Christmas in July? No, Octoberfest in August. This weekend I picked up some Old Dominion Octoberfest at a local grocery store. Although the "official" release of this seasonal takes place at the brewpub on Wednesday, August 6, the beer is available at retail stores now. The bottles had a bottling date of July 8. The August release isn't nearly as early as it might seem, Octoberfest is actually held in late September and runs into early October. The brewers need to ensure the beers are available in time for local celebrations, and sales of the style tend to drop off after October.
Old Dominion Octoberfest pours a reddish-brown color with a moderately thin, off-white head that leaves little lacing as it drops. The aroma is malty with some faint notes of cinnamon and vanilla. The flavor has a smooth caramel malt base with a mild spice background; mainly cinnamon and perhaps some ginger. The spices are very mild but pleasing. The finish has some lingering hop bitterness. Checking in at a moderate 5.80% ABV, the beer is smooth and easy to drink.
I always enjoy the Märzen / Oktoberfest beers that make their appearance in late Summer. The selection from Old Dominion is the first I've seen this season and I couldn't resist trying it out right away. The beer was very enjoyable and has me eagerly anticipating the selections from other breweries. Octoberfest beers will begin showing up on store shelves over the next few weeks and I'll be ready for them.