Fearful Symmetries

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09 December, 2015

Teutonic Tyrrany: The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest by Avery Brewing Company



I thought that I was done with Oktoberfests back in October but I've been dragged back into the fray...

Avery Brewing Company began back in 1993 in Boulder, Colorado. It's a brewery that's never been on my radar. I don't mean this as a slight but simply that no one ever told me that I ought to try their brews nor did any of their beers ever jump out at me as something that I ought to be drinking. Things changed last year when I took notice of some bottles that had some unsavory characters on them. Avery may be the only brewery to have a line of beers featuring autocrats on its labels. The first entry in their ("supremely limited") Dictator Series, an imperial stout, featured Czar Nicholas II of Russia. It would not be until the third installment, however, that his cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, was given a brew of his own: an imperial Oktoberfest.

I recently grabbed a bottle of the latter and played some appropriately themed songs by Iron Maiden, Fish, and IQ as I sat down to contemplate the legacy of World War I. And savor what will surely be my final Oktoberfest of the season.

The Kaiser pours a deep amber color – almost copper – and is clear. I got about an inch of nice tan foam atop the bier while inside there was a fair amount of bubbles going upwards. This bier is sehr schön and one can imagine the Kaiser himself lovingly gaze at it as he did his dreadnoughts. The nose was also quite lovely with bready malt commingling with its sweeter side that was reminiscent of peach. Alongside the grainy festivities was a healthy dose of spicy hop aroma.

The promise of an Oktoberfest is a vein of rich malts flush with flavors redolent of the staff of life itself. An imperial Oktoberfest doubly so. And The Kaiser delivers in spades. First I caught a nice bready flavor that was somewhere between fresh bread and toast – lovely Maillard reaction goodness. The clean taste also yielded some malt sweetness that was like apricot and honey. But this was not a sweet bier as these more toothsome flavors were quite subdued in contrast to the more savory ones. These massive German malt flavors overpowered the hops just to the point where I could barely discern any Nobility. Carbonation added a little dryness while a 9.3% A.B.V. meant there was a generous burn from the alcohol.

On the finish the malt sweetness moved to the fore and lingered while some spicy hop bitterness finally came through. And the alcohol became even more noticeable. My mini-krug was left with some nice Schaumhaftvermoegen all around.

For being such a big bier, The Kaiser retained the medium body of its non-imperial cousins. It had a great bready malt flavor that kept the sweetness at bay. The alcohol burn is wholly appropriate for even these warmer than normal December nights although one may not appreciate it in August when the beer is released. A great bier to share on an autumn evening.

Junk food pairing: Cheese curds! Seriously, cheese kurds and Oktoberfests are a match made in Himmel.

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|| Palmer, 9:43 AM

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