Monday, October 6, 2014

Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest – Tyranena Brewing Company

Few beer styles are as appropriate for the season as the Märzen, more commonly referred to by its alternative name, Oktoberfest.  Technically only Märzen beers brewed within the city limits of Munich are an “authentic” Oktoberfest, but let’s not get involved in technicalities.   Märzens have historically been brewed in March and cellared in ice filled caves during the hot summer months and pulled out of storage for consumption after extended aging.  Beer started to be brought out of storage late summer, but there was always so much that full barrels were still in the cold storage through mid-September when it was time for harvest.  Every year as the grain was harvested there was a conundrum.  What better use for grain than the brewing of beer, but there was still beer left over from the March batch (the Märzen).  What better way to fix the problem than to drink all that beer.  Sure, the original Oktoberfest was the impressively long celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Sax-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, but those crazy Germans have found a reason to celebrate almost every year since.  Oktoberfest has grown to become the largest beer celebration in the world, King Ludwig would be proud.

Fortunately Wisconsin has a strong German heritage, so over time Oktoberfest celebrations have become increasingly popular here.  Almost every brewery in the state releases an Oktoberfest Märzen, or an Oktoberfest inspired beer this time of season and it just so happens that one of my favorite Wisconsin breweries, Tyranena has one as well, the Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest

Founded by Rob Larson, Tyranena has been producing “Legendary Wisconsin Beer” from their Lake Mills location since October 21, 1999.  Lake Mills is situated between Madison and Milwaukee on I-94, 25 minutes east of Madison and 50 minutes west of Milwaukee, making them an ideal stop on a drive between the two cities.  If you are near the brewery on a Saturday, be sure to stop by before 3:30 to get a brewery tour.

            Their taproom is staffed by a knowledgeable crew of bartenders who will happily recommend a beer if you are not sure which you should start with, or share the stories behind the beers in their Brewer’s Gone Wild series, their line of extreme beers.  Every beer that I have had from Tyranena has been extremely enjoyable and I am always on the lookout for their next BGW or seasonal release.

            At Beeradvocate, Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest currently has a score of 82. Over at ratebeer on the other hand, the current score is a 57 overall with a 90 for style.  The two sites, appealing to different groups of beer drinkers, often have radically different scores for the same beer, but they seem particularly off for this one.  So much for using them as a benchmark, eh?

They Say:

            Gemüetlichkeit translates from German as “the fondness of feasting, drinking and merry company.”

            This is true of most everyone in Wisconsin, especially those of us at the brewery.  Each September in the nearby city of Jefferson, Wisconsin, thousand turn out for Gemüetlichkeit Days, a celebration of the area’s German heritage.  We invite you to celebrate the spirit of Gemüetlichkeit with us.  Don your lederhosen, kick up your heels with a polka and raise a stein of our Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest with a friend.  Ein Prosit!

            ABV: 5.5%
            IBU: 22
            Serving Temp: 45-50°
            Malts: 2-row, Pale, Caramel, Munich, Victory
            Hops: Liberty, Tettnanger

I Say:

            Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest pours a very clear orange/coppery amber.  With a moderately thick, creamy white head that holds very good retention and leaves a thick collar around the edges through the remainder of the glass and leaves light lacing in the glass.  The aroma is rich and malty with toasted biscuit and nutty dimensions.  Hop and yeasty aromas are noticeably absent, as they should be in a good Oktoberfest.

            The flavor, like the aroma, is rich, with toasted and nutty malt notes that pair with slight floral hops.  It is slightly sweet with a subtle caramel character on the front end with very smooth, creamy, moderately high maltiness and a moderate hop bitterness that helps to balance out the sweetness. Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest has a medium body with a moderate level of carbonation.

            As with many Oktoberfests, Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest has a strong malt backbone with just enough hops to balance out the sweetness and make it especially quaffable.  I only wish I had either a 1 liter bottle of Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest, or a Tyranena mug to pour this excellent beer into.

            With the inclusion of American 2-row, Pale, and Caramel malts, this is Gemüetlichkeit is missing out on some of the soft, toasted biscuit notes of a traditional German Oktoberfest, it also has slight caramel notes which are out of style.  More importantly however, Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest is a great beer that I am more than happy to drink in mass quantities, style guidelines be damned!  If you are looking for an easy drinking Märzen lager to get you through the early fall, Gemüetlichkeit Oktoberfest will certainly fulfill your requirements so raise a mug and experience Gemüetlichkeit!

            That’s all for today, be sure to check back soon for another review!

Ein Prosit!

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