Now that Oktoberfest season is in full swing, we shift the focus of Tasting Notes to the beers brewed to honor this great tradition. First up, we take a look at Festie Oktoberfest Lager from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).
Staying true to their belief that “a great playlist is all about what’s new and what’s next”, the music lovin’ souls at Starr Hill Brewery established the Heavy Rotation Series as a means “to keep fresh styles of beer coming your way.” Festie Oktoberfest Lager has arrived as the current release in this series, and it is Starr Hill’s “tribute to the great German lager.” At 4.8% ABV, this “rich and malty” offering is meant to “[invoke] the German tradition of Oktoberfest, while also paying homage to the end of the summer music festival season.” As an added bonus, the intentions behind this beer are further echoed with a specially curated Spotify Playlist “featuring tunes that combine flavors of folk, funk, jam band, and rock to pair perfectly with a bottle of Festie” (click here to listen).
Festie Oktoberfest Lager is out now and available throughout Oktoberfest season. You can expect to find this Limited Release offering in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, in the Fall Tour Variety 12-pack, and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.
With all of those necessary background details now out of the way, I do believe it is time to fill a glass and get our Oktoberfest on with some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Festie Oktoberfest Lager from Starr Hill Brewery
Appearance: Festie fills the glass as a rich amber-colored brew that has chestnut tones. When held to direct light, the amber notes brighten and the color softens. The beer is crystal clear and shows a steady carbonation presence that is doing its best to feed the finger of off-white foam that was built during the pour. That head fades with a quickness, reducing down to a thin ring that leaves minimal spots of lace behind on the glass.
Aroma: The aromatics begin with a light caramel malt character that slowly opens to take on a nutty quality – almonds and hazelnuts. Bready notes eventually work their way forward to round the aroma off with a clean grain presence and just a grace of sweetness.
Taste: In an unexpected twist, the flavor profile actually leads with a faintly herbal, lightly sweetened tea-like quality. Caramelized nuts then surface to bring some sweetness before a hearty, bready malt note settles in. The classic grain character establishes itself firmly thanks to the complementing German lager yeast. The flavor closes just as it started . . . with a light wash of that herbal/tea note.
Mouthfeel: This lager is on the lighter side of medium in body with a crisp carbonation level. It is lightly sweet on the palate, but well balanced by that touch of herbal character. The 4.8% ABV shows no interest in playing a factor here, and that just further adds to the offering’s easy-drinking nature. The aftertaste is just a breath of lingering nuttiness.
Final Thoughts: Overall, Festie is a very clean, delightfully approachable, and refreshingly light representation of the Oktoberfest/Märzen, but still has all the flavor one expects to find from a beer of the style. The beer’s light body and low ABV just aids in its high level of drinkability, making it a perfect candidate to fill massive steins at Oktoberfest celebrations taking place throughout the Southeast. If you are looking to get festive without getting (too) sloppy this Oktoberfest season, Starr Hill Brewery’s Festie Oktoberfest Lager is certainly a beer that should be in your sights. Be sure to check it out before its limited run comes to an end. Prost!