Sierra Nevada 2019 Oktoberfest

Review Date 8/21/2019  By John Staradumsky

Has it been 5 years now that Sierra Nevada has been doing an Oktoberfest beer? It has. In fact, they had brewed the style well before 2015, which is the starting point for my current dissertation. That year, however, was the first year that this Chico, California and Mill River, North Carolina brewer partnered with a German brewery to give us all an Oktoberfest beer to remember.

The first collaboration was with Brauhaus Riegele, and that still may have been the best in my estimation. Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2015 was, unlike most American Oktoberfest beers, in the Helles style, though with a smattering of Munich malt to remind you that Marzen may be gone from the Theresienweise, but it is not forgotten.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2016 returned as a collaboration with Mahr’s Brauerei. And it was again in the Helles style of modern Festbier. My tasting notes recall it being less malty and a bit hoppier, almost akin to a Dortmunder Export.

Fast forward another year, to Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2017, made in conjunction with Brauhaus Miltenberger. This year, I found the beer to be similar to the forst release. Maltier, chewier, and the first of the series that I thought was more of a classic Marzenbier than a Helles-inspired Festbier.

Last year, Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2018 was a special treat indeed, brewed with the legendary Weihenstephaner, Die alteste Brauerei der Welt (oldest brewery in the world). This one was maltier still than the year before, I think, again leaning towards the Marzen style and my second favorite of all after the first.

Now that the history lesson is done, let’s talk about Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2019. This year, Sierra Nevada has partnered with the Bitburger Brauerei of Bitburg, Germany. Bitburger is Germany’s third largest brewer, even if here in the United Stated they are sort of a one trick pony. Bitburger Pils is their best selling brand here. That said, it is a good one, and a beer that I enjoy very much.

I was excited to try to this beer in the first week of August when I saw pictures of people enjoying it in my facebook beer group. I got it into my head that I was going to find it on Sunday the 11th, by hook or by crook. None of the liquor stores in Canton had it, though. Neither did Kroger, nor did Publix. I drove about 10 miles to the biggest package store (within 10 miles), Bullocks. No dice! Dejected, I was about to head home, when I said to myself, “Self, let’s try that Sprouts Market right next to Bullocks.” And you know, they had it!

Sierra Nevada says:

More than 200 years old, family-owned Bitburger Brewery uses an exclusive mix of hops toward its famous pilsner—a classified blend never shared outside its walls. Until now. Our collaboration Oktoberfest features what Bitburger calls Siegelhopfen, meaning “sealed hops,” which complement the malt backbone. What’s more, the whole beer comes to life thanks to Bitburger’s custom yeast, another house ingredient gifted for the first time ever.

From the back label:

It’s the ultimate season of revelry, so we teamed up with Germany’s famed Bitburger Brewery for an Oktoberfest that turns backyards into beer gardens. Rally your friends and celebrate with a festbier whose rich amber color, secret hop blend and smooth malty flavor bring the Munich tents to you.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2019 has an alcohol content of 6% by volume with 20 IBUs. That’s not really a lot in the bitterness department (and the style should favor the malt), but just enough to balance. I paid $10.99 for my six-pack at Sprouts, but Target is selling this for $9.49 a six-pack. My bottle is stamped as PKGD 07/17/19 and I drank the first bottle on August 4th.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest 2019 pours to a deep caramel color with a thick head of foam and a rich toasty malt nose. Taking a sip, the beer is rich and full of toasty nutty malts, toffee and treacle, and luscious deep seated malts. It finishes malty, too, not sweet but with a light bitterness and thins slightly before it’s all over. Still, I’m loving the chewy caramel malts here! Marzen! Classic Marzen!

This is certainly one of my favorite collaborations yet in this series. It may well be my favorite; a second bottle the other night was even better than the first to me. I’ll break out my Sierra Nevada Maas some time in September and pop three bottles, and with luck they’ll have it at on tap at Taco Mac. More to come on this one for sure…..

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.