9/22/21: West Side Brewing's Oktoberfest

5:28 PM

Today's the 22nd of September--a Very Big Day. Not only is is Hobbit Day. Not only is it the (fictional) birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. It's also, most importantly to me, the first official day of fall. Finally.

Fall 2021 fell with an nearly-audible thud. Seriously, three days ago it was pushing 90° and now I'm sitting on my front porch in a hoodie and sweats because (get this) it's 55°. But that's a-okay megafine by me. Just makes it all the more appropriate to drink another Oktoberfest-style beer.

Slated for today: West Side's Oktoberfest. How's it drinking?

Let's spend some time digging into West Side for a bit. They're based out of Cincinnati, OH's West Side neighborhood. The idea for the brewery came from a night around a bonfire in 2014. Three years later, that dream became a reality when West Side opened their doors. From their "About" page, you can see they value community partnerships and helping out those who have helped them get to where they are. Equally important is the fact that they're a dog-friendly brewery.

Oktoberfest (here's the link to its description on West Side's website) is a 5.3% ABV lager that's brewed with German hops, malt, and yeast. The beer features toasted bread malt notes, hop spiciness, and a finish that's both smooth and clean.

The Märzen's nose isn't quite what I was expecting. It's malty, sure, but tempered. Like, a darker, earthier caramel aroma than you might anticipate. That touch of hop spice touted in it's description is really shining here. Because, I'm seeing now that that's exactly what it is: A tiny bit of spiciness that really livens up the beer. Purrl doesn't seem to care for this bouquet as much as I do. She gave my can three whiffs.

And that spiciness carries over into the flavor. Oktobefest tastes like a spiced toffee. It's something else and entirely different from any other Märzen I've had. There's a good bit of toast in there, too, with a bitey, mildly-hoppy breadiness kicking around in the finish.

Getting into the mouthfeel, this is a lager. What else can I say? Frothy, crisp, easy-drinking.

This is a killer Oktoberfest-style offering for a cold, rainy day. And I should know; my first (and most memorable) Oktoberfest celebration was on a cold, rainy day. 

I attended the Minster Oktoberfest with Michelle and her family a few years before we got married. The weather was miserable but still shapes my view for what an Oktoberfest celebration should be: chilly, with everyone crowded into tents, laughing, dancing, eating, and drinking. All I had at that Oktoberfest was a pitcher of cheap lager, but I had a blast (that jug hoist was something else). West Side's addition to the canon wouldn't go amiss there.

I'm happy that I held off on breaking into West Side's Oktoberfest until today. Something about cold and rain make fall beers more autumnal. My can's getting a steady 8.5/10 from me. Give it a go if you happen upon some.

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