After a slight diversion from the Märzen/Oktoberfest style it’s back to a Märzen-style lager in this fall’s Oktoberfest series of posts with O-toberfest from O’so Brewing Co.
With all the great beers being released by so many excellent breweries in Wisconsin, it’s hard to choose just one. If you live in North Central Wisconsin however, it is hard to ignore the rise of O’so Brewing in Plover, Wisconsin. The story of O’so Brewing starts in 2003 when, after joining the Focal Point Homebrew Club, and observing the first batch of Central Waters beer being brewed, Marc Buttera and his wife Katina opened Point Brewing Supply with the eventual plan of opening a craft brewery of their own. The dream became a reality in 2007 when they opened O’so Brewing. In 2013, O’so was declared the 2nd fastest growing brewery in the state by the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association. Since then they have continued to diversify their offerings, getting more involved with barrel aging and sour beer production.
The future is bright for O’so Brewing, and I poured this beer hoping that O-toberfest would accurately portray the highs that this great brewery is capable of achieving. Sadly, now that I look at the scores while I am writing this they are mixed. O-toberfest currently has a score of 78 at Beer advocate. Over at ratebeer it comes in at a 37 overall and a 45 for style. Ouch, it’s a good thing that I don’t base what I drink on scores at either site. In fact a quick glance at the reviews on both sites suggests that the reviewers are either drinking their beer out of bottles left in the sun, or served through dirty draft lines. Both are always a problem, but a decent reviewer shouldn’t fault a beer for problems that can easily be avoided. Personally if I get a bottle or pint that has noticeable off-flavors, at least if it is one that I am going to review, I pick up another to verify whether the problem is limited to one bottle, or the draft lines at one bar.
Beer Style: Marzen
Alcohol by Volume: 5.5%
Rich German heritage finds it way into development of this malty Marzen-style Oktoberfest. Vienna and Munich malts play a bready, malty symphony. Prost!
Released early August.
O-toberfest pours a crystal clear copper amber. The head is moderately thick, with ivory colored small bubbles that hold very good retention before to a thick collar around the edges of the glass and leaves heavy lacing behind. Malty, bready and toasted notes come to the forefront, with a hint of fresh baked biscuits on the back end. There is the slightest hint of underlying sweetness, which isn’t an aroma, but for lack of a better term I am going to stick with it.
Rich, smooth, sweet malts immediately come to the forefront in the flavor. The malt takes on the characteristics of fresh baked biscuits with a blend of bready and toasted flavors mingling effortlessly. Toasted malt characteristics become more prominent as O-toberfest dries out on the back end. The rich maltiness is amply paired with a moderate level of hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation, this is a very enjoyable beer.
O-toberfest like many of the other beers from O’so Brewing is definitely a beer worth drinking. I know that the scores given to it at the two major sites are less than stellar, but I am very rarely impressed by their accuracy. When served out of either clean draft lines, a bottle that hasn’t spent time soaking up the sun’s rays, and in an appropriate glass at the correct temperature, this is actually a pretty great Oktoberfest. I wouldn’t rank it as high as many of their other excellent beers, but it is still a solid example of what an Oktoberfest should be and it is one of the better American festbiers available.
If you are lucky enough to live in Wisconsin, you should have no trouble finding O’so beers in your local liquor store. It might be a little late in the year to pick up a bottle of O-toberfest, but it is definitely a beer to be on the lookout for next year!