9/25/22: North High Brewing Co.'s (Norden Hoch) Oktoberfest

11:50 AM

The sun's out and shining. A lone cricket's playing somewhere in the shade of the trees by my house. Sure, today's in the 70s but there's still a certain autumnal quality on the breeze. It's a damn fine day for another Oktoberfest-style lager.

Who am I to turn down such a fantastic experience? I have just the beer stashed in the fridge for a day like this: North High's Oktoberfest. Let's see how its drinking.

I've had plenty of North High before. Yet, somehow, the brewery's managed to escape a proper writeup here on the blog. That ends now. Columbus, OH's North High opened its doors in 2011, making them officially Central Ohio's seventh brewery to begin operations. According to their "Our Story" page, the brewery still makes its home in the city's Short North neighborhood, although most of their offerings are produced at an off-site facility.

Their Oktoberfest (my can features a subname as "Norden Hoch," which isn't featured on the brewery's "Our Beer" page) is a 5.4% ABV (the website lists 5.6%) Märzen that features a Vienna malt base. It promises to be malty, rich, and toasty.

The lager's nose greets me with light biscuit and honey, with slight caramel and toffee rounding out the maltiness before settling into a grounding, mildly bitter hop aroma. There's some wet straw notes lingering around in my can, too. It's a pleasant enough and inoffensive bouquet; not one that breaks new ground for the style, nor one that doesn't know what the style should be. Purrl gave my can six whiffs.

The flavor profile is a fine match for Oktoberfest's nose: A smattering of malty sweetness on the fore, followed by a grounding swell of hops. There's a good bit of plain seltzer water flavor here, just where the malt meets the hops, which lingers into the finish (with the biscuit and honey playing around on my lips and in the back of my palate).

My favorite part of the lager is the mouthfeel. Again, like the bouquet before it, it's nothing exceptional; just good and solid, mildly hefty, and crushable.

The wind's picking up outside. It's great to go stand in the sun, feel the breeze, and watch some of the season's first falling leaves tumble to the ground. It's even better with a beer in-hand. It'd be much more so if it that beer was something tastier than North High's Oktoberfest.

Because, well, North High's Oktoberfest isn't for me. If it were only inoffensive, it'd score a 7.5/10. But that seltzerness mingling with hops as my can warms creates a slightly is an off-putting flavor. Some bad dank funk. As such, this nets a 6.0/10 from me. I know North High can do better--I've had better from them. Maybe 2023 will be when this Oktoberfest is great; 2022 just isn't its year.

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