Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: This year’s Samuel Adams OctoberFest is done well

By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers

Guten morgen, guten tag and guten abend, all.

Since we are officially in the month of September, I believe it is time to review some Oktoberfest beers that I picked up. Autumn is my wife’s favorite season. She says that although it has always been her favorite, it became more so because that is when we met and fell in love. I guess I’m doing something right, after 34 years of marriage.

This week, I would like to highlight Sam Adams’ OctoberFest, but first, a brief history lesson on the origin of Oktoberfest.

Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although it since has been abbreviated to the name “Wiesn.”

Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year started the tradition of Oktoberfest, which over the past 200 years has evolved into the world event that it is now.

Most of you have heard and know the well-publicized history of Sam Adams and the Boston Beer Co., founded by Jim Koch. OctoberFest is a seasonal lager from a large portfolio of styles by Samuel Adams.

Since this is a Samuel Adams beer, I am using one of my Perfect Pint glasses. The pour is amber, almost orange in color, reminiscent of fall foliage. It is crystal clear, with good carbonation that is topped with a two-finger creamy head, creating a very nice-looking beer. Some lacing present as the head recedes.

The aroma has plenty of malt, with some caramel sweetness and a hint of bread, mingling with a slight spicy and earthy hop presence, creating an inviting aroma.

Taste is similar to the aroma, with lots of malt flavor, some caramel flavor is present, but not sweet, as I expected. I also get a tiny bit of toffee flavor in the aftertaste, along with some of the spicy hop bitterness, which is unassuming but noticeable.

The mouth feel is medium with a slightly prickly medium carbonation that is appropriate for the style, creating a smooth, refreshing and enjoyable drink.

Overall impression is an enjoyable, drinkable Oktoberfest beer, my first of the season. Not only is the beer nice to look at, but it has some appealing aromas and tastes that are true to the style. In years past, although still a decent beer, I have been slightly disappointed with Sam Adams OctoberFest, but this year’s version is done well. I recommend you to pick up a six-pack and enjoy.


Michael Sears is the president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a home-brewing club dedicated to the art of finely-crafted beer. The club meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Street. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at

From the Sept. 3-9, 2014, issue

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