It’s fashionable, these days, to knock Samuel Adams. Most people know only their very narrow range of core beers that they encounter in the supermarket and never suspect that that huge mega-microbrewery in Boston is one of the most avidly and actively experimental breweries in the US. They make upwards of SIXTY beers, at various times of the year, from exquisite, uber-authentic Belgain-style ales to German-inspired lagers to ales that defy categories, like their splendid Christmas seasonal, “Merry Maker” Gingerbread(!) Stout, Chocolate CherryBock, “Tetravis” Belgian Quad, and the rare “” and “Utopia”.
I’ve tasted extensively in their catalog, in the past few years, and it was an eye-opening experience. They’re quite capable of turning out some truly odd beers but prefer to work at riffs off of existing styles and one of the best is this devotedly traditional, un-fiddled-with, lush, delicious Samuel Adams Octoberfest. The style category of the Octo beers is “Marzen”, beers brewed at the end of March for a Fall release. Sam’s Octo is a beautiful bright copper in the glass and shows every molecule of the generous caramel, apple, citrus, whole-grain toast, and subtle spice character of its German cousins. It does, in observance of its American origins, show a dash more resiny hops tang than the Germans but not enough to change the classic character of the style. No, this is NOT popular with the HopHead denizens of the beer rating sites because it doesn’t gratuitously ladle out the IBUs but it is a sumptuous, satisfying, complete celebration of Octoberfest and the true daddy of all American beers of this style…The “OctoPop”, you might say. Whatever you want to call it, Samuel Adams Octoberfest is a little annual miracle and one supermarket beer you do NOT want to pass up. 96 Points