Sierra Nevada 2016 Oktoberfest

Review Date 8/15/2016 Last Updated 8/28/2016   By John Staradumsky

It’s back! Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest is back that is. OK, it’s still mid-August as I sip my first bottle, too soon I know to start celebrating Oktoberfest. Still, I couldn’t wait to try this beer and now you’re going to hear about it, which is why you’re here in the first place. Last year, Sierra Nevada released its first collaboration festbier with Germany’s Brauhaus Riegele, and to near universal acclaim. That Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2015 was a wonderfully bready malty brew indeed, and I just could not get enough of it.

This year we have a different brewery collaboration, and a slightly different beer. Mind you, the beer is still a helles-style festbier like you would find in Munich for Oktoberfest. As we’ll soon see, though, the beer is slightly different in formulation than last year’s gem of a beer.

From the website:

We’re exploring the roots of Germany’s famous Oktoberfest beers. Each year, we partner with a different German brewer to explore a different approach to the style. This year we’re working with Bamberg, Germany’s Mahrs Bräu on a new version of the classic style. This authentic version of the festival beer is deep golden in color with a rich malt complexity, but with a noticeable spicy hop character from the use of the nearly forgotten Record hop varietal.

Ingredients, also from the website:

Yeast Lager yeast

Bittering Hops German Magnum, Palisade

Finishing Hops German Record, Saphir, Crystal

Malts Two-row Pale, Steffi Pilsner, Munich, Vienna

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2016 has an alcohol content of 6% by volume with 30 IBUs. I paid $9.49 for a six-pack, but it was also selling for $15.99 a 12-pack, too. My bottle was packaged on 07/01/2016.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2016, brewed in collaboration with Mahr’s Brau, pours to a bright golden color with a thick fluffy head and a bready malt nose with hints of perfumey hops. Taking a sip, the beer is fresh biscuit malty up front but as it progresses it has more of a pronounced leafy, grassy herbal hop aroma that permeates. A long dry bitter finish punctuates perfectly.

A little less malty, I think, and a little more hoppy than last year’s version. The beer is less bready, and the Munich and Vienna malts don’t pop as much as they did last year. That said, the hops absolutely sing here in all their Teutonic herbal grassy glory. This is an amazing beer, and while I was somehow hoping for a Marzen, another festbier of the modern variety is still a tasty treat. To be fair too, last year's version was so wonderful it's a hard act to follow, but the 2016 is a worthy successor even if, I will confess, I find last year's was a smidge more to my liking. Your mileage may vary.

With all those hops this might be better called a Dortmunder Export than a helles, but whatever you call it I call it delicious. I think you will too.

Update August 28th, 2016: Enjoyed fresh draft Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest from Stout's Growlers, today. At just $12 for a 64-ounce fill, this beer is not only delicious, but a bargain as well!

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.