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Friday, December 2nd 2011

Point Oktoberfest
(Stevens Point Brewery)

The CraftCans team decided it’s never too late for an Oktoberfest, and we were thrilled when Kirk and Tim from I.H.S. Distributing helped us track down what turned out to be a rather elusive brand in cans in our markets.  Thanks Kirk and Tim – you rock!

From the Point site:

"Point Oktoberfest is an authentic Marzen Style Lager beer, a style reminiscent of the beers originally brewed for the first Oktoberfest Celebrations in Germany during the early 1800's.  Craft brewed using Hallertauer Hops and sweet Vienna roasted malts result in a full flavored, finely balanced beer brewed in celebration of the upcoming season."

Here we go...

Pour – Bright, clear copper color with a thin off-white head.  Moderate lacing held firm to the side of the glass from start to finish.

Aroma – mildly sweet and yeasty aroma with an occasional whiff that reminded me of caramel and cider.  Overall very pleasant and fitting for the season.

Taste –  as expected,  this one is big on malt flavor, though it has a light body for the style.  Tea-like hop flavors jump out in the middle as the high carbonation starts to move things around.  Nice and clean finish that dries out nicely.  The lager yeast brings out some tart, almost cider-like flavors as it warms. 

Overall –  a highly drinkable Oktoberfest that is easygoing and unobtrusive, and for us the colder the beer the better the drinking.  We reached the bottom of our first – and second – glass in no time.  Most Marzens we’ve tried have been much sweeter and drank closer to a red or a big bodied amber.  Point’s offering is the kind of ‘Fest we could drink large quantities of and maybe impress a few Bavarian barmaids with our drinking prowess.

NOTES: Canned Oktoberfests are a modern phenomenon.  It’s reasonable that many of the old brands from days long gone by were Marzens or at least similar to that style, especially considering the German influence in early U.S. brewing history.  However, we looked over nearly 15,000 (really, 15 thousand) pictures of beer cans, starting with the first in 1935, and found none branded as an “Oktoberfest” until the late 70’s and even then we found only three.  Meanwhile, the CraftCans database already has seven listed, with an eighth slated for release in 2012.  Here’s hoping more craft brewers find a way to get these fall treats in cans!


The few Oktoberfests that were put on the market many years before the craft can revolution.  Note that all three designs lack the blue and white diamond pattern of the Bavarian flag that is common on many of today’s ‘Fests.

Other current Oktoberfest/Marzen craft cans 



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Point Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Stevens Point Brewery
Stevens Point, Wisconsin  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: 2-row, 6-row, Crystal, Vienna, 2-row Munich
Hops: Tettnanger, Hallertau, Perle
ABV: 5.7%
IBUs: 15
Date: December 2nd, 2011

Posted by Trent

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Thursday, October 27th 2011

Great River Oktoberfest
(Great River Brewery)


Sly Fox Brewing Company released the first canned Oktoberfest beer last year. Since then there have been 7 other Oktoberfest beers released in cans with Great River's being one of 4 to be released for the first time in 2011. Great River Brewery is truly one of those breweries that focuses on producing great beer for local consumers. If you can get your hands on some of their stuff you won't be disappointed. 


From the Great River Brewery site:


"Great River Brewery’s Oktoberfest is a Marzen style beer brewed with Hallertau hops and pale and crystal malts. The result is a full bodied,malty brew with a beautiful amber color and a clean dry finish."


The CAN reads:


"Today, many areas celebrate Oktoberfest, but the original is in the Bavarian city of Munich and the name has become synonymous with beers that are only produced during that special time of the year.

Great River Brewery's Oktoberfest is a Marzen style beer brewed with Hallertau hops and pale and crystal malts. The result is a full bodied, malty brew with a beautiful amber color and a clean dry finish."

Here we go...

POUR: dark amber in color with some ruby red hues along with a thin white head made up of soda-like bubbles. Clean in appearance with lots of little orbs streaming upwards. Great looking pour for the style.

AROMA: faint hints of cereal grains and caramel. Some very subtle hints of brown sugar and corn syrup. The aroma of this beer is very muted. 

TASTE: one sip and this is definitely going to please the malt lovers. I get toasted brown bread, brown sugar, molasses, soggy bran flakes and an overal very generous grain bill packed into each mouthful. The finish is clean and crisp which really rounds things out nicely. 

OVERALL: once it hits the tongue this beer takes off. With little aroma and a nice appearance you're sort of left wondering what is going to make this beer special. The malt forward flavor profile of this well crafted lager and that smooth, crisp finish really make this a winner. Well done, wish we had more of it! Another fine beer from Great River.

NOTES: Great River Brewery has just released their sixth canned offering. Big Cock IPA, seriously - no joke - clck on the link, is a limited release IPA that clocks in at 7% with 70 IBUs. 

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Great River Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Great River Brewery
Davenport, Iowa  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Pale and Crystal
Hops: Hallertau
ABV: 5.9%
IBUs: 25
Date: October 27th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, September 14th 2011

Oktoberfest Wiesn
(Paulaner Brauerei)

One of the biggest cans of beer around! Paulaner's Oktoberfest Wiesen Bier was released in 1-liter cans as limited edition beer brewed to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Munich's Oktoberfest. Cans were sold individually and in gift packs that included a 1-liter Paulaner stein so you could celebrate Oktoberfest like they do in Munich! Prosit!

From the Paulaner site:

"The majestic deep golden color is the first hint that one must try this beer. Earthy aromas of barley and yeast eases you into the centuries old art of German brewing. True to its Oktoberfest tradition it is quite refereshing and sessionable. Low bodied with a nice mouthfeel there is an overwhelming sweetness, more so than other German Blonde Lagers. Highly drinkable and once only available in the tents of the Munich Oktoberfest one can now enjoy the tradtiion of Oktoberfest in their own home."

Here we go...

Pour - nice dark, golden color with a big, frothy, pancake batter like head on top. Clean and clear in appearance with nice carbonation and lits of tiny bubbles streaming upwards. Plenty of lacing in this big liter-size mug.


Aroma - sweet malt aroma with some notes of apples and caramel. Not a whole lot else going on. Smells very much like what it is, a darker, sweeter lager.

Taste - honey wheat flavor on the tongue with some caramel flavors coming in the back. Very solid malt flavors with decent carbonation on the tongue and a dry finish. The more sips of this I take the more I realize why this is they type of beer that folks are drinking at Oktoberfest. It's pretty straightforward with no palate killing flavors. Just a smooth, slightly sweet yet balanced lager. Certainly not an easy style of beer to brew but one that will appeal to a good many people in times of revelry. 

Overall - easy drinking lager with a touch of honey-like sweetness in the finish of every sip. The hardest part of drinking this beer is lifting this huge liter-sized glass mug over and over again! Thankfully it keeps getting lighter with each gulp. Prosit!

Note - Paulaner also cans their Hefe-Weizen Natural Wheat, the largest selling of their brands, in 11.2 oz. cans that come in 8-packs. It was first released during the summer of 2011.


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Oktoberfest Wiesn
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei
Container: 1 liter can
Malts: Pilsner Barley Malt & Munich Dark Malt
Hops: Hallertau
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: 19
Date: September 14th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Thursday, May 19th 2011

(Starr Hill Brewing Company)

At one point Festie was a seasonal brew and apparently people loved it. So, why not give them what they want whenever they want it? This is why you've got a traditional Oktoberfest/Märzen style beer available all-year round and now it's even available in cans so people can take it with them to concerts, beaches, lakes, rivers etc... Festie is joined by Northern Lights IPA as one of the first two canned brews from Starr Hill. Prosit! Cheers!


From the Starr Hill site:

"Rich and malty, Festie is now available year-round, and it is our tribute to the great German lager. Its name invokes the German tradition of Oktoberfest, while also paying homage to the end of the summer music festival season."

Here we go...


Pour - orangish/yellowish in color, very clean with a wispy head on top which fades rather quickly leaving a ring around the inside of the glass at the top level of the beer. Not a bad looking pour whatsoever.

Aroma - brown sugar, baking bread, steeped grains, honey, corn syrup and sweet tea. Some doughy/biscuity notes as well.


Taste - first sip is sweet on the tongue. Lots of honey and caramel flavors combine with some raisin and lemon tea with a sharp, crisp finish. Its a bit dry surprisingly in the finish with no real after taste which certainly makes for an easily sessionable beer. Nice malty flavors and easily approachable for any beer drinker from the uber-snob to the casual imbiber. 


Overall - Not a ton of complexity, just a straightforward amber lager. However, when it comes to finding a decent canned version of just that it's not so easy. Certainly worth picking up and taking along with you wherever you're outdoors (or indoors) festivities may be happening.


Would I buy more of it? - not much of an option where I am. This is a pretty easy drinking lager and if it was more available I could definitely see myself putting some on ice once in awhile.


Note - "The tag line on the label says 'life is a carnival', in reference to lyrics from a song by The Band. The Starr Hill crew are in many ways like carnies, in a positive way, like a family."   - Mark Thompson (Master Brewer)


Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Starr Hill Brewing Company
Crozet, Virginia  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Two Row & Munich Hallertau
Hops: ???
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 12
Date: May 19th, 2011

Posted by Russ

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Saturday, October 23rd 2010

Santa Fe Oktoberfest
(Santa Fe Brewing Company)

One of three canned Oktoberfests to hit the market this year. Last year there were NONE! Santa Fe has now canned a trio of beers and this one is their second of four canned seasonals they plan to release. Prosit!

From the Santa Fe Brewing site:


"Though it is not necessary to drink this beer out of a mug that is larger than your head while dancing to polka music and wearing your lederhosen, you will find this lager's unbridled festivity difficult to resist. This ode to Germany's classic fall lagers is as clean, clear, and quaffable as any that has ever weighed down the table of a German Beer garden. The crisp maltiness of classic Munich malt compounded with the delicious notes of Bavarian hops gives this clean-finishing beer just the right flavor for the end of the summer.."

Here we go...


Pour - dark golden in color with some nice little bubbles streaming upwards making a thin white head. This settles pretty quickly with a ring of white and some lacy webbing. 

Aroma - brown bread, bread dough, malt, caramel and hints of dark fruit.


Taste - very crisp and quite refreshing on the palate. The sweet maltiness that you can expect from this style is nicely balanced by the dry finish and the carbonation. Brown sugar and caramel are left on the tongue but fade quickly which makes your brain tell your hand to quickly replenish your mouth with more beer!


Overall - not an easy style to work with and yet Santa Fe has pulled it off nicely. Great flavor and very easy drinking. A six-pack of these would get you through a few sing-a-longs in good fashion that is for sure. Prosit!


Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. A very drinkable dark lager with plenty of character but not too heavy. I'd love to have easier access to this brewery's canned beers.


Note - Along with their Oktoberfest, Santa Fe plans to can three other seasonal offerings; an already canned "Freestyle Pilsner", a "Java Stout" and their "Viszolay Belgian". Look for their Java Stout in February.

Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Santa Fe Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Santa Fe Brewing Company
Santa Fe, New Mexico  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pilsen, Munich
Hops: Hersbrucker, Tettananger
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: October 23rd, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Sunday, September 19th 2010

Sly Fox Oktoberfest
(Sly Fox Brewing Company)

The very first canned version of the Oktoberfest-style made available by a craft brewery here in the US. Sly Fox managed to get this one out just before Narragansett's Fest when it hit shelves last month. I've been looking forward to trying this and what better day than today since its officially the first day of Oktoberfest over in Munich. Prosit!


From the Sly Fox site:

"This traditional Oktoberfest beer celebrates the arrival of Fall. It is a medium-bodied, smooth and malty brew made with German Vienna malts and German hops."

Here we go...


Pour - dark golden in color with some reddish-brown hues. The head is only about a quarter of an inch in thickness and even that fades quickly. 


Aroma - malty, biscuity, apple blossoms, grainy and slight hints of lemons and cherries. 

Taste - slightly grainy, earthy, hints of Marmite, caramel, brown sugar, bread dough and orange peel. Mostly this is sweet and malty with a nice finish of caramel and brown bread. 


Overall - Not a whole lot of body or complexity here but it does make for a very sessionable beer. I could hoist a few liters of this without too much trouble. 


Would I buy more of it? - I might if I was bringing something to a fall barbecue or wanted to share the first craft-brewed Oktoberfest with some friends. 

Note - Sly Fox's Oktoberfest is the brewery's sixth canned release. The first was their Phoenix Pale Ale in 2006. 



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Sly Fox Oktoberfest Lager
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Sly Fox Brewing Company
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: German Vienna
Hops: German hops
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: 25
Date: September 19th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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Saturday, September 18th 2010

Narragansett Fest
(Narragansett Brewing Company)

The second craft-brewed Oktoberfest to hit the market (Sly Fox's Oktoberfest beat it by a month). Narragansett's Fest is "crafted in small batches at Cottrell Brewery in Pawcatuck, CT" as well as being brewed by the big boys over in Rochester, New York. Fest is one of three seasonal beers released by Narragansett. All three are all-grain brews that are brewed at Cottrell Brewery (CT), Trinity Brewhouse (RI) and/or High Falls Brewery (NY). Prosit!


From the Narragansett site:

"Gansett Fest is a great example of a traditional amber-brown German Oktoberfest style beer. It is perfectly balanced with four varieties of malts and two styles of hops. This is an extremely easy drinking autumn seasonal beer, but one you will want to savor as the rich malt profile complements the crisp, but not overpowering, hop flavor perfectly."

Here we go...


Pour - dark chestnut, auburn in appearance with a big fluffy white head. Nice clarity and carbonation. Not a whole lot to take in but still its not a bad looking beer.


Aroma - malty, grainy, caramel, slight citrus along with some nice toasty/bready smells.

Taste - toasty, malty, sweet and bready. Plenty of biscuity notes and a sharp finish with hints at citrus. A lot of those aromas play out on the tongue. Very easy drinking and smooth with the carbonation providing a refreshing finish. Not super rich in flavor but I don't mind that. It actually keeps it from being too sweet. 


Overall - solid brew. I really enjoyed this beer and felt it does its duty as a traditional Oktoberfest. Its light bodied and plenty smooth enough to enjoy over several rounds. Well done Narragansett, well done. I look forward to trying your other seasonal releases.


Would I buy more of it? - I would. A six-pack of 16 oz. cans is going for about $8 here in New England. Very affordable for a quality brew.

Note - Narragansett releases two other seasonal beers. One is their Porter which is a winter release and the other a Bock in the spring. I'm wondering if a summer release is coming as well...hmm....



Can Scale:
(See All Rated)
Narragansett Fest Lager
Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Brewery: Narragansett Brewing Company
Providence, Rhode Island  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: Vienna, Pilsner, Light and Dark Munich
Hops: Northern Brewer & Tettnanger
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 22
Date: September 18th, 2010

Posted by Russ

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