When you think of the Oktoberfest beer styles most craft beer drinkers immediately think of marzens, malt forward and (usually) slightly sweet lagers that can pack a little boozy punch. While this is a traditional style for the celebration in Germany, when you see pictures of huge tents filled to bursting with patrons hoisting giant steins of beer, they are probably not drinking marzen. Instead, many Oktoberfest celebrations serve festbiers, a variation on the style that is lighter in body, lower in alcohol, and a bit more balanced, a much better choice for drinkers attempting to finish multiple oversized steins. American breweries have caught onto this, and with the rise in popularity of easy-drinking traditional lager styles many breweries are making festbiers as their fall seasonals. One such beer I tried recently is Dorchester Brewing Company’s Fest Bier, which is brewed with German malt and hops and available in the fall on draft and in 16 oz cans.
Dorchester Fest Bier pours clear deep yellow with a small white head. The aroma is a mixture of bready malts and noble hops. The malts lead the flavor, notes of biscuits, cereal and honey. The hops add balance, hints of grass and herbs along with just a little bitterness. Dorcester Fest Bier is light-to-medium bodied, very easy drinking and sessionable at 4.9% ABV. The finish is crisp and clean with a little residual malt and hop flavor. Overall this is a really enjoyable fest bier, it packs plenty of malt flavor without being overly boozy or cloyingly sweet. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Dorchester Brewing Reviews: