Thirsty Thursday Beer Review: Great Lakes Brewing Company Oktoberfest


Great Lakes Brewing Company is one the many awesome craft breweries around Ohio, and for good reason.  Their brews are wonderful and they always release fantastic seasonals.  Today’s offering is one of those seasonals, their Oktoberfest.  I wait all year for Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest beers, so I’m ready to get started.  Let’s do it!

The first aromas are sweet and malty, subtly laced with mellow fruits and some slight hops that chill out at the back.  The malts really stand out, creating an aroma of rich breadyness.  The sweet hints stay at the sides, aiding the malts rather than overpowering.  All together, it’s a wonderful aroma that makes my mouth water.

The first bottle taste is just as wonderful.  The malts stand out super bold, with a slight sweet edge that brings out a taste of fresh bread.  There’s also some subtle hints of almonds, that almost tastes like a sugar cookie, but made of beer.  After the initial taste, there’s a lingering bitter tang at the back of the tongue, with a bit of earthiness that supports the bread notes, and adds a taste of fall, like a hint of fresh leaves, just lingering under everything else.  It’s a great mix of flavors, full of malty richness that clings to the tongue.  It lasts forever, retaining that breadiness for hours afterward.

Poured into a pint glass, the dominant aromas are light and floral, with malty undertones that reach up from the body of the beer, adding tantalizing notes that make you want to keep drinking.  I also detect the same nutty almond sweetness from the bottle.  It’s sweet and slightly spicy, with hints of nutmeg and maybe even some cinnamon.  The color is a burnt orange, rich and healthy looking that glows amber when the light hits it.  It pours with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.

The post-pour taste arrives with the same bread-malt boldness from earlier.  This time, the almond notes are subdued, replaced by the floral hints that mingle with the bread to form a crisp but clingy taste.  The tangy notes from earlier are still there, brought out a bit more from the pour.  The spices from the poured smell are more prominent as well-still subtle, but peaking through every now and then.  The major flavors are still the sweet malts, but they are more rich, with a deeper taste that clings to the tongue, lasting much longer than the bottle.

Overall, this is a wonderful example of an Oktoberfest – bready, rich, and deeply flavored, with a massive emphasis on malts.  It’s super easy to drink, but by taking your time, you’ll bring the flavors out even more.  With a touch of sweet almonds mixing with the malts, the flavors wrap around your tongue and stay with you forever.  I picked up a 6-pack on sale for about $8, so it can be a bit pricey, but as I said, I love Oktoberfest beers, so the price wasn’t a huge deal for me.

Some great suggestions to go along with the beer include an afternoon of football with some friends, or perhaps a night wearing your finest lederhosen and a plate full of schnitzel.  And, finally, whenever the first traces of chilled air reach your skin – that instant that you know fall has arrived and is here to stay.  That’s your sign to commence enjoyment.  Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest earns a delightful A.


Taste: 9.5/10

Drinkability: 10/10

Looks: 10/10

Price: 8/10

Lasting Strength: 10/10

Overall: 9.5/10 A


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