Otter Creek Brewing Co. Oktoberfest
By: Benjamin Welton
Autumn in New England is a special place. Most people realize that, and that is why our roads are now beginning to clog up with those obnoxious “leaf peepers.” Now, I realize that I have lived most of my life in two places that have amazing autumns (West Virginia and Vermont), so maybe I am just too used to seeing natural splendor, but I cannot fathom the idea of driving out of one’s way just to see colored leaves. Sure, northern New England’s foliage is gorgeous and all, but all of your slow driving and incessant picture taking is annoying. Most Vermonters would rather have you back at home in New York, Quebec, or Connecticut.
Now, after I have just insulted a pastime and plenty of people, I will readily admit that I am just as big of a sucker for fall as any “leaf peeper.” For me, autumn means horror movies and good beer. There’s nothing like putting on House of the Devil and kicking back with a Märzen pint or two. A lot of people share these interests, and that’s why the Oktoberfest-style of beer is so popular with the American consumer. Pretty much every brewery worth its salt has an Oktoberfest beer, and Middlebury, Vermont’s Otter Creek is no exception.
First Impression: Frankly, this beer is far from eye-catching. The simple, bucolic label is okay, but a little pedestrian. The people at Otter Creek decided to go minimalist with the packaging for Oktoberfest, and that’s a pity. After all, as much we would not like to admit it times, a striking label is usually what draws us to beers in the first place. Don’t expect to be “drawn” to Otter Creek’s Oktoberfest at all.
Pour: As with the label, this beer’s pour is also unexciting. After opening my 12 fl. oz. bottle and unleashing it into a pint glass, I was at first worried that I had purchased a bad batch. The beer looked flat after the first few seconds, then the head began to appear. Surprisingly, this beer’s head lingers for a while, and don’t be surprised if you’re still wading through foam near your final swallow.
Taste: Most Oktoberfest pale ales are known for their full-bodied and bitter taste, as well their dry finish. Otter Creek’s Oktoberfest is thin all around, and watery to boot. Far from a robust beer, Otter Creek’s Oktoberfest is a tasteless dud that should be a lot better than it is. On the bright side, maybe I could give my six pack to an RV full of “leaf peepers” as a subtle act of revenge.