Clocking in at a higher ABV than its lederhosen-clad brethren, Left Hand’s take on the marzen brews for two long months in order to nail the balance between its biscuity maltiness and hop spice, making it one of the more complex takes on a style typically marked by its crisp and delicate flavors. This one’s better suited for a pint glass than a stein, though it’s also just as good out of the bottle, which seems counterintuitive, but hey, this is a variation that’s sort of built on simple turns of the unexpected.
Like a less-grumpy/violent Mike Ehrmantraut, Sierra Nevada isn’t a brewery that tolerates half-measures, and its commitment to doing things just right has made it one of the most prevalent and beloved independent craft breweries in America. Case in point, Oktoberfest. Rather than interpret German tradition in creating the annual offering to the Oktober gods, the brewers bring in a different legendary German brewery every year as a collaboration. This year’s concoction is a team up with Brauhaus Miltenberger, a malty, ready, slightly sweet harvest ale that nails that whole “tastes like fall” cliché.