Low key, no leder hosen or um-pa-pa, but good, fresh beer – that’s how I like my Oktoberfest. So, I was thrilled to find out about Occidental Brewery‘s tap take-over at Portland Craft the other night. Okay, it wasn’t Oktoberfest, wasn’t advertized that way, but with this line-up, it could’ve been! The place was packed, as it often is and Head Brewer Ben Engler brought 5 beers to share with the autumn revelers this evening, all German styles, from light to dark-ish, all fresh on tap and all went very well with our shared charcuterie platter, cheeses and sausage meats, olives and pickled peppers, very European, good variety, German portions.
The Hefeweizen (5.5% 20 IBU) is classic in style and execution, light, fresh, aromatic, subtle notes of clove and banana, some citric elements, with a wonderfully round palate, silky smooth, pale straw and cloudy, long finish.
Dunkel (5.2% 24 IBU) a light coppery brown in colour, a very clean ale, malty, smooth, a touch fruity, nutty notes, well balanced and subtly complex, good carbonation makes this beer moreish, as does the long, dry finish.
Kolsch (4.5% 25 IBU) Cologne’s classic done a la Portland, light straw, crisp and very dry, thirst quenching with hints of hops inviting more inspection, a great food accompaniment. Very quenching and sessionable of course, with a lovely dry finish.
Alt (4.3% 50 IBU) a little more hop in this dark amber coloured old German ale, full of malty character, but bold and crisp with spicy notes of bitterness spiraling through this brew, notes of caramel malts, very smooth and balanced.
Festbier (6.3% 25 IBU) the lone lager (and the strongest) in the group, it has to stand out. A deep rich coppery colour leads to a rich and quaffable brew, the traditional style at Oktoberfest. Munich and Vienna malts leads the parade with noble hops accenting the highlights of this seasonal refresher. Good balance, refreshing mouthfeel, long and enamouring.
The Occidental Brewery is no stranger to Portland Craft, you can often find a beer or two in the sometimes Portland heavy line up. After all that, I did feel inspired to sing some rowdy drunken songs, but instead we had one more for the road, then walked home in the warm and windy autumn evening, images of leder hosen dancing in our heads.