Wiesn, the local name for Oktoberfest, has been a part of the fabric of Munich since 1810, when locals gathered the celebrate the nuptials of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. It wasn’t until 1896 that beer became the celebration’s focus, and with the exceptions of wartime periods (Franco-Prussian, Austro-Prussian and two World Wars) and a couple of cholera epidemics, the fest has always been there.
So it must be noted that one of the more popular styles of Oktoberfest beers in America, Avery Brewing Co.’s The Kaiser, took last year off (although not due to global strife). Now, The Kaiser has returned rebranded and repackaged in 12-ounce cans, replacing the old-school bomber format. As always, Avery does everything big, and the 8% ABV Kaiser is no exception.
The copper-hued beer comes with a prevalent head of foam that sticks around throughout, floating atop the beer and lingering on the glass. There’s moderate carbonation, bubbles slowly creeping skyward through the transparent imperial marzen.
In the nose, there’s a ton of noble nops—the grassy and earthen notes typical of the marzen style. There’s toasted Vienna malts, which elicit an aroma of sweet bread.
It’s a filling beer—big with a strong alcohol sweetness.”
I’m tempted to call this a full-bodied beer, but it hovers probably a slight notch below that designation. It’s a filling beer—big with a strong alcohol sweetness. There’s a warmth in the body and the Vienna malts give it a pillowy feel. The beer finishes quite dry. It’s a good beer, but a little too strong.
When I think Oktoberfest, I think about sustained drinking with music, food and conviviality. An 8% ABV, in my opinion, kills that. After a couple, I’d be more ready for a nap than another pint. If you’re looking for your Oktoberfest beers to warm you up on a cool fall night, then this might be your beer. But, if not, I’d look to something with a lower ABV.