9/26/18: Taft's Brewing Company's Oktubberfest

3:54 PM

I guess you could say that September's gotten away from me. I've had this can of beer chilling in my fridge for the last two-and-a-half weeks. I'd fully meant to drink it the day I stuck it in there. But, then life happened. Between things amping up at work (for both me and Michelle) and taking necessary time to address the house and relax from our ultra-hectic lives, this month's been a season-changing blur.

But that's fine. I'm here now with my beer. It's in a koozie placed on my table. The day is nice and cool. What a time to enjoy an Oktoberfest beer! Today's lager comes from Taft's Brewing Company in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood: Oktubberfest.

What can I say about Taft's? Not as much as that link, that's for sure. But I'll give it my best shot. The brewery's located in the aforementioned Over-the-Rhine. The meat of the operations used to take place in Taft's Ale House, an awesome old converted church. However, the demand for Taft's beer soon overcame the supply, so the company moved into the old Cincinnati Car Company factory. It's here their beer is now crafted and shipped out into its distribution realm.

There isn't much official word on Oktubberfest, but let's don our sleuth hats and see what we can find. Taft's "On Tap at the Ale House" page states that the festbier rings in at 5.7% ABV (and 30 IBUs, if you're into that). My can lists the same ABV and boasts that the beer inside is brewed with German malt (and possibly hops, depending on how you read it). Those're the conclusive clues I've discovered.

The beers has a sweet nose, but not an overpowering one. There's a crispness to it that pairs perfectly with the cool weather I'm experiencing as I write this post on my porch. I'm also finding a mild bitterness here that serves to balance out the sweetness exceptionally well. Purrl seems to find just as much enjoyment in the bouquet as me, seeing as how she gave it nine whiffs.

My first swig yields a mild caramel sweetness from the malt that continues to dance on my lips well after I've put down my can. In the finish I find the barest hint of a flavor only equatable to pecan pie. Don't take this to mean that Oktubberfest tastes like pecan pie, or even pecans. It doesn't. But the slightest hint of it is there if you're looking for it. I'm surprised that I'm not finding much bitterness in the lager at all.

That lack of bitterness works well with the mouthfeel, which is smooth. Not velvety smooth, nor creamy. But a swig goes down nice and easy. Just like what you'd want from an Oktoberfest beer.

Okay, so what Oktubberfest is bringing to my mind doesn't have anything to do with Oktoberfests. At all. But I know you'll humor me here. Last year for Thanksgiving, Michelle's dad made a pie with maple in it. Unfortunately, the outside burned and the inside got a little overcooked, so it wasn't a big after dinner hit.

This worked out fine for me, however. I loved the stuff. It tasted like maple and candied pecans. Since my father-in-law had made two pies and the second one wasn't touched, Michelle and I brought the whole second pie home with us. For the following week, I ate a slice of that pie for breakfast each morning. It's probably the subtle pecan pieness of the beer, or maybe it's how this cool evening is similar to the cool mornings I spent eating that leftover pie, but that's what I find myself thinking about as I sit back on my porch with this can in my hand.

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about Taft's Oktubberfest. I mean, sure it's good. But I wasn't quite convinced that it was great. At first. Now I'm thoroughly convinced. This is a great beer. I'm giving it a 9.0/10. If you're feeling fall but aren't exactly ready for pumpkin everything, be sure to hunt this stuff down. It's sure to scratch your precise itch.

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