Tuesday, September 25, 2012

532. New Glarus Staghorn Octoberfest

This is officially treasure-trove of deliciousness, part two. Although there’s not much left of that treasure-trove. In addition to last week’s Saison, we’ve also tried Raspberry Tart, Belgian Red, and Fat Squirrel Brown Ale from New Glarus.

Staghorn pours a crystal clear harvest-hued copper with lots of orange and yellow. I’d normally just call it amber, but since they used that in the description, I didn’t want to come across as derivative. The head is thin, eggshell, and has decent retention—it is, in all honesty, quite lager-like in the partial coverage of skiffs and small islands. There are bright, small bubbles running up the sides of the glass, and the nose is biscuit and bread dough from the malt, and just the faintest waft of hop bitterness—I’m almost tempted to call it earthy and musty. As the beers opens up, some graininess and huskiness also emerges from an otherwise clean beer. Flavors start with biscuit malt and drop into dry cracker in the middle; the carbonation bite drops to cleanness, offering the faintest kiss of sweetness from the Munich malt. As the slight sweetness fades, the hop bitterness comes to the foreground, closing with a touch of graininess and biscuit mixed in at the end. I get less of the lager hop soapiness I find in other lagers/Oktoberfests, but this is certainly a lager—my guess is the touch of sweetness covers it over, even as I would still describe the finish as dry and crisp. The ever so faint grain-derived grape fruitiness—and I want to emphasize that it is faint—is there, albeit less than there was in the Lakefront Oktoberfest. Lakefront is also a good comparison overall: I like New Glarus Staghorn slightly better, while Elli prefers Lakefront a bit more, but both beers are the cream of the American Oktoberfest crop. The old school label on the bottle—the deer in silhouette in front of a harvest moon—is another nice touch on a beer that offers the total package: a crisp, clean, and malty Oktoberfest that fits well with the brisk bite of chilly evenings. Prost!

From the bottle: “100% Natural—great Midwest barleys, the world’s most expensive hops, fresh yeast from Germany, and dear Wisconsin water make our Staghorn Octoberfest ‘Wisconsin’s Real Red.’ You will find absolutely no additives, preservatives, or artificial agents of any kind in this bier. Staghorn is brewed using the time honored methods and Krausened to release the smooth flavor of our roasted malts. This Octoberfest combines a smooth amber body with a clean crisp finish. Be sure to hold this one up to the light of nay harvest moon and enjoys ‘Wisconsin’s Real Red.’ Vielen Dank!”

ABV: 6.25%

Great Saison Chain of Being. That’s still awesome.


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