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Wachusett provides new take on Octoberfest beer

Date: 10/4/2011

Oct. 3, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

It’s October, and while there hasn’t exactly been a nip in the air just yet, I thought I was still an appropriate time to get in the spirit of autumn by cracking open some new fall beers.

This time around, I gave two Octoberfest lagers and a pumpkin ale a try.

Wachusett Octoberfest Ale

I picked up a six-pack of Wachusett Brewing Company (Westminster) with high hopes. Several Wachusett beers, including the Green Monsta IPA, have been consistent go-to options for me when looking for a quality, reasonably priced option not called Samuel Adams.

This take on the Octoberfest style has some originality to it. It maintains the body and balance and deep pumpkin color of a good beer of its kind. Where it differed was in the taste.

While the nose of the beer had me wondering just how flavorful this beer would be, I was pleasantly surprised. In addition to a good balance of grainy hops and malts, Wachusett’s offering also had hints of fruit. Unlike other beers that often turn to berries or citrus for added flavor, this beer’s flavor suggested a bit of apple and spice, like a baked apple cake.

Being very drinkable with a certain uniqueness, this is one I could go to again.

Newport Storm Regenschauer Oktoberfest

Newport Storm is a brand produced by a Newport, R.I., brewing company that I had not yet tried prior to last week called Coastal Extreme Brewing Company.

With no expectations going in, I can say that this beer, which I purchased in a six-pack, was also a very different take on the Marzen style, but in a very different way than the Wachusett Octoberfest.

While still pouring that deep copper color one expects with an Octoberfest, this beer was extremely fragrant, promising a flavorful beer. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver on taste, leaving a little bit of almost citrus-like fruitiness and not much else. It also didn’t have the body one would expect from a beer of its kind. Honestly it was almost like an “Octoberfest light.”

For someone expecting a full-bodied, rich Octoberfest to warm them on a cool day, this is not the beer for them, but it could be a good option for someone looking for something a little lighter that still has some character to it.

Southern Tier Pumking

In the interest of full disclosure, I am generally not a fan of pumpkin ales. However, having heard tremendous reviews on Pumking pumpkin ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, N.Y.), I decided to give it a go.

There are some pumpkin ales that have a hint of pumpkin that the common beer drinker might enjoy and others that are overpowered by pumpkin and spice. Pumking certainly falls into the latter category.

It’s a very attractive beer in a pint glass out of a 22-ounce bomber bottle, pouring with nice white foamy head and deep orange coloring. As soon as this beer is brought to the nose, your nostrils will be filled with the scent of pumpkin pie and the taste is very much the same. It’s a very sweet beer and as a result, is one that most would probably prefer to sip.

For the everyday beer drinker, this most likely is not the beer for you.

But for those who are a fan of the pumpkin ale variety, this is one that no doubt should be on your must-drink list. Its incredibly complex flavor convinced me, even as one who does not enjoy the style, that this is a quality product.

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