9/26/20: Warsteiner's Oktoberfest Special Edition

12:36 PM

Today we reach the end of the blog's Oktoberfest season. We're going out with something special.

A few years ago I went to my first Cincinnati Oktoberfest. No, not Zinzinnati; the Germania Society's Oktoberfest! I was happy that they were serving authentic German beer: Warsteiner. I'd never had anything from the brewery before so I got in touch with a German buddy about it. Apart from asking me why I was drinking it and telling me it was awful, he also let me know that Warsteiner isn't served at Oktoberfest. The quick conversation ended with him telling me that I should go to Germany and try good German beer (I still have to make it over there).

I hope I'm not breaking his heart by wrapping up my Oktoberfest month with this. I happened across a twelve-pack for $10 and couldn't resist. So, without further ado: Warsteiner's Oktoberfest Special Edition.

Warsteiner's been around since 1753, making it older than the United States but still not the oldest brewery I've featured this month. It started out as Antonius Cramer's homebrewering operation and became a full-fledged brewery when Cramer exceeded the amount of beer he was legally allowed to brew at home without government intervention. Warsteiner's brewed with soft water and, obviously, in adherence to Germany's beer purity law. Here's the brewery's "History" page for those of you wanting to take a deeper dive.

Oktoberfest Special Edition (OSE henceforth) is, as specified on its official page, a 5.9% ABV lager that has a smooth, well-balanced, and mild taste with a soft and hoppy finish. It's a seasonal, in case you couldn't tell. Don't look for this in January. 

Okay. Aromatics. OSE has an incredibly malt-forward nose. It's all honey, biscuit, caramel, and toffee. There's a slight roastiness here, too, and I don't know what's providing that. The hops, maybe? I mean, sure, they're here a tad, more piney than citrusy. I'm also picking up a little of my favorite autumnal aroma: decaying leaves. If OSE's bouquet was a touch less sweet, it would be my favorite Oktoberfest of the season in the aromatics department. Purrl gave my bottle twelve whiffs, making this her second favorite Oktoberfest of the season.

OSE's flavor profile is pretty malty, too. The honey and caramel are big on my tongue. There's a little bit of a sweet peppermint floating around, as well. Maybe that's attributable to the hops but, really, your guess is as good as mine. Regardless, I'm not getting a much hop presence as I'd expect (meaning there's not really any bitterness to the lager). That roastiness is present in the finish, showing up right before a malty sweetness and a metallic taste. This is a complex, and really strange, tasting Oktoberfest. Not bad, though. Not bad by a long shot.

The mouthfeel here is a little sharper than what I'd want from a lager. Bitey. Sure, it's crushable but, at this point, I'm not quite halfway through my bottle and the carbonation is building up gassy in me. I don't know. Fast-drinking but not entirely enjoyably so.

I've never been a big fan of raking up leaves. I flat-out refuse to do it now that I'm a homeowner. I just mow over the ones that litter my yard and call it free fertilizer.

I remember helping my dad rake up the leaves once or twice as a kid. It feels like the process took endless hours to complete, but I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near as long. Time just feels like it takes longer to pass when you're young, you know? Anyway, we had more than a few trees in our yard at that house. We'd rake the leaves into piles before raking those piles onto old sheets (we'd use the sheets to transport the leaves to the curb for the city to pick up). We'd jump into the piles occasionally. Doing so was fun but, really, it just meant we had to rake them up again. 

It'd always be late afternoon, just before dinner. I recall the sun shining for most of it but that probably wasn't the case (sunny days are a pretty rare autumnal occurrence in Central Ohio). The smell of the fallen leaves wafted through the air as we worked, crisp and warm. OSE's bouquet has to be what's bringing this to the front of my mind.

My German pal definitely won't agree with me, but I don't think Warsteiner's Oktoberfest Special Edition is awful. In fact, I think it's a little above average! Like, 7.5/10 above average. Those minty and metallic notes pull me out of the whole experience but, for a macro lager (and this is, for sure, a macro lager), you could definitely do a lot worse. Trust me. There's a reason why Bud's never been featured on the blog. Anyway, prost!

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