Thursday, September 15, 2011

Growler Wars: Brooklyn vs. Spaten

Two growlers. Two beers. Two frosted glasses. One winner.

Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale

While the scent of pumpkin is picked up as soon as you pick the glass up to your mouth, the flavor is not so sweet that it dominates the ale's finish. There are people that would probably think this is a bad thing. You know, because this is a PUMPKIN beer. But I don't like those pumpkin beverages that overwhelm you with cinnamon sweetness. I would list this as a quality variety of the genre, perhaps a little below the great ones, such as Smuttynose Pumpkin and Weyerbacher's revelatory Imperial Pumpkin.

Spaten Oktoberfestbier

When you consider that this brewery is based in Munich, you would have to think that they would be able to make one hell of an Oktoberfest beer. Uh...they do. The almost fruity maltiness jumps up at you as soon as you get it near the schnozz. Having already had an Oktoberfest beer on this evening, a varietal from King of Prussia's Rock Bottom restaurant and brewery, I can say that this version absolutely blows theirs out of the water. And theirs was very good! Still, while some Oktoberfesters can have a bit of a vinegarish, bitter taste upon first sip, this one finds a perfect balance. It's subtle. Flavorful. A gem.

The Winner
These are both very good beers. But the Spaten Oktoberfestbier wins. It's simply an example of a brewery working in their absolute wheelhouse. I have to imagine that if you drank nothing but Oktoberfest for the rest of the months September through December you would struggle to find one as terrific as this one.

Beers purchased at Chap's Taproom in Norristown.

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