Every year, Sierra Nevada releases an Octoberfest beer that is a collaboration with a German Brewery. This year, the collaboration is with the mighty Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, the oldest operating brewery on the planet and brewers of Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, my favorite beer for the last 25 years. This year’s offering is a 6% ABV Märzen, which is one of the traditional German Octoberfest styles (the other being the lighter Festbier).
Visually, this is a perfect Märzen: crystal clear, deep gold in color, and moderately effervescent. The nose is sweet, toasty/bready malt with hints of caramel and yeast. The palate is a bit malt-forward, in keeping with the style. The caramel peeks out a bit more than on the nose, but it is still subtle. Earthy and slightly spicy hops provide a nice counterpoint. Yeast notes are more apparent than on the nose, and are a contributor to the character of the beer. Given Weihenstephaner’s involvement, I would be disappointed if that centuries-perfected yeast didn’t show, style be damned. The finish is a modest hit of caramel that is quickly supplanted by a mild residual bitterness that lingers a bit. Mouthfeel is on par with the light/medium body, and is moderately peppery from the well-expressed carbonation.
This is an excellent Märzen, as would be expected given the principals involved.
(c) 2018 Old Man Metal