Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Upland's Oktoberfest

Indiana is pretty far from Munich but it doesn't mean we can't celebrate Oktoberfest in style. Upland brews one of the better Oktoberfest beers in town and they have a hell of a party to kick off the season.

Oktoberfest is all about the beer and the food, and Upland has kept to the tradition. They had all their flagship beers available in normal plastic cups or you could splurge and buy a beautiful 32 oz dimpled glass stein. Once you got the stein you could fill it for the same price as the "puny" 16 oz plastic cups. The only problem with the stein was that when it was full it was really heavy! I now understand why Germans have such huge forearms.

Upland didn't just bring the beer, they also brought the food. There were more than a half dozen of Indy's best food trucks. In honor of the holiday I went to the most German thing available, Der Pretzel Wagon. As always my sandwich was outstanding. Not quite traditional German sausages and kraut but still helped get me in the mood.

Tables and tents were lined up throughout Military Park. Thank God for the tables, I needed something to set my stein down on! It really gave the festival an authentic lager house sort of a feel. It also made it easy to hang out with all of your friends and even make a few new ones. In front of all the tables there was a stage with a few bands that were a lot of fun and a horse drawn trolley that went into downtown. Brie and I didn't take the trolley but everyone on it looked like they were having fun.

I reviewed the Upland Oktoberfest two years ago, but I wasn't as well versed in the style as I should have been. At the time I made a mistake a lot of newbie craft drinkers do and associated Oktoberfest beers with pumpkin / spiced beers. I knew they weren't the same thing, but I thought they should be closer than they really are. They aren't sweet beers, but are lighter easy drinking beers that would be great to have during the harvest.

Upland's version pours out a beautiful caramel color with a nice thick white head. It smells like toasted malts and toffee sweetness. The flavor is a bit like Cheerios (not the honey nut kind) with just a bit of that toffee sweetness that we got on the nose. Hints of nuts add an earthy flavor to the otherwise grainy base beer. The sweetness is balanced well with a nice hit of grassy hops which pair well with the nuttiness of the malt. There is just enough bitterness to round out the brew in a really pleasant way. The beer is rich without being too heavy. The carbonation is solid without being too effervescent. All in it's well balanced and a tasty American version of the traditional German style.

I gave this beer a 2.5 last time, and I really don't think that was fair to the brew. This is a really well executed beer. I think its should get at least a 3.5/5. It's a great beer that has become my standard Oktoberfest. 

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