No one will fault VIB for launching an Oktoberfest beer a tad early. Any new release after a quiet beer summer is greatly appreciated. VIB has talked big about seriously participating in the craft beer scene. We are starting to see it: bomber releases, growler fills, casks and rotating seasonals. While the styles chosen have not been overly adventurous (except for the Flying Tanker), each release has been solid and embraced by the beer masses. The Iron Plow marzen/Oktoberfest is no exception. This style is inherently drinkable yet overlooked by beer makers. Perhaps the stigma of oompha music, massive jugs of beer, bigger jugs in ladies' shirts and drinking in big tents has frightened off brewers. This is sad. The marzen should be available all year round, so that you can enjoy oompha music and pretzels in the privacy of your den.
Iron Plow = 6/10
The nose predicts drinkability with few surprises. A long lingering, fluffy head emits an aromatic toasted cereal and an essence that can only be described as 'lager'. Sweetness is the first thing you notice; it is similar to chewing on a piece of toast for a long time. Its creaminess only perpetuates a chewy sweetness which the dry, herbal hops end abruptly. The linger is a little longer than expected, a tad sticky, but nothing out of sorts. This is not a palate challenger; the flavours are straight forward and enjoyable. An ideal food pairing would be anything roasted: pulled pork sandwich, veggie kabobs, bison burger with caramelized onions and smoked Gouda or prawns. Maybe a plate of hummus and pita or falafel burger. Just give me any whole wheat sandwich with cream cheese and I would be happy.
Alcohol Content 0 5.8%
Value +1 (A very pleasant brew)
Appearance +1 (Good description of beer on label. Why are everyone's labels starting to look the same?)
Gordon Biersch Marzen
Buckerfields Lederhosen lager