen.

Left Hand's Oktoberfest is a confident entry into the style. It knows what it is and lives up to it. Drinkable, quenching, and decidedly not sweet. I'm giving my can a 9.5/10. It's one that you absolutely must try.

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