Sierra Nevada 2017 Oktoberfest

Review Date 8/3/2017 Last Updated 10/1/2017   By John Staradumsky

It’s August! And that means…. Oktoberfest? Yes! OK, some may think that August is too early to start seeing Ofest beers hit the shelves, and I might agree-to a degree. While I most enjoy these beers in the cooler fall weather, I do love them in August, too. After all, when September and October are over, we’re on to winter seasonals, and two months is too short to enjoy the maty delights that are Oktoberfest beers. Then too, some German brewers offer them year-round.

Thus I give you Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2017. Each year, Sierra Nevada partners with a different German brewer to bring us a delightful Festbier. In 2015, the first year they collaborated with a German brewer, it was with Brauhaus Riegele. In 2016, it was with Mahr’s Brau. For 2017, Sierra Nevada is working with Brauhaus Miltenberger.

Interestingly, the 2017 reminds me a lot of the 2015, with a deep and pronounced malt character. On the label, Sierra Nevada says:

We’ve partnered with Brauhaus Miltenberger, one of Germany’s most highly regarded craft brewers to create an authentic festival beer for your Oktoberfest celebration right here at home. We’re focusing on a depth of complex flavor in this amber lager, using traditional techniques to create layers of rich malt notes that remain light and crisp.

Ingredients from the website:

Yeast Lager yeast

Bittering Hops German Magnum

Finishing Hops German Select, Tettnanger, Spalter

Malts Two-row Pale, Steffi, Pilsner, Munich

Now look at the ingredients from the 2015:

Yeast   Lager yeast

Bittering Hops   German Magnum

Finishing Hops   German Select, Tettnanger, Spalter

Malts   Two-row Pale, Steffi, Pilsner, Munich

Are you recognizing a pattern here? Of course, proportions matter too, and the 2017 does seem a bit chewier to me, yet strangely familiar. The Festbier served today at Oktoberfest in Munich would not be an amber lager, but more of a Munich Helles. Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2017 seems to me a bit like that mixed with a Marzen.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2017 has an alcohol content of 6.1% by volume with 30 IBUs. I paid a very reasonable $8.54 for a six-pack at Target. It was packaged on 7/10/2017.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2017 pours to a bright golden amber color with a medium head of creamy foam and a soft bready malty nose. Taking a sip, the beer is quite bready indeed, gently toasty and nutty, and hints at caramel. The finish is slightly grassy but really not all that bitter, just a little more than balancing. Very drinkable, I could drain liters of this with ease.

I am loving the depth of malt here, and I think you will too.

Update 10/1/2017: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2017 is on tap at Taco Mac, and I'm not missing a chance to enjoy this bready malty beauty in draft form. Served up by my very own daughter Jessica (who works here part time now) and just $5.50 for a 23-ounce mug.

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.