I was really glad when I heard that Spencer Brewing, the only Trappist brewery in the US, ditched their plan to brew only one beer style and started branching out. I really enjoyed their Holiday Ale and looked forward to trying some of their new releases. I was a hoping that they would focus on traditional abbey styles, there aren’t enough quality dubbels, tripels and quads brewed locally and I would like to see our local trappist brewery’s take on these beers. Unfortunately they went in a different direction, you can now find Spencer Imperial Stout, IPA and new this fall Festive Lager, their take on an Oktoberfest. I understand that any brewery has to make beers that will sell and that these styles are all popular, but I also believe that good beer will make it’s own market and well done versions of abbey ales would have a solid niche. Still, I feel the need to give these new beers a shot, and I’ve been on a marzen kick, so I grabbed some of the Festive Lager. Spencer Festive Lager is available on draft and in 12 oz bottles this fall.
Spencer Festive Lager pours a deep amber with a minimal white head. The scent is mild, mostly caramel malts. The flavor is malt forward, notes of toffee, roasted nuts and bread dough. This is balanced by noticeable hops, hints of herbs, grass and spice along with a little bitter bite. Festive Lager has a medium body and drinks smooth, but packs some punch at 7.5% ABV. It has the clean finish you expect from a lager with a touch of lingering malt sweetness. While I still wish that the brewery had taken a slightly different direction, this is a solid beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
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