In over a year writing this blog, I have reviewed many beers from breweries all over the US (and a few from other areas of the world). By design I tend to focus on New England beers, and there with so many good choices this keeps me busy. This local-centric approach means that there are some nationally distributed breweries that I have enjoyed in the past but haven’t had a chance to review on the blog. One such brewery is Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, CO. Left Hand has been brewing a number of beer styles since 1993, including a variety of beers on nitro. Left Hand’s fall seasonal is simply named Oktoberfest Marzen Lager, and it is a very traditional interpretation of the German marzen style. Left Hand Oktoberfest is brewed with Munich and pilsner malt and hopped with CTZ and Hallertau malts. It is available in the fall on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Left Hand Oktoberfest pours a clear deep rusty brown with a mild off-white head. The smell is faint, just a hint of light malt. After sampling a number of American marzens that contained big hop flavors this is a return to a much more traditional version of the style. There is a solid malt profile led by caramel, cracked grain and honey. This is backed by very subtle hops, just some of the earthy flavor you expect from noble hop varieties. The hops also add just enough bitterness to keep the beer from becoming overly sweet. The beer is extremely drinkable with the clean character and finish you expect from a well brewed lager. It does pack a little kick at 6.6% ABV, although you don’t taste it at all. This is a well done version of a traditional Octoberfest/marzen, full flavored but still easy to drink. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.