9/29/23: Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier

12:21 PM

In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus: Eins, zwei, g'suffa!
Da läuft so manches Fäßchen aus:
Eins, zwei, g'suffa!
Da hat so mancher brave Mann:
Eins, zwei, g'suffa!
Gezeigt was er so vertragen kann
Schon früh am Morgen fing er an
Und spät am Abend kam er heraus
So schön ist's im Hofbräuhaus.


A bottle and mug of Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier.

Here we are, my friends, at the end of September. There's a cackle and a howl upon the night wind, ready to usher in Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month. But, before we let in the vampires and ghouls, we have one beer left for Oktoberfest season. A special lager, straight from Munich: Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier.

Hofbräu's been around nearly as long as the Reinheitsgebot, which is the German beer purity law that specifies beer can only be brewed with malt, water, and hops (yeast was later added when humanity came to better understand it). It's only 73 years younger. Sure that may seem like a long time by American beer standards but once you realize that Hofbräu was founded in 1589 by Duke William V of Bavaria, that three-quarters of a century doesn't seem like that long of time.

In the nearly-four and a half centuries Hofbräu's been making beer, they've seen (and done--we're talking creating storied beer styles, here!) a lot. Far too much for me to detail in a single blog post. Please allow me to direct you to the brewery's "HB Tradition" page, where you can (and should!) read all about it. 

Speaking of tradition, Hofbräu's Oktoberfestbier transcends that. It's an institution. As one of the six official Oktoberfest breweries, Hofbräu has the annual creation of this beer down to a science (which, coming from someone like me who considers brewing to be an art form, is a hell of a statement). It rings in at 6.3% ABV and is a full-bodied lager with a "fine hoppy aroma" and "a slightly sweet finish." That's all the official description (of the flavor and bouquet--it's also called "supple soft") we have to go on, but I truly think that's really all we'll need.

Oktoberfestbier label detail.
The story on the back of the bottle.
I've poured my beer today into my Paulaner Maßkrug, using three bottles to fill it. What can I say? 'Tis the season!

Oktoberfesbier's nose is that of a classic festbeer (obviously): biscuits, honey, toffee, caramel, a little straw, and German hop bitterness. When I think of a beery aroma, this is precisely what comes to mind. Maybe it isn't Purrl choice for a beer bouquet, however; she only gave my heady mug six whiffs.

Purrl sniffing my mug of beer.

The flavor profile lands solidly with its maltiness. I'm finding honey and biscuits, caramel and freshly-baked bread (the straw I noted on the nose is absent). This is all rounded out by a wallop of hops that give the whole affair an earthy grounding. They tug at me in the finish, pulling me toward my mug for yet another swig.

This is the most quaffable beer I've had all season. It's frothy, crisp, and crushable, drinking exactly like how an expertly-crafted German lager should.

Since this is in a mug, let's talk about it's appearance. It's strikingly gold (the same color as its battle cap) with a frothy white head laced with bubbles of varying sizes.

The beer's golden coloring.

The beer's frothy head.

Oktoberfestbier reminds me of the very first time I ever encountered an Oktoberfest-style lager. It was in Kroger during the end of the summer between my undergrad and grad school. In their beer section, I noticed a shelf full of Samuel Adams' Oktoberfest.

This had the old label on it, all autumnal red leaves. Something about the label and name immediately drew me to the lager. I purchased it and enjoyed it. Since then, I've been on a quest to better understand the style and its history.

That quest lead me directly to today's beer. Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier marks the third Munich Oktoberfest brewery I've had (and my fourth official Oktoberfest beer). I have to say, I'm continually astounded by the creativity and tradition of German brewing in adherence to the Reinheitsgebot. The lager scores an easy 10/10 from me. That's my highest recommendation. Now, go get some for yourself and g'suffa!

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