Prior to Üfer Bier, I have not had one of Big Bay Brewing’s offerings, but at the liquor store last weekend I thought I would pick up a bottle for this fall’s Oktoberfest series. Big Bay Brewing was founded in 2009 by Jeff Garwood, and at least one unnamed business partner. In May of 2011, Big Bay opened a tasting room in Shorewood, WI although the venture was short-lived, as the tasting room closed in April 2014. The closure did not spell the end of the brewery however, as the beer is contract brewed at Steven’s Point Brewery, having previously been contract brewed by the Milwaukee Brewing Company. I wish there was more information out there on Big Bay, but the little information that exists is pretty sparse.
While Stevens Point Brewery does put out some pretty solid beers, I have not had a Big Bay beer previous to this, so I went into Üfer Bier with few expectations, hoping that it would be as good, if not better than the other fest biers that I have had within the past month.
Üfer Bier has a score of 78 on Beeradvocate. It does not have a score at ratebeer, although the reviews there seem to be fairly negative. Another reviewer over at Beeradvocate has a few unkind words, but then gives the beer a great score leading me to believe that something is amiss.
Sadly Üfer bier has no commercial description; there is an associated blog post however:
Hope you caught our Next Wave! We introduced our Üfer Oktoberfest Lager September 1. The nice back story is Üfer came out of my kitchen with a home brew batch. Of course my final product was better, much better, than the home brew batch out of my kitchen. So for the aspiring brewers out there making a great home brew, yes you can scale up a home brew to a commercial batch. They only caveat being get feedback from many people- from home brew judges, a chef, wife, good friends, consumers at your tasting room (you don't have a tasting room?), or even a master brewer or two. Take their feedback and consider what purposeful choices you'd like to make to improve your beer... but always make sure you keep that personal finger print on the flavor that makes it yours. I hope you get to try Üfer. Your feedback is always welcomed at Big Bay Brewing. Prost! Cheers! Yay Beer!
Big Bay Üfer Bier pours a crystal clear amber with a thin, small bubbled white head that holds moderately low retention, lasting just under a minute, before fading to slight collar around the edges of the glass; and leaving minimal lacing behind in the glass. I was able to coax a thicker head out of the beer when poured into a tulip, but the head still maintained minimal retention. The aroma has light bready notes, with just a hint of toasted and biscuit malts. Light floral and spicy hop notes mingle with the bready malts, accenting them and adding a bit more complexity. Overall though, the aromas are pretty faint and did not become more prominent as the beer warmed in my glass, even though I switched from the pint glass pictured above to the tulip pictured below in attempt to get more aromas.
The flavor has some bready malt notes and a very dominant malty sweetness on the front end. Fortunately the sweetness fades and dries out after the initial burst and give way to slightly floral hops. Moderately low malts and moderately low hop bitterness make this a fairly well-balanced beer, although it is a bit light in both for an Oktoberfest. Üfer Bier is just on the light side of being medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.
On many fronts, Üfer Bier seems to fall short of being a good fest bier. The malts, while having bready notes are not as rich as other fest biers. The malty sweetness In Üfer Bier is also a bit overwhelming and does this beer a disservice and detracts from this beer’s drinkability. While I hate signing out on a post with a recommendation to not pick up a beer, there are many great fest biers out there, but unfortunately this is not one.
That’s all for tonight, there are four more fest bier reviews in the Oktoberfest series, so check back soon for another review!