Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oktoberfest Beers — Left Hand vs. Ayinger

Left Hand Brewing Co.
Oktoberfest Marzen Lager

ABV 6.6%

Pumpkin orange.
Malts, prunes, spice, and a touch of pine & perfume.
Sweet malt, toffee, floral with some artificial notes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Clean and soapy.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Oktober Fest-Marzen
ABV 5.8%

Pale golden orange.
Aroma: Grains, yeast and honey.
Flavor: Simple, sweet malts with a slight pumpkin-vegetal quality.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Grains.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Blow by Blow
Fire up the Hopping Lederhosen, it's time for a Bavarian-style Bottle Battle! Since we couldn't make it to the real Oktoberfest in Munich, we staged a mini Oktoberfest in our kitchen featuring two Marzen lagers, the traditional style of beer that is most associated with the massive German celebration.

In one corner we had Ayinger, an authentic German brewery that has been brewing for over a hundred years, in the other corner we had Left Hand a brewery from Colorado that has been open for over fifteen years. But age and tradition mean nothing in a bottle battle. They are both equals until one hits the canvas.

The Ayinger was a solid and straightforward beer with simple grain and malt flavors. The Left Hand, on the other hand (sorry), had a whole bunch going on, especially in the aroma — very sweet smelling and almost perfumey. The flavors were more complex as well and complemented the sweet maltiness. So despite a decent performance by the ancient German he ended up getting floored by a clean Left Hand and it was lights out. Prost!

Winner by unanimous decision: Left Hand.

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