Fearful Symmetries

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06 October, 2016

What Have the Germans Ever Done For Us?: Oktoberfest by Potosi Brewery



Good ol' Potosi. Whenever I hear the name, I think of how a friend of mine still holds it against me that I unwittingly drank his last Potosi Czech Style Pilsner one day in the dim and distant past. He still speaks of the incident in tones of thinly veiled anger. He's like liberals who still piss and moan about Ralph Nader forgetting all the while that it was the Supreme Court who crowned Dubya president. In addition to a very tasty Czech pils – there was a reason I chose it amongst the others on offer - they have a fine brewery and museum out there on the Mighty Mississip.

With the vast majority of Wisconsin Oktoberfests that I've had this season ranging from almost medicore to awful, I had a goodly amount of confidence that Potosi could be different. Their Oktoberfest could be like the Battle of Guadalcanal or the Battle of Stalingrad. Just as those campaigns proved to be turning points in World War II, so too could Potosi's bier be the critical juncture in the search for a good Oktoberfest brewed in the Land of Cheese.

I mean today's Wisconsin microbrewers are ostensibly the successors to generations of German immigrants who settled in our fair state - and their descendants too. The earliest waves of Forty-Eighters brought socialist ideas which most famously shaped Milwaukee along with other things like kindergarten. And immigrants regardless of political orientation gave us their love of sausages, strudel, and of course bier. Germans had a very large impact not only on culture here in Wisconsin but also the United States at large.

Ergo it's been frustrating as a Wisconsonian of some German extraction to witness breweries of my state flounder attempting to brew on Oktoberfest that tastes as good as one that has made the trip all the way from Munich. Hell, we've even let California eat our lunch.

Potosi's Oktoberfest poured a gorgeous clear copper hue. My initial pour managed only a small head that was off-white and left me wishing is Auf wiedersehen all too soon. This was my inability to pour correctly, however, as my second and more vigorous pour gave a much larger and much prettier crown of foam. There wasn't much effervescence on display.

Moderately sweet caramel was first to hit my nose followed by a smidgen of roasted grain while some faint grassy hops lingered in the background. I wasn't surprised by the bouquet since the bier's color lacked the pale complexion of Oktoberfests: The Next Generation.

Considering the lack of bubbles, Oktoberfest was well-carbonated by which I mean it had just the right amount of carbonation. Not particularly acidic, but just enough push back against the malt. And that malt was mostly caramel tasting with attendant sweetness. Not cloying though. It was joined by a little roasted grain and some hops which had taken on a spicy tint. Overall it had a nice medium body and a clean lager taste that was fairly crisp.

The malt faded on the finish allowing the spicy hop taste to really come through. While rather bitter and a fair bit dryer than I'm used to for the style, it was still rather pleasant. My first pour of the small head produced no Schaumhaftvermoegen but my second let loose some really nice, thick streaks of foam.

This was not a bad Oktoberfest but nor was it great. I liked the level of caramel sweetness here but felt it needed more roasted grain flavor to bolster the larger malt taste. This has been a common refrain here this Oktoberfest season. Most of the one's that I've had have had a very one dimensional malt taste – caramel and little else. Potosi, to its credit, adds more non-caramel malt flavor than your average bear but this bier just didn't find that Golden Malty Mean.

Junk food pairing: I paired my Potosi Oktoberfest with Snyder's Zesty Ranch Pretzel Pieces to good effect.

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|| Palmer, 7:59 AM

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