Profile by Tom Becham
It’s that time of year again! Time for Oktoberfest!
While most of us who attend Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States will tend to drink very similar versions of the same style of beer, if you get the chance to try The Kaiser from Avery Brewing in Colorado, do it. You won’t regret it.
I was rather uncertain about this beer, as Avery has always been rather hit-and-miss with me. Some of their stuff I love, others I loathe. There seems to not be any middle ground. They tend to make very strong and/or very hoppy brews, so any mistakes tend to big and difficult to ignore.
Avery bills The Kaiser as an “Imperial Oktoberfest”, which seems like an inherent contradiction.
The Kaiser pours with a moderately large head of dense foam, which lingers for some time. It appears a coppery brown-orange, as is expected for an Oktoberfest/Marzen.
The aroma has the toffee and caramel-like malt one expects of the base style, with some earthy hop notes.
I had some misgivings about the taste and mouthfeel, but they turned out to be totally unfounded. The Kaiser has the same malty-but-not-quite-sweet quality of any good German Oktoberfest/Marzen. There is a hop quality that both balances the sweetness, and gives a somewhat citrus jam quality to the flavor. There are also some vague earthy hints that almost remind me of ginseng. Surprisingly, for a beer of 9.73% ABV, there is little perception of alcohol. Frankly, I expected this one to be much “hotter”.
All in all, I would definitely recommend The Kaiser for anyone seeking both a traditional and innovative approach to Oktoberfest drinking. Just be careful not to overdo!