Monday, October 20, 2014

Point Oktoberfest – Stevens Point Brewery

                After a less than spectacular beer contract brewed by Stevens Point Brewery, I figured it was a good idea to give their own release a fair shake.  In that vein I picked up a six pack of Point Oktoberfest.  The seasonal Märzen is an award winning beer with 1 gold, and 6 silver medals at prestigious competitions (more on that in the “They Say” section).  The beer is somewhat authentic to style, at least in the ingredients list, so it should be an interesting beer.  Before moving on to the review however, Stevens Point Brewery has a storied past, going back 155 years.

                Founded in 1857 by George Ruder and Frank Wahle, Stevens Point Brewery is the fifth oldest continuously operating brewery in the US.  Shortly after founding the brewery, in 1859, Ruder left to found the George Ruder Brewing Company, which remained open until the 1950s.  Frank Wahle remained with the brewery until 1867 when he sold it to Andrew and Jacob Lutz who in turn ran the company for 30 years.  Lutz sold the brewery to Gustav Kuenzel, who, three years later, renamed it the Gustav Kuenzel Brewing Company.  After less than a year with the new name, Kuenzl re-named the brewery again, this time to Stevens Point Brewing Co.  Stevens Point Brewery changed hands and names again when a controlling interest was purchased by Ludwig Korfmann in 1924.  Korfmann reorganized the company and rebranded it as Stevens Point Beverage Co, an excellent move given that 1924 was in the midst of the depression and the brewery had shifted production to near beer (non-alcoholic beer) and soda in order to stay in business.  Controlling stake in the brewery continued to change hands until the 1990’s.  Stevens Point beers were first marketed outside of the state in 1990 with a move into Minneapolis/St. Paul, and later Chicago-metro in 1991.  Less than a year later, the brewery was purchased by Barton Beers, an odd move considering Barton’s success as an importer and distributor, as well as the interesting fact that Point Beer was the only domestic brand in Barton’s product line.  In 2002, Barton Beers sold the brewery to Joe Martino and Jim Wiechmann, two real estate developers from Milwaukee.  The brewery is fortunately still in the hands of Wisconsin owners 16 years later.

                Okay, enough history, let’s get on with the review.  At Beeradvocate, Point Oktoberfest has a score of 79.  Over at ratebeer it has a 29 overall, with a 30 for style.  Again with ratebeer having such a low score for an Oktoberfest, at this point I don’t know why I am even surprised.  Rather than rant on it here, let’s just move on to what you came for.

They Say:

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.

Brewmaster Notes                                                                                         

AVAILABILITY: August 1 - October 31
PROTEIN: 1.55 g/12oz
IBUS: 15
MALTS: 2-row, 6-row, Crystal, Vienna, 2-row Munich
HOPS: Tettnanger, Hallertau, Perle
CARB GRAMS 12 OZ: 16.5 g/12oz
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 5.67% by volume
FAT GRAMS 12OZ: <0.25 g/12oz

Gold Medal Winner - Great American Beer Festival, 2012 - Amber Lager Category
Silver Medal Winner - World Beer Championships, 2008
Silver Medal Winner - World Beer Championships, 2010
Silver Medal Winner - World Beer Championships, 2011
Silver Medal Winner - World Beer Championships, 2012
Silver Medal Winner - World Beer Championships, 2013
Food Pairings                                                                                                    
Wine relatives are unbaked Chardonnay or zesty Sauvignon Blanc.
CHEESE: Pair with Muenster or aged Swiss Cheese.
WINE: Wine cousins are Pinot Noir, German Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Grenache.

I Say:

                Point Oktoberfest pours a crystal clear golden amber with a thick, small bubbled white head with rocky breakup that holds moderate retention and leaves thin lacing behind in the glass.  Rich biscuity, bready malts lead off the aroma with toasted and sweet malts in the finish.  The strong, biscuity malt aromas of a solid Oktoberfest are in evidence with just the right amount of toast to
round out the back end.

                Biscuity malts and a moderate dose of floral hops combine with slightly fruity, sweet malts in the forefront of the flavor.  The beer dries out considerably with a moderately bitter finish.  Biscuity and slightly toasted malts linger after the last sip, providing Point Oktoberfest with an excellent malty finish that hits home without any lingering sweetness.  Point Oktoberfest is medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation, right where it needs to be to hold to the style.

                Point Oktoberfest is a pretty solid festbier, coming in almost exactly as expected for the style.  While everything else played harmoniously, the floral hops seemed a little too high, and the malts were a bit too fruity for my taste.  The finish however, was spot on and was probably the most refreshing so far in this Oktoberfest series.  Point Oktoberfest is a noticeable improvement over the festbier that I had, and wrote up before it.  It is great to see such a solid offering from Stevens Point Brewery.  I was a little concerned after having such a mediocre experience with a beer that they contract brewed, but their own offering is definitely a beer that I would pick up again.

                That's all for tonight, with three beers left in this fall's Oktoberfest series, check back soon for another review!

                Happy Drinking!

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