It's Oktoberfest time at The Porterhouse once again. To kick things off Head Honcho Oliver and Head Brewer Peter held a free tasting gig at the Nassau Street branch last Thursday and I went along. They usually turn out few interesting beers on tap each year, and it was no exception this time: the subtle smoky charm of Schlenkerla Helles is right on the money for me.
Generally Peter brews something appropriately Teutonic for the occasion: it was a Kölsch for a few years, then a rather crisp and tasty Alt, but this year it's a new one. Well, new-ish. He's taken the standard Hersbrucker Pilsner and Oktoberfestified it by rolling back on the bittering hops and upping the malt levels to hit 6.4% ABV. The result -- Hersbrucker Oktoberfestbier -- is still a lot more bitter than you'd expect an Oktoberfestbier to be, but it's much less bitter than standard Hersbrucker, a beer I usually find hard to take. You get all the filling biscuity sweetness of Märzen topped with the palate-pounding grassy hoppiness of a heavyweight pilsner. Surprisingly, they manage to balance each other out. I don't know if I'd recommend a whole Maßkrug of it, but a pint really wakes up the palate.
Oktoberfest continues across the Porterhouse estate until Sunday.