Category Archives: Marzen Style Lager

Hooker Octoberfest

rating_fair59 points

What do you get when you cross the off-putting appearance of apple juice with the even-more-off-putting taste of pumpkin rind, green beans and molasses?

If you guessed Hooker Octoberfest, congratulations…you just won the remainder of our six pack, because we have no plans to drink it.

Editor’s note: Our label had “Oktoberfest” spelled with a “K.” According to the brewer’s website, it’s now spelled “Octoberfest” with a “C.”

Look, we wanted to like Hooker’s autumn offering. They’re practically in our backyard, and we support anyone helping the craft brew industry.

And we very much enjoyed their Chocolate Truffle Stout. But in every category, Hooker Octoberfest was fair at best.

On pour, the beer is light and looks like clear-filtered apple juice. Most panelists found it unimpressive, though several remarked on its generous, lacey head, supported by lively carbonation.

The aroma of Octoberfest is all malt. It smells, as one panelist put it, “like a light beer.” Our panel found no discernable profiles other than the malt. Not surprising…after all, it is a Marzen-style lager. But not impressive, either.

Taste also was all malt. Panelists picked up faint tones of smoky molasses, pumpkin, and even cooked green beans. But the malt dominated on first taste, then quickly disintegrated into a watery, nondescript aftertaste.

Most panelists noted a slight bitterness to the aftertaste, but one that also disappeared quickly, leaving our panelists to rate it sub-par.

Our panelist Bob gave up trying to be scientific at this point, and instead wrote inappropriate jokes on his tasting sheet. We won’t repeat them here, but suffice it to say…we found the jokes more satisfying than the beer.

With its light structure, this beer is easy to drink, but the panel scored drinkability only fair, because while you could drink a lot of it, you probably won’t want to.

So Hooker Octoberfest isn’t a home run in our books. But don’t let that detract you from trying their other products. As we said, their Chocolate Truffle Stout is very good.

Maybe they should find a way to get some of that delicious chocolate into this beer as well. Ooh, I think I just found a use for my leftover Halloween candy.

(Appearance 7.33, Smell 5.17, Taste 17., Aftertaste 12.5, Drinkability 17.17)

Continue reading Hooker Octoberfest

Tasting Notes – Pilot Tasting

The first Basement Beer Tasting was held on Nov. 21, 2014, and provided the inspiration for the continuing series. Because the structure hadn’t been fully developed, this tasting included a random mix of what was in the fridge.
Panelists: Jon Graney, Mike Festi, Rick Czapla

Tasting Notes

Shipyard Export Ale . . . 53 points
This American blonde ale was a decent, middle-of-the-road brew. While it failed to stand out to the panelists, it received average or slightly above average points in every category. Panelists noted that it had a heavy caramel and malt taste that was reminiscent of a higher-end Yuengling Lager.
Appearance 5.5, Smell 5.5, Taste 17.5, Aftertaste 8, Drinkability 16.5

Berkshire Brewing Company Oktoberfest Lager . . . 48 points
This Marzen-style lager looked good on pour, and had a decent taste to it, but the panelists found its aftertaste disappointing. It invoked notes of sweet honey and citrus, but its heaviness and lackluster finish left the panelists saying, “I couldn’t drink a lot of this.” Appearance 7.5, Smell 7, Taste 15, Aftertaste 7.5, Drinkability 11

Harpoon Pumpkin Cider . . . 68 points
Shifting gears, the panelists decided to try a spiced cider offering from Harpoon Brewery. The appearance, smell and taste were very pleasing, though the panel noted that it was lacking a notable pumpkin flavor — instead showcasing strong tastes of apples and grapes. The aftertaste was a bit flat, but ultimately strongly drinkable.
Appearance 7.5, Smell 8.5, Taste 20.5, Aftertaste 11.5, Drinkability 20

Yuengling Traditional Lager . . . 52 points
Since the Shipyard Export reminded the panelists of Yuengling, they decided to compare it to Yuengling. The results? Remarkably similar marks, across the board. The smell was a bit better than Shipyard, with nearly identical taste and easy drinkability.
Appearance 6, Smell 5, Taste 14.5, Aftertaste 6.5, Drinkability 20