Beer Preview: Two Paulaner Oktoberfest Biers
Tuesday at 5:43 pm
Time to set aside my run of “Black Is Beautiful” beer reviews, for now, and get to something that’s also somewhat timely.
A U.S. rep for Paulaner Brauerei sent me two different Oktoberfest biers for my comment. Based in Munich, Paulaner claims a lineage going back to the Neudeck ob der Au monastery, whose beer is first mentioned in 1634. They are one of the six Munich-based brewers allowed to pour beer at the Oktoberfest “Wiesn” (festival meadow, pronounced “VEE-sin”), along with Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, and Spaten.
Of course, for 2020, what there is of Oktoberfest in Munich will be without beer. Thanks, COVID.
Anyway, Paulaner has two packaged beers for Oktoberfest time:
Oktoberfest Märzen, labelled in Germany as Original Münchner Märzen. This is a darker colored beer, based on the original version of a German Märzen style. 5.8% abv
Oktoberfest Bier, also called “Wiesn Bier,” as it’s the beer they currently serve on the Oktoberfest Wiesn. 6.0% abv
I checked the Paulaner website to see what accounted for the difference in appearance, and found that both listed their ingredients as Pilsener and Munich malt, and for hopping, Hallertauer Tradition, and Herkules, a new cultivar of the Hallertauer family released in 2005. The site does not mention the proportion of malt or hops, so perhaps the main difference is in mashing method.
These beers appear to have been imported from Munich, instead of contract-brewed in the States. My main clue was that they are packages in 11.2 oz. (33 cl) bottles.
A nice amber color in the glass, with a slightly off-white head. Smell has some caramel roast malt to it, perhaps a note of sweetness. The taste is malty, of course, with a little grain to it. Not as strong with Noble hops, but general bitterness and spice. This is the beer to have with hearty German food, whether at an Oktoberfest tent or grilling at home.
This beer is a bright straw-colored pour like any Pils or Dortmunder. Foam is slightly denser, and sticks around for quite a while. Smell has light malts and a note of Noble hop. Toasty malt taste and a hop edge that’s just slightly peppery. Goes down a little more lightly than the “Original.” Both list the same ingredients, but no proportions, or the length of decoction. Clearly the beer to have while strolling about an Oktoberfest meadow.
Once local brewers offered their own takes on traditional Oktoberfest beers, we saw how amber-colored and malty they were, and kind of realized that the Oktoberfest beers served at and imported from Germany had lightened up. But I would suppose that the lighter color somehow also makes it a little easier to drink more than one, and people are wont to do at the Wiesn.